Taj Falaknuma Palace hotel, Hyderabad, India (photo by Brad A. Johnson)
On the outskirts of modern, high-tech Hyderabad, on a hilltop in the heart of the Old City, one of India’s finest historic palaces recently opened as a luxury hotel.
Falaknuma Palace sat empty for much of the last half century, sealed up like a time capsule as a curious reminder of what life must have been like for the royal courts before India gained its independence. It took several years to dust off the cobwebs and remove the overgrown weeds from throughout the sprawling estate, but after years of painstaking restoration overseen by the former princess herself, along with Taj Hotels as a partner, the time capsule has been opened. Falaknuma Palace has been reborn. This is a truly stunning hotel, an otherworldly experience, a retreat of a lifetime. The service, the cuisine, the history and the glamour… This is India at its finest. Just make sure to schedule two or three utterly lazy days where you don’t have to leave the estate. Here’s a look around: