Kamalapura Palace, Hampi
The Abridged: A 46-room newly built palace channelling the days of the 14th-century Vijayanagara Empire. Princely lodgings in a pre-historic setting, rooms include jacuzzi baths and canopied beds. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site in style.
The third property on (the formerly known as 'Orange County') Evolve Back's portfolio and their grandest yet. Kamalapura Palace revives the days of the 14th-century Vijayanagara Empire. With a focus on wellness and Ayurveda, romance, and food. In the heart of Hampi, Kamalapura Palace allows travellers to experience this UNESCO World Heritage Site in style. A long and bumpy ride, but well worth the journey, be prepared to spend more than a couple of nights here. The landscape, the lodgings, it's all very "luxe-y".
Everything is slightly oversized at Kamalapura Palace and there are some things in life where bigger really is better: beds. They're enormous. You and your travel companion can lie in bed making starfish and you'll only just notice one another. Rooms are of a similar nature, gargantuan, and include an in-room jacuzzi bath as standard. Let me just repeat that last bit: As. Standard. Canopied beds make you feel like a real princess whilst roll-top baths add to the indulgence. There's also a well-stocked minibar with filter coffee and a French press, local teas, and homemade biscuits.
For the most part, it is superb. Local dishes such as The Vijayanagara Thali are executed with aesthetic flair and lots of flavour. Even the room-service Arrabiatta pasta was everything room-service comfort carbs should be: piping hot and heavy on the parmesan. Breakfast is a cornucopian spread of South Indian favourites: masala dosa, idli, eggs to order, fruits, cheeses, yoghurts, and pancakes. I ordered an enormous bowl of Bircher muesli morning and added my own DIY seed and nut sprinkle from the breakfast buffet. But every hero has its Achilles heel. Kamalapura Palace's? The sweet stuff. The pastries, which were a bit of a sorry sight, and the "dark and white chocolate mousse" I ordered had approximately zero white or dark chocolate in it. And seemed not to be a mousse in texture or viscosity. Jury's out on that one but the rest of the food was superb.
The in-room water filters. Evolve Back are fastidious about their environmental policies and do not allow plastic in the resort. Each room has its own water filter, and if you want to buy mineral water that'll be coming out of a glass bottle too (and it'll cost you 350 INR (about $6).
The perfect guest: worldly romantics looking to explore new pastures
Best time to visit: October to March
Spa: The indulgent Vaidyasala Ayurvedic spa specialises in traditional treatments Gym: Yes, but it's limited. Yoga classes are available
Best Room: The Jal Mahal - separate living and dining areas, indoor/outdoor bathroom, oh, and a private pool
Wi-Fi: free of charge and impressively fast Pet Friendly: Sadly not Room Service: 24/7
Rates: £360 per room, per night inc. half board dining and taxes
For bookings click here.
Words and images by Megan Lambert