Suitcase

Romantic Escapes

Whisk away your partner for a couple’s getaway to these dreamy hotels across the Indian subcontinent.
By PRACHI JOSHI

Here’s our pick of the best romantic getaways across India, Sri Lanka and Maldives that offer a mix of beautiful settings, curated experiences and utmost privacy. Whether you are a beach or mountain person (or somewhere in between), you will find something to suit your taste. Come fall in love–all over again.

Taj Kumarakom Resort & Spa is a charming 140-year-old family estate

TAJ KUMARAKOM RESORT & SPA

Located on the banks of Vembanad Lake, Taj Kumarakom Resort & Spa is a charming 140-year-old family estate converted into a luxury resort. Its 28 exclusive villas and cottages are done up in a blend of colonial and Kerala style decor and offer stunning views of the garden or lagoon; a few also come with private pools. If you’re up for some adventure, try kayaking or zip-lining or go on a village cycling tour. Later, head to Baker’s Lounge for a wine and dine session overlooking the majestic lagoon or enjoy Kerala’s renowned seafood at Currymeen. For a more exclusive setting, book a romantic dining experience at the boat jetty or cruise on a bamboo raft. No Taj holiday is complete without a spa experience; choose from a range of sublime massages, energising treatments and indulgent wraps at Jiva Spa. tajhotels.com

Raffles Udaipur, an enchanting private oasis set amidst the Aravalli Range

RAFFLES UDAIPUR

Last year’s hottest luxury opening, Raffles Udaipur is an enchanting private oasis, set on a 21-acre island amidst the Aravalli Range and the Udai Sagar Lake. Their 101 rooms and suites are tastefully done up and offer panoramic lake views. Splurge on the Presidential Suite, which is adorned with European and Mughal art and is outfitted with plush upholstery and mother-of-pearl and bone-inlay furniture. The Raffles Spa is designed like a royal zenana with pastel colours, mirrors and plenty of natural light; book the Mystique Romance package for a relaxing couple’s treatment followed by steam, sauna and Jacuzzi. End your day with a bespoke dinner date under a blanket of twinkling stars or a private dinner at the Belvedere Point in the company of fragrant candles and exquisite roses or book a candlelight dinner in the sprawling gardens. raffles.com/udaipur

ITC Mughal Resort & Spa, Agra is known for its opulence

ITC MUGHAL RESORT & SPA, AGRA

Enjoy the wonders of the Taj in the lap of Mughal luxury. A perfect blend of trademark ITC opulence with royal charm, ITC Mughal is a luxury resort that’s true to its name. With landscaped Mughal-style gardens, fountains and fruit trees outside and Mughal palace-inspired interiors with lattice patterns and white marble flooring, the property is an ode to the great Mughal dynasty. On a relaxed afternoon, opt for a couple treatment or choose from the many holistic well-being services at the Kaya Kalp–The Royal Spa. Eat at one of the five dining options which offer curated menus and authentic North-Western Indian cuisine. itchotels.com

The Leela Goa’s design is a blend of colonial Portuguese architecture and contemporary Indian design

THE LEELA GOA

A luxurious resort set amidst 75 acres of lush greenery and peaceful lagoons, The Leela Goa in Cavelossim (South Goa) is a stately 206-key property that blends colonial Portuguese architecture with contemporary Indian design. Start off your day with a private couple’s yoga experience followed by personalised consultation and a rejuvenating Ayurveda treatment at the spa. Overlooking the Sal River, the restaurant Riverside offers a romantic setting with exquisite wines and authentic Italian fare in a serene ambience. Alternatively, book an intimate dinner on the beach with the sound of waves for company. theleela.com/the-leela-goa

St. Regis offers the best views of the Mumbai skyline

THE ST. REGIS MUMBAI

Stuck in the city and can’t travel? A romantic weekend staycation can fix that. If you’re in Mumbai, The St. Regis Mumbai is one of the best hotels to unwind at. Well-appointed rooms and suites overlook the city or the green expanse of the Mahalaxmi Race Course. The hotel offers a ‘Suite Escape’ staycation package including a sumptuous breakfast at Seven Kitchens, exquisite cocktail hours for two, one way pick-up or drop in Mumbai and complimentary Wi-Fi. In addition, treat yourself to therapeutic services at the Iridium spa or head to the outdoor swimming pool for the best views of the Mumbai skyline; settle in one of the private cabanas, get drinks from the pool bar and spend a lazy afternoon. For dinner, head to By The Mekong for exquisite pan-Asian or to the recently opened Sette Mara, a Middle Eastern lounge bar and restaurant. marriott.com

Nestled amid dense cedar trees, Wildflower Hall, Shimla in the Himalayas offers awe-inspiring views

WILDFLOWER HALL, SHIMLA IN THE HIMALAYAS – AN OBEROI RESORT

Nestled in a dense cedar forest with awe-inspiring views of the magnificent snow-capped peaks, Wildflower Hall, Shimla in the Himalayas is an extravagant Oberoi property. The 85-room resort has been built on the grounds of former commander-in-chief of the British Army, Lord Kitchener’s summer home. Burmese teak panelling, fireplaces, artworks and polished parquet floors covered with oriental rugs reflect its colonial legacy. Head out on the Wild Strawberry Trail, an invigorating one-hour walk through the forest ending in bespoke breakfast at a picnic spot. Alternatively, enjoy a delicious picnic at The Peak, a quaint colonial bungalow set amongst 10 acres of terraced apple orchards. Back at the resort, take a dip in the outdoor heated pool with panoramic views of the majestic Himalayas, followed by drinks at the snug Cavalry Bar and a sumptuous dinner within the glass conservatory at The Restaurant. oberoihotels.com

HERITANCE KANDALAMA, SRI LANKA

Heritance Kandalama, Sri Lanka offers stunning jungle and wildlife views

Overlooking the Rock Fortress of Sigiriya and the ancient Kandalama reservoir, the uber stylish Heritance Kandalama blends in with its surroundings. Designed by Geoffrey Bawa, the entire building is festooned with plants and sports full-length glass windows giving superb jungle and wildlife views. The hotel offers 152 rooms and suites, all with views of the garden or lake; book a luxury suite or the sprawling royal suite with a private Jacuzzi for a truly indulgent experience. Take a dip in one of the three pools—the ingeniously designed Kachchan infinity pool that seems to blend into the lake, the natural Kaludiya Pool or Rashmi Pool for a sunset swim. There are two restaurants to choose from or book one of the exclusive dining options like a Champagne breakfast or a picnic in the paddy fields or a candlelight dinner in a cave. heritancehotels.com/kandalama

Varu By Atmosphere’s over-water suites offer endless ocean views from every window.

VARU BY ATMOSPHERE, MALDIVES

A 40-minute speedboat ride from Malé brings you to Varu by Atmosphere, a dreamy island retreat in the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean. Its artistic beach villas are lovely but for a romantic sojourn we recommend one of the over-water suites with endless ocean views from every window. Indulge in ocean adventures like snorkelling (equipment is complimentary), diving and kayaking or head out on excursions like dolphin cruises and sunset fishing. Later, experience a soothing couple’s massage at Elena spa, which features six beautifully designed treatment rooms with glass-bottom floors. With five restaurants in the resort, you will be spoilt for choice—dine at the all-day Lime & Chilli with sand between your toes or savour a traditional Maldivian meal at Kaage’s al fresco setup. Or book a private dining experience at the over-water restaurant NU, including a sundowner at the rooftop bar and a leisurely Mediterranean meal. varu-atmosphere.com

Related: Continental Getaways