These three hotels manage to combine a lakeside retreat with premium service. By Harini Sriram

1. The Naini Retreat, Nainital:

The former residence of the Maharaja of Pilibhit, this stunning lakeside hotel, perched atop the Ayarpatta Slopes and overlooking Naini Lake (Nainital) oozes old-world charm. Lounge in the lakefront room that opens out to great views of the lake, or live life king size in the royal room set in the Maharaja wing. With authentic Kumaoni cuisine and rejuvenating spa experiences, courtesy Tattva Spa, the property goes all out to ensure you are pampered. And if that’s not enough, you could try your hand at some fun activities like yachting, horse riding, rappelling and hiking.

2. Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur:

Arguably one of the most romantic hotels in the world, this architectural masterpiece in the middle of Lake Pichola, Udaipur, is the stuff dreams are made of. The former pleasure palace of Maharana Jagat Singh II redefines decadence. If you’re a fan of the James Bond franchise, you might recognise the palace as one of the main locations featured in Octopussy. The grand presidential suite or the Shambhu Prakash Suite encapsulates the spirit of the place with its opulent décor and panoramic views of the lake and the hills. Dine under the stars at Mewar Terrace or on a 150-year-old boat, or sign up for a soothing massage at JIVA Spa.

3. Coconut Lagoon, Kumarakom:

After the devastating floods that engulfed the state a few months ago, Kerala is back in business. And this dreamy resort by CGH Earth, located by Vembanad Lake in Kumarakom, will make you fall in love with God’s Own Country all over again. The only approach to the property is by boat, and the cottages themselves have been painstakingly restored from old family mansions or tharavads. There’s a sacred grove within the property; coconut trees and birds abound against clear blue skies and still backwaters here. The resort packs in some unique experiences for guests, such as dinner in a paddy field by the lagoon, birdwatching, backwater rides on a traditional canoe and local art appreciation programmes.

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