01 Monday July, 2013
“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
If you've re-read The Great Gatsby recently or seen Baz Luhrmann's movie adaptation, you may be wishing you could be transported back to this indulgent era dripping in Art Deco palaces, glittering cocktail dress and hedonistic bon viveurs. We have picked out our most opulent “Gatsbyesque” properties – places where you could easily imagine the characters of the book stepping out of the pages to enjoy a glamorous cocktail party or an intimate soiree...
Umaid Bhawan, Jodhpur, India: One of India's finest luxury palace hotels as well as the current residence of the Maharaja of Jodhpur, Umaid Bhawan was built between 1928 and 1943 as an employment project for the maharajah's subjects during a period of famine. Designed by English architect Henry Lancaster, it is full of Art Deco opulence – including a private museum devoted to vintage cars and a squash court made from marble. Its most famous suites are the Maharajah and Maharani suite with its incredible art deco bathroom. Famous guests include Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Diana Ross, Sarah Ferguson, Bob Geldof and Eva Herzigova.
Rambagh Palace, Jaipur, India: Once home to the Maharaja of Jaipur, this light and airy palace is relaxing and wistfully romantic; from the peacocks strutting across the lawns to the Indian classical musicians playing on cool verandahs. It was the setting for one of the most romantic royal love stories of the 20th Century, between Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II and Princess Gayatri Devi of Cooch Behar. They both lived here before his death on the polo field aged 58. The original art deco swimming pool is ultra glamorous and the Maharani used to do her laps here.
Claridge’s, London, UK: Claridge's was the centre of the London social scene in the frivolous and flapping 1920s, and it remains so today. Rooms are a seductive combination of Victorian grace, Art Deco glamour and timeless tradition; seductive touches like Art Deco mirrored desks, black and white marbled floors and Picasso prints all add panache. Afternoon Tea at Claridge's is almost as famous as the hotel itself but you'll also find the truly Art Deco Claridge's Bar designed by David Collins, the sexy Great-Gatsby-esque Fumoir and the all-day dining Reading Room.
The Imperial Hotel, Delhi, India: The hotel was opened in 1931, designed with a mix of Victorian, colonial and Art Deco style by architect, D.J. Bromfield. Its pool is a Gatsbyesque Deco masterpiece with a mosaic-tiled bottom and a fountain. The Deco suites are wonderfully spacious with opulent bathrooms, Bang & Olufsen electronics and a courtyard, terrace, or atrium view.
The Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad, South India: The Taj Falaknuma is a real-life fairytale, dripping in Venetian chandeliers, masterful paintings and the Nizam of Hyderabad’s original furniture, including the world’s longest dining table. The Jade Room is wonderfully Gatsbyesque and was where dignitaries from across the world, kings, diplomats, artists and luminaries used to congregate and trade stories and admire rare collections of jade along with priceless treasures collected from around the world, Victorian style hand-painted ceilings and Belgian cut-glass chandeliers.
Visalam, Chettinad, South India: Chettinad is a place for those who value lost grandeur, who choose elegance over excitement and who would prefer an evening’s walk through history’s shadows to a night at the nearest bar. Distinguished by its showy Art Deco façade, Visalam dates from the 1930s, when it was used for family weddings. The interiors preserve the feel of the period, with high-gloss wood furniture and walls painted in traditional limewash.
La Residence Hotel & Spa, Hue, Vietnam: This former governor's residence has been converted into a stunning hotel in a prime position on the banks of the Perfume River. The hotel's signature suites are in the original mansion house and have been decorated in colonial style and complimented by the Art Deco design of the communal areas.
Amanbagh, Alwar, India: Although more Mughal in style than roaring 1920s, there is simply no denying that Amanbagh would be the perfect backdrop to the most glamorous of parties. With acres of crisp green lawns, endless green marble private pools, private pool pavilions, an expansive rooftop open to the stars and, best of all, no one close enough to hear the party go on until dawn.
Sofitel Metropole, Hanoi, Vietnam: Set amidst the crumbling French colonialism of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, the historic Sofitel Metropole is the Grand Dame of Vietnam, with vintage Citroens at the entrance and an elegant poolside cocktail bar. Celebrating the spirit of early Hollywood glamour and post-war creativity, the Opera Wing embraces the art deco interiors of the 1930s with splashes of bright red against polished black marble, glittering tiles and velvet floral motifs.
The Peninsula, Shanghai, China: Inspired by the Art Deco period and Golden Age when Shanghai was the Paris of the East, this stylish new hotel provides the ultimate in sophistication and classic Art Deco style for glamorous Shanghai-dwellers. It has breathtaking views of the Bund, Huangpu River and Pudong; the idea behind its design was to re-create the serenity of a rich Chinese merchant's home of the 1920s on a grand yet residential scale.
For more information on these hotels or for more Great Gatsby inspiration please get in touch with one of our travel specialists on +44 (0)20 7819 9770, email firstname.lastname@example.org or browse our website www.ampersandtravel.com.