Taj Nadesar Palace
Taj Hotels won us over last year with the Umaid Bhawan Palace, so we couldn’t wait to see how they’d transform another former maharajah’s palace, this one in the holy city of Varanasi. Jasmine-scented grounds surround the 18th-century property, where 10 supersize suites are worthy of prominent former guests (Queen Elizabeth II and Indira Gandhi among them). Gauzy textiles in lotus-petal pinks and marigold yellows are draped over four-poster beds, and etched mirrors hang next to claw-foot bathtubs. Our favorite touch: finding a silk pouch filled with palate-cleansing, silver-coated cardamom pods at turndown.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.