Design-led Holiday Homes In India That Redefines Modern Luxury

Photo of Design-led Holiday Homes In India That Redefines Modern Luxury by Satarupa Mitra Datta

There are hotels across India tailed in art and architecture that redefines modern luxury. Talking of luxury in design means chiseling architectural styles or restoring facades that makes us travel an era where life was lived in sheer royalty that made history and led to a connate culture, tradition and a lifestyle.

Architecture, design, and art can be immensely attractive and delightful and all can find a home in a holiday retreat. Through the intersection of art and architecture you will know, the space could reflect an era, dynasty, or a 21st century luxe architectural innovation with nuanced elements integrated into every design. This round-up is for design lovers who look for extraordinary experiences wrapped in design.

1. The Glass Villa, Goa

Conceptualised by Tarun Tahiliani in creative alliance with architect Sameep Padora and Asahi Glass, the Glass Villa in Goa is a holiday home for design lovers. In the quaint village of Aldona, the glass and the laterite facade of the villa blends in with the tranquil rural green setting. The sprawling 25,000 square feet mark the openness of the villa followed by 4-bedroom and 2-storey. The highlight could be the chic living area and 25 metre-long infinity pool having expansive views over fields and the Aldona backwaters but the artsy courtyard featuring green plants and pebbles-strewn floors binds fluidly the outdoors with the indoors like no other. The fabrics, artifacts that accents the opulence of the interiors verses the vast layout of the design planning makes Glass Villa one off uber stylish homes with a perfect mix of space, peace and privacy.

2. Vana, Dehradun

Zen lives in every corner of Vana, a design forward wellness resort nestled amid the Sal forest, allowing guests to unwind with an exquisite view of the hills and lush greenery. Designed by Spanish architectural company, Esteva i Esteva, they have shaped spaces that looks into the Sal forest or the gardens and fruit orchards, enabling guests to rest and connect with nature on their wellness journey. The 66 rooms and 16 suites feature balcony and terraces with views that open the door for meditation.

They furnish each space in natural and neutral palette of colours and includes bamboo flooring and organic linens. The decor of the boddhi suite is inspired by Buddhist philosophies and feature paintings of the Buddha to promote health and healing. The highlights are the enchanting gardens planted by founder Veer Singh and are as therapeutic as the experiences in their unique therapies such as as massages, Tibetan traditional medicines, watsu therapy, raaga therapy and yoga and many more.

3. Hushstays Woodhouse, Mukteshwar

Hushstay x Woodhouse" has been designed by Matra Architects. It comprise one Bedroom Log Cabin (Kamet) and four Bedroom cottage (The Main House) and at 6,500 ft, the log house is made with everything locally sourced. The all-glass roofline mirrors the surrounding mountains and the scenery beyond allowing daylight to flood the interiors. The rugs and the chic accents adds the rustic beauty of the cabin house. The large living hall spread to different levels leading to the kitchen at the top, a dining area one level below, and a lounge on the lowest step.

There is an in-house café. The two rooms feature a skylight offering a view of the beautiful starry night. Rather than feeling like separate spaces, though, these sections fit together like a geometric cube. In a village called Satkhol, 12kms from Mukteshwar, this woodhouse is a perfect mix of design and experience. The add-on experience on offer are — Pluck your own vegetables, get the grocery ready and let the chef teach how to prepare one of those delectable Kumaoni dishes.

4. The Johri, Jaipur

This richly designed 19th-century three-storey haveli in Jaipur is the namesake to the Johri Bazaar, Jaipur’s famous gemstone market. The restored facade has many courtyards and cloisters leading to open sit outs and arches that's part of Johri’s five elegantly appointed, spacious suites that overlook quiet inner courtyards. They used pink and red in contrast to muted colours and pastel shades of furnishings that adds the contemporary look to the modern day Haveli.

The beautifully crafted murals of Indian wilderness, careful curation of antique furniture, textiles, and art from Rajasthan seeps into the Indian taste at every nook. This is Siddharth Kasliwal and Abhishek Honawar's second hotel in the city. The architecture takes to the glorious age of Jaipur's old city and though the wholesome design resembles a jewel box yet the season-focused vegetarian restaurant, an intimate cocktail bar, a peaceful spa and the sustainable accents makes Johri a modern age design-forward hotel.

5. Bari Kothi

The beauty of checkered floors, corinthian pillars, intricately carved archways, tall ceilings, heavily engraved four-poster beds, large wooden beams, stained glass and the sprawling courtyards and balconies define the sheer opulence of the Zamindari houses of yesteryear's Bengal. One such heritage house, is Bari Kothi, built in the late 1700s, belonging to Rai Bahadur Budh Sing Dudhoria from the Dudhoria family in Murshidabad, four hours from the main city Kolkata.

Architect Samar Chandra restored this heritage home and pooled in the Greco-Roman architecture throughout. The property spread across more than an acre of land, featuring seven courtyards, a library, music room, durbar hall, sheesh mahal, janana chowk, gaddi ghar, halwai khaana, gulabi chawara and more heritage suites and other experiences make your stay precious, innovative, and opulently extravagant.

6. Ayatana Resort, Coorg

Ayatana resort in the middle of lush, untouched rainforest is India's answer to prefabrication technology in architecture. Architect Vishal Vincent and landscape architect Paul Blanchflower have designed the property amidst 100 acres of lush green rainforest. They set a cluster of cottages wherein the outer facade is made of prefabricated steel with 40-mm concrete to craft the roof and the floor. Paul Blanchflower has retained the existing landscape together with the waterfall. Ayatana effortlessly fuses refabrication innovations, devised for more energy- and cost-efficient than traditional construction methods. The entire stay would feel like an escape to the forest mixed with the best modern hospitality in offer.

7. Utsav Camp, Alwar

Arid forests, rocky hills and stretches of grassland biomes dot the landscape of Sariska Tiger Reserve situated at Alwar, Rajasthan and one can still do a wildlife safari in luxury and be amidst nature. That's right, Utsav Camp in Alwar, designed by Studio Mestry is a celebration of nature.

The hideaway is the brainchild of trained naturalist, Luv Shekhawat, who also won his laurels of having over 20 years of experience in hospitality. The design innovation is to bring the outdoors indoors. Stone walls, rustic interiors that exuded warmth and greens of the landsccape, such like bespoke wire-mesh chairs and tables with granite tops, and upholstery in earthy terracotta and off whites add to the character of the jungle retreat. The other spaces like courtyard settings and holistic outdoor experiences are one-off immersive experiences that harness the healing effect of staying amidst forest.

8. Kahani Paradise, Gokarna

Kahani Paradise is a beautiful marriage between Thai architecture and Indian artefacts, commissioned to the architect Philip Syborn, of Syborn+Atkinson. Built on the principles of sustainable architecture amidst the enchanting western ghats coastal forest, Kahani Paradise, offers unparalleled views of Gokarna. The design principle was to combat the geography of the drought prone landscape. They planned rainwater harvesting to enable the house and garden to get through the dry season.

The elevated structure on the villa is a design innovation to optimise the vantage views. Nature materials like stones, Mangalorean tiles and sprawling patios and spaces evade the use of air-conditioning. At one end when antique entrance doors, traditional furnitures, life-sized, teak horses adorn the house, linen furnishing and subtle accents makes the cosy homely feel to this nature paradise.

9. Villa Palladio, Jaipur

Villa Palladio in Jaipur is a celebration of colours and evoke design elements in crimson hues that exhibit an almost carnival-like theatricality. Don't believe see for yourself.

This boutique property sits on a 3-acre plot of land and is a redesign of the original facade. Dutch designer Marie Anne Oudejans and Rajasthani painter Vikas Soni's combined effort in design made the villa look like a Wes Anderson-esque dreamscape. The highlight is the use of the bold colours like crimson and red taking a form in elaborate frescoes, vivid furnishings, and expansive interiors. The interior is brimming in vivid shades of red, interspersed with occasional pinks and greens.

The stand out is those intricate frescoes of roosters and palms, and gorgeous stained glass details serve as compelling visual highlights. The furnitures in the suites are all locally sourced but the linens are from Lake Como and patio umbrellas from Venice. What makes Villa Palladio in every designer's list is the flamboyance of minor details as much as in totality of its design language.

10. Evolve Back Kuruba Safari Lodge, Kabini

The charming huts with expansive verandas, temperature-controlled private pools and marble bathtubs at Evolve Back Kuruba will make your wildlife stay everything but not ordinary. Imagine waking up to the sun rising over the horizon while at the lodge, reading at the lounge facing the river, relaxing at the Ayurveda spa, and taking a dip in the infinity pool — all designed in Indian elegance bringing native styles in interior design. Inspired by the dwellings of the Kuruba tribes, the pool huts come in four poster beds with lace drapes, ethnic sustainable furnishings, private dressing area and a washroom opening to sky garden and directing to the private pool, which makes this wildlife resort, worth the trip let alone the wildlife sighting that add up to the excitement of the staying at this wildlife resort.

Since pandemic our homes have become our sanctuaries—our safe spot where we live, work and dream. What if while travelling we find a second home or a retreat by the sheer luxury of its design language? Through this round up of design-led holiday homes, we also learn, marrying efficient construction techniques with warm contemporary design touches should also come in alignment with resilient and sustainable design innovation. While a modern luxurious interior may include a variety of rich textures and materials, sometimes a single, well-chosen piece of layout with tastefully done, comfortable indoors is enough to give a space a luxurious appearance.