Luxury tented camps in India are the ultimate way of making the most of your surroundings. Each one is set up in a spectacular location be it the golden sand dunes of Rajasthan, the high Himalayas in Ladakh or the best tiger reserve in India. Whether you’re looking for a rugged, outdoorsy adventure or an indulgent, romantic vacation, here are our favorite luxury tented camps.
This utterly peaceful retreat, between the princely cities of Jaipur and Udaipur, captures the bygone days of royal Rajasthan. Perched on the dam of a reservoir and superbly run by descendants of the area’s former rulers, the nine well-spaced tents, beautifully painted with floral designs, feature super soft beds, spotless bathrooms and shaded porches, which are perfect for an afternoon snooze. The kitchen prepares dishes from family recipes, using produce grown on site. Guests often mingle over drinks beforehand around the campfire. The days are topped and tailed by a fascinating morning village tour, giving genuine insight into traditional farming life, and the afternoon sees a lovely nature walk around the lake, which is rich with birdlife.
Bordering Rajasthan’s Ranthambore National Park, luxury tented camp SUJÁN Sher Bagh evokes the days of the British Raj. With 12 hand-stitched canvas tents, they are a picture of 1920s style with antique lanterns, four-poster beds, teak wood writing desks and bathrooms with elegant copper fittings. Days are peppered with game drives in search of the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger – a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Leopards, striped hyenas, sambar deer, jackals, sloth bears and Indian wild boar among other wildlife can also be spotted. Guests dine out under a starlit sky, feasting on Indian cuisine, made with home-grown ingredients, hand-picked from the camp’s vegetable garden. Other comforts include a Jungle Spa which offers excellent Ayurvedic massages.
Set in a sun-dappled brushwood forest on the border of Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, Aman-i-Khas’ 10 seriously luxe tents are fit for royalty. Echoing the style of Mughal pavilions, soaring six-meter-high canopies boast elegant interiors, custom-made teak furniture, and sunken marble bath tubs. Days are spent in search of the ultimate experience – spotting Ranthambore’s star resident, the Royal Bengal Tiger – however, there are also leopards, sloth bears, jackals, crocodiles and a plethora of birdlife to enjoy. A lounger-lined pool, modeled on the area’s ancient stepwells, is the perfect place to relax afterward. At night, guests swap tales, around a roaring fire pit, before enjoying a seasonal menu of Indian and Western dishes with produce sourced from the camp’s organic garden.
The desert frontier of Jaisalmer is the setting for SUJAN’s safari property The Serai. Inspired by the royal caravans of old Rajputana, this Relais & Châteaux property, nestled on a 100-acre private estate in the tranquil Thar desert, offers world-class comfort in the wilderness. The 14 tented suites are incredibly spacious, with plenty of natural light, stylish interiors, and their own terrace lounge. Six of the suites have their own plunge pool. The Royal Tented Suite is magnificent with an outdoor pool, dining and lounge tents in a private enclosure. After a day of adventure across the vast golden sands, cool off in the infinity swimming pool, circled by pagoda-shaded loungers. At night, dine under the starry sky on the finest desert cuisine possible.
Jawai Leopard Camp is a safari luxury at its finest. Surrounded by the ancient Aravalli mountain range, between Jodhpur and Udaipur, the camp is the only property to lie within this unexplored wilderness, where leopards roam wild and free. The 10 beautifully designed tents are decked-out in contemporary Out-of-Africa style with a Rajasthani twist. The royal tented suite has its own private heated swimming pool. Dine out on delicious dishes created using the finest locally-sourced ingredients. The camp's customized jeeps with expert guides catch thrilling sightings of the leopards in their natural surroundings. Other activities include: hiking to a temple at dawn, cycling through the nearby villages or visiting the exquisitely carved temples of Ranakpur.
Perfectly combining nomadic living with ultra-luxury, The Ultimate Travelling Camp (TUTC)boasts a series of luxury tented camps in the most stunning countryside across India. This includes two camps, totally off-the-beaten-track in Ladakh. Firstly, Chamba Camp Thiksey (open from May to October), at the base of Thiksey Monastery, just outside Leh. There are 12 tents here, inspired by the caravans of the Raj, which feature colonial-era furniture, stylish bathrooms, veranda, and private butler. Guests can spend the day with walks through remote villages, trekking, rafting, and even polo. TUTC’s other outpost is Chamba Camp Diskit (open from May to September) in the unexplored Nubra Valley. Cradled by jagged mountains, the four tents are as beautiful and elegant as its counterpart however, this time, the view is of a dramatic landscape of enormous glaciated peaks and arid pathways. There are plenty of outdoor adventures to enjoy including riding a double hump Bactrian camels.
Surrounded by the golden sand dunes of the Thar Desert, between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer in northwest Rajasthan, the isolated splendour of Manvar Desert Camp is hard to beat. With 30 colorfully-decorated safari-style tents, the interiors are incredibly elegant with smart polished traditional camping-style teak furniture, rich jute rugs, large beds and beautiful bathrooms with marble sinks. Activities include jeep and camel safaris through small local villages nearby with the chance to meet the nomadic Rabari herdsmen. There is also camel trekking, bird-watching, jeep safaris and the chance to catch spectacular sunsets. At dinner, warmed by a campfire, soak up further culture with performances by local musicians and dancers. Open from October to April.