There are very special hotels which convey the feeling of independence to individuals, places that are unique in the world or simply by their character offering exclusivity. The most prominent among these are undoubtedly the houseboats in the Backwaters in Kerala.
Houseboat in the backwaters of Kerala
The lagoons, lakes and canals of this approximately 900 km long waterway network directly behind the coast of the southern Indian state have something magical.
Backwaters in Kerala
The dense green waterways snake past the fishers and kingfishers through the coconut tree forests. The nicely dressed old rice barges, which are today converted to houseboats are adding to this romantic environment. Here you really feel in God's Own Country.
There is also a luxury counterpart for spartan tents for tours in the Himalayas or through the Thar desert: overnight stays in luxury tents. With such tents, the trips have much in common with a trip on a luxury yacht than on a rowing boat trip. The large spacious luxury tents - having 300 square meters of living space - offer every comfort. Only the walls are not made of stone, but made of tent cloth, so you can feel a little closer to nature outside than in the usual hotel accommodation.
Desert camel safari
Then there would still be the so-called boutique hotels. This is a concept that was invented in the US in the 1980s, and which describes individual, personally-run, small, but often luxurious hotels.
Today you have to be a bit careful, if a recognized hotel chain is not the apparent owner-run houses. In any case, boutique hotels are a bit special. Mostly small, but good, such as The Amber, located in a quiet corner of New Delhi, with only a total of 20 rooms, or the small Art Hotel Le Sutra, located in the popular Mumbai suburb of Bandra. The Devi Garh near Udaipur, with its 39 rooms. has created a wonderful mixture of a traditional Rajput palace and contemporary minimalism in the rooms.
Lesutra Hotel, Bandra, Mumbai
A real alternative to staying in hotels are homestays. This, of course, does not mean that one must stay in the private rooms of the host family and share the bathroom with them. Instead, you will find among homestays some of the best accommodations that India has to offer, with excellent housekeeping, personal care and contact with the extremely hospitable ordinary Indians.
You may not find a swimming pool, but the accommodations are mostly comparable to good middle class hotels. In any case, the homestays are one of the most extraordinary, unique accommodations in the country.