If someone asked you where the world’s best hotel was located, what would you say? If you were one of the people who participated in Travel and Leisure’s annual poll on the topic, you might have said Udaipur, India. The hotel that made the number one spot on 2007’s list of the world’s top 500 hotels was Oberoi Udaivilas in this Indian destination. This award is of particular importance to India as it’s the first time that one of the country’s hotels grabbed the top spot on the list.
Although the hotel itself is of obvious importance to the award, this also marks an important trend in the country’s development as a travel destination. Forty years ago, the people who traveled to India from America were primarily hippies seeking spiritual enlightenment. Their travel style was “on the cheap” and they were most likely to camp or spend time in hostels while backpacking around the country. Although you can still travel to India on a budget, there has been a shift in recent years towards accommodating a more luxurious type of traveler.
Oberoi Udaivilas exemplifies this shift. It is a resort spa with suites that challenge the best in Europe and North America. Amenities include a swimming pool that overlooks a magnificent lake, massage therapists trained in both Eastern and Western healing techniques, and an exquisite restaurant that looks out onto the City Palace. The “world’s best hotel” is located in what some may say is the world’s hottest travel destination.