Set at the edge of Kanha National Park—a 750-square-mile preserve of dense forests and sweeping meadows, which inspired Rudyard Kipling to write his famous Jungle Book—the Taj group’s newest riverside camp (opening in early 2009) is a paradise for nature lovers. The 18 eco-conscious tented suites, designed by famed Indian architect Sanjay Prakash, are kitted out with smooth bamboo floors, expansive platform beds, and traditional batik textiles; the two serene swimming pools are perfect for cooling off after game drives into the jungle. Among the wildlife you’re likely to see: three-striped palm squirrels, common langurs, jackals, wild pigs, blackbucks, and some 200-odd species of bird. Oh, and if you’re lucky, perhaps the most exotic of all Indian creatures: the Bengal tiger.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.