Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, India
Majestic Lake Palace is one of four palaces hailing from the Royal Dynasty of Mewar. It was built more than 250 years ago, when Maharana Jagat Singhji II (the 62nd successor to the dynasty) erected a pleasure palace on an island in the middle of Lake Pichola, which became a hotel in 1963. The Legendary Suites feature high ceilings, carved moldings and ornate glasswork reflecting Rajasthan’s lush style. (The Khush Mahal suite has a swing and stained glass windows; the Sajjan Niwas features frescoes of Lord Krishna.) Outside the rooms guests can relax on the Royal Jiva Spa Boat on Lake Pichola, or take a sunset lake cruise. A heritage walk through the palace can be arranged (complete with a glass of sparkling wine), and three restaurants serve everything from Indian specialties to contemporary cuisine. Even the arrival is special, gliding guests in aboard custom-made boats. Bonus fact: The 1983 James Bond movie Octupussy was shot here. Rooms, from $698 ($322 in summer); Lake Pichola, Udaipur; 91-294/242-8800; tajhotels.com.