World’s Leading Luxury Train: One for Maharajas

Passing through Taj in Agra
Passing through Taj in Agra

As if winning World’s Leading Heritage hotel (World’s leading Heritage hotel again – The Raj Palace) award and World’s Leading Luxury Hotel (Read: Oberoi Gurgaon is World’s Leading Luxury Hotel) award as well as World’s Leading Tourist Board (Incredible India) was not enough, India has one more award in its kitty at World Travel Awards (WTA). This one was for World’s Leading Luxury Train to The Maharajas Express. Just as India has a host of luxury heritage hotels lined up, it also has some of the best luxury trains to offer. Palace on Wheels and Royal Rajasthan on Wheels had been popular among travelers for decades. But there are many to more offer.

Train at a station and local women passing though
Train at a station and local women passing though

Owned by IRCTC, Maharajas Express is often dubbed as India’s equivalent to the Orient Express of Europe. With its 5 tastefully crafted rail journeys, Maharajas’ Express presents India in a way never seen before. Long before the arrival of colonial power, India used to be the land of maharajas. Kingdoms were founded, cultures flourished and art developed. Each dynasty that flourished here left there indelible imprints through art and architecture which today manifest in India’s rich heritage.

presidential suite of the Maharajas Express
presidential suite of the Maharajas Express

Whereas the life of the train is designed for cultural interactions, life on board Maharajas’ Express is all refinement, opulence and elegance. Each coach incorporates as its motif the gemstone after which they are named. The 14 guest carriages of the Maharaja’s Express are each named after a precious stone. The Presidential Suite, the only of its kind in the world, spans an entire carriage and is aptly called the Navratna. The train has a four-cabin configuration – Presidential Suite, Suite, Junior Suite and Deluxe Cabin. All cabins and suites feature large panoramic windows to run the beautiful imagery of varying landscapes whizzing by. Facilities such as Live Television, Wi-Fi Internet and individual climate control transform your cabin into a cocoon of comfort.

mayur mahal restaurant of the train
mayur mahal restaurant of the train

Gourmet dining on board Maharajas’ Express is arranged in 2 dining cars which are named Rang Mahal (Color Palace) and Mayur Mahal (Peacock Palace). The plates are fine Limoges, edged with gold, the glasses Swarovski hand-cut crystal and the cutlery monogrammed with the letter M. Guests could engage in recreational activities inside the Rajah Club – Lounge Car. Rajah Club has a well stocked library with general books and pictorial guidebooks offering glimpses of Indian Maharajas who used rule their kingdom before India became democracy. Board games and card games could also be enjoyed in Rajah Club over sip of your favorite wine. At one end stands the bar and at the other stands a souvenir shop named Treasure Chest from where you could buy mementos of this royal train journey.

Some lighter moments: life on board on Maharaja Express
Some lighter moments: life on board on Maharaja Express

Maharajas Express offers five itineraries which crisscrosses some of the most significant tourist destinations in India. Three of them are 7 nights/8 days journey: The Heritage of India, Indian Panorama and Indian Splendor. Two other are 3 nights/4 days journey: Treasures of India and Gems of India. The journeys of Maharajas Express either begins or ends in Delhi and each one of them includes a tour to Agra for Taj Mahal sightseeing.

Advertisements

Oberoi Gurgaon is World’s Leading Luxury Hotel at WTA

Exterior view of the Hotel
Exterior view of the Hotel

Indian hospitality industry seems to be having a good time. Alongwith The Raj Palace being named as World’s Leading Heritage Hotel for seventh year in running (Read: World’s leading Heritage hotel again – The Raj Palace), The Oberoi, Gurgaon (very close to national capital New Delhi) has been voted World’s Leading Luxury Hotel, for 2013 by the World Travel Awards. This was announced at the Grand Final Gala Ceremony held in Doha, Qatar. The 2013 World Travel Awards Grand Final was hosted at a glittering ceremony at La Cigale Hotel in Doha, Qatar on 30th November 2013. Oberoi, Gurgaon too has won this award for the third consecutive year. In 2011, it became the first Indian hotel to win the coveted prize. In December 2011, CNNGo also  named it amongst, “11 Indian hotels to visit in 2012”. The Oberoi Gurgaon was named “Favourite Hotel Visited on Business in India” by Conde Nast Readers Travel Awards 2013.

Described as the ‘Oscars’ of the travel and tourism industry by The Wall Street Journal, World Travel Awards are recognised globally by the travel, tourism and hospitality industry as the foremost acknowledgement of excellence in product and service. World Travel Awards celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year and is acknowledged across the globe as the ultimate travel accolade, celebrating those companies, organisations and brands that are pushing the boundaries of industry excellence in product and service.

View from lobby of the hotel
View from lobby of the hotel

Oberoi, Gurgaon hotel restaurants include the 24-hour multi-cuisine threesixtyoneº and Amaranta which serves speciality coastal Indian cuisine. threesixtyoneº is a celebration of the Asian essence of interactive, friendly cooking, where food is not just what you eat but also what you see and what you sense; where Chefs are an integral part of your dining experience with their culinary showmanship.The property also has a bar termed as ‘The Piano Bar’, a cigar lounge and a spa. Featuring the most spacious accommodation in any business hotel, the 202 guest rooms and suites are planned with a host of innovative features. The rooms feature landscape windows that bathe every room with abundant daylight offering a view of the serene reflection pools and landscaped gardens. A 24 hour personal butler service and select suites with private heated swimming pools are only some of the features unmatched amongst luxury hotels in Delhi.

Besides these two awards, there were two more for the Indian travel trade at the World Travel Awards. Maharajas’ Express was named as World’s Leading Luxury Train and India’s national tourist board Incredible India as World’s Leading Tourist Board.