From pristine pools set in the hills to glassy waterways nestled within verdant groves, there’s no dearth of breathtaking lakes in India. We’re taking a deep dive into lakeside resorts that sit right next to these wonders of nature and offer a relaxing escape from the hustle of city life. By Eshita Srinivas
Often overlooked in favour of beachside destinations, lakeside resorts in India offer access to picturesque waters, refreshing breeze, and the most stunning sunsets the country’s landscape has seen. Picture sitting by the fire, sipping on tea while being regaled by singing birds and whistling winds or heading on a romantic, moonlight boat ride with that special someone. Our pick of lakeside retreats run the gamut from floating houseboats to exquisite suites along the shoreline. And if you’ve somehow missed out on the moviesque experiences, we’ve curated a list of the best across the country for you to add to your bucket list.
Lakeside resorts in India that offer a soul-satisfying retreat
Nestled amidst 25 acres of coconut groves and numerous pristine canals, over 22 heritage cottages offer a luxurious stay by the Vembanad lake. A few kilometres from the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, you could spend an afternoon discovering the region’s most popular bird species or head to the lake for a sunset cruise, water sports, banana boat rides, and more. The property’s infinity pool overlooks the lake as well, and if you’d like to get up close and personal with its waters, you could book a houseboat stay.
Address: North Post, Vayitharamattom, Kumarakom, Kerala
Phone: +91 48125 24900
Image: Kumarakom Lake Resort
A drive away from Kolkata, this luxurious establishment delivers on the promise its name makes, offering solitude and a sense of calm by the Umiam lake. Spacious cottages with expansive balconies overlook the lake and the Meghalaya mountains, and you can pick from a host of activities here, including traditional Khasi spa treatments, hill treks, boat rides, and picnics by the water. You could also spend a day at the Shillong Golf Course or dine at Sao Aiom, the in-house restaurant that serves delicious fusion fare.
Address: Umniuh Khwan, UCC Road, Ri Bhoi District, Meghalaya
Contact: +91 98624 20300
Image: Ri Kynjai – Serenity By The Lake
Luxurious tents by the waters of Chhatra Sagar are on offer at this royal establishment. Run by the descendants of former nobleman Thakur Chhatra Singh, the property is surrounded by a sense of calm and green, vast spaces. Each tent is called a mini palace and is sound-proofed, with understated and chic decor, luxurious amenities, and essentials like air conditioning and heating. A private verandah is perfect to settle with a book, and you can slot in some time for a boat ride or campfire by the lake.
Address: Village and Post Office, Nimaaj, Rajasthan
Contact: +91 29126 36455
Image: Raas Chhatra Sagar
A quick drive from Kollam, this resort is neighbours with Ashtamudi lake and is a luxurious escape from the city hustle. Inspired by the Nalukettu style of architecture, the decor here is a fusion of traditional aesthetics with contemporary sensibilities. Must-have experiences include a luxurious cruise on the lake, relaxing spa treatment, and a local feast. Each room here is spacious and opens up to the most stunning views of the water.
Address: Thevally Bridge, Kollam – Elamballoor Rd, Palace Nagar, Thevally, Mathilil, Kerala
Image: The Raviz Ashtamudi
The picturesque Dal Lake is a must-see spot to witness Paradise on Earth. This property, perched right next to the waterbody, offers a bird’s eye view of the Tulip Gardens, and rooms here open up to snow-capped peaks and crystal-clear waters. If you’re here in autumn, you’ll have Chinar trees and their bright amber shade to keep you company. Experience a boat or shikara ride on the lake, go on leisurely walks and sip on a kahwa while witnessing the most beautiful sunsets to grace the earth, all while you’re here. Don’t miss out on the popular Kashmiri wazwan feast.
Address: Kralsangri, Brein, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir
Phone: +91 19424 61111
Image: Vivanta Dal View
Built as a private residence by king Fateh Singh in the 19th century, this palace was converted into a guest house for the guests of the House of Mewar, the current royal family of Udaipur. The establishment, set in the City Palace, next to Lake Pichola, offers a regal experience from the first moment of arrival. Along the way, you’ll discover traditional Mewari artwork, a meticulously maintained, expansive courtyard and 17 regal suites with private balconies, open-to-sky terraces, and antique wooden furniture. Head out on a motorboat ride on the lake or sip a cocktail by its waters on one of the many restaurants that dot its shores.
Address: Lake Pichola, The City Palace Complex, Udaipur, Rajasthan
Phone: +91 29425 28016
Image: Shiv Niwas Palace
A sprawling 17th-century red sandstone palace with old-world charm, this property is perched on the Balsamand Lake and just a few kilometres away from the centre of the blue city, Jodhpur. Designed as a water basin in the 12th century, the lake extends for a kilometre. Now, it stands next to 60 acres of the palace estate with fruit orchards and flower gardens as neighbours. Luxurious rooms and suites offer stunning views, and you could take a leisurely walk by the water here every evening.
Address: Mandore Rd, Mandore, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Contact: +91 80457 71900
Image: WelcomHeritage Bal Samand Lake Palace
Within the Nigeen lake district, this quaint resort offers houseboats equipped with a heater, comfortable beds, and fully-functional bathrooms. While here, you could head to the Shah-e-Hamdan shrine, Srinagar city centre, Hari Parbat, and Nehru Park. The hospitality here is unmatched, and guests rave about the quality of food served on board.
Address: Nagin Lake, Opposite Nigeen Club, Shikara Ghat No 1, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir
Phone: +91 90866 64431
Image: Akbar Group Of Heritage Houseboats, Jammu and Kashmir
Feature and hero image: The Raviz Ashtamudi