Perched high above the sacred Narmada River in Maheshwar, the 17th century Ahilya Fort was built by the Indian Maharani (queen) Ahilya Bai Holkar, and renovated in 2000 by her descendant to a 19-roomed luxury boutique heritage abode, complete with its original courtyards, fountains, and gardens spread across three acres. Each of the suites is furnished with every modern comfort you could want. On the complex, it’s not hard to find a secluded spot to read a book, enjoy a cup of chai, or just watch the butterflies flutter by. Start your day with breakfast on the mandap overlooking the Narmada below, and after a day of exploring this city steeped in folklore and renowned for its festivals, head back for a light western-inspired lunch prepared with produce gathered from the palace’s organic house garden and farm. On at least one evening, you’ll be invited for an evening apéritif followed by a traditional thaali dinner, drawn from the recipes of the palace’s royal kitchens. A true gem, which remains the highlight of so many of our guests’ visit to India.