A perfect holiday is nowadays defined as experiencing cities as the locals do and immersing yourself with visual and gastronomic splendour you cannot get at home. Saying this, upcoming luxury hotels are facing tough competition with historical palaces that are opening its doors to the public, giving travellers a chance to dapple in luxury just as royalty did years ago. Just because you are not blue blood doesn’t mean you cannot live like one. Truly, history repeats itself as opulence, glamour and allure go hand in hand with these cities best-kept secrets.

A’jia Hotel – Istanbul, Turkey

Imagine standing before the Bosporus Sea, viewing two continents at a time. The A’jia hotel is one of a kind, with an iconic location along the southern Istanbul Strait overlooking the Asia – Europe border. The A’jia Hotel, originally an Ottoman Mansion, blends contemporary interiors with traditional architecture. This 16 room mansion has earned high credentials for its breathtaking view, privacy and cuisine.

Hotel Gritti Palace – Venice, Italy

This decadent residence was owned by the Gritti Family, the Doge of Venice during the early 1500s. By the Second World War, the property was bought and converted into a hotel. After meticulous years of restoring architecture, murals and antique furniture the hotel is once again a treasure trove of historic details. Visitors are not allowed beyond the lobby, which is no wonder why celebrities stay here regularly. Located on the Grand Canal, the hotel offers stunning views, a perfect location for penning down your thoughts just as Ernest Hemingway or Somerset Maugham did. Try the Hotel’s exclusive personal shopper service which leaves you spoilt for choice with local artisan boutiques and international luxury brands.

L’Hotel – Paris, France

Once the palace of Queen Margot, the property prides itself in restoring historic Parisian architecture. However, the palace is more famously known as the residence of Oscar Wilde, during his last years. Since then, celebrities from Elizabeth Taylor to Frank Sinatra have given in to L’Hotel’s charm. Could it be the private Michelin star restaurant? Or perhaps the ornately designed rooms? Many say L’hotel radiates the romantic aura of mystery that Paris is so famous for. The only way to find out is to experience this yourself.


Taj Lake Palace – Udaipur, India

Set amidst the sultry climate of North India, Lake Pichola holds a precious jewel built by a Prince who frequently indulged in moonlight feasts with his many courtesans. Adorned with delicate stones and marble, every night the island palace sparkles amidst the murky lake. Apart from being the film location of the James Bond Movie Octopussy, the palace is a popular wedding venue for India’s elite. With a location and ambience that can challenge the most romantic literature, the palace is the perfect fairy tale setting for any honeymooner.