Everyone can travel to India - the unassuming with a small budget and interest in the country and people, as well as those who like to treat themselves to something special, pamper themselves and indulge in luxury. The subcontinent lures with an endless range of options, from simple hostels to luxury 5-star luxury resorts.
In India, you will find not only hotels of all price categories, but also a variety of accommodation options. Depending on whether you are looking for a historic setting, meet the people of the country or have fun on the adventure, the choice among the accommodation possibilities is really large. Some of the hotels are also very special, with extravagant design or in unusual ambience. It does not have to be just the very expensive hotels that offer lovingly designed accommodation. A lot of private accommodation, so-called homestays, or small boutique hotels are also very nice. The prices for the accommodation range from under 10 euros to over 7,500 euros per night.
For Culture Lovers
If you are interested in Indian art, culture and architecture, the best is to stay at one of the Heritage Hotels. Heritage Hotel means that the hotel is located in a historic building, such as an old Maharajah Palace or a Haveli, an Indian mansion. The word Haveli comes from Arabic or Persian and means "closed space or area". Its architectural style is borrowed from Islamic architecture. The ancient Havelis of the Mughals had, as in the Arabic region, an inner courtyard, in which a well often stood.
Interiors of a Haveli in Rajasthan
Such Havelis from the Mughal period are still to be found today in Agra, Lucknow or Delhi. But such Havelis of a younger type are often found in Rajasthan.
Interiors of a Haveli in Rajasthan
With the loss of their power, India's Maharajahs had to look for new sources of income. Many families of the former rulers of India made their properties to the source of income and had their palaces converted completely or partially to hotels.
In these palace hotels, you are truly royal, surrounded by the elegance and luxury of days gone by, on the other hand spoiled by the amenities and facilities of modern hotels. Palace hotels, however, do not always have to be expensive. A cheap example is the state-run Sheesh Mahal in Orchha (Madhya Pradesh), which is very picturesque above the small town on the river Betwa.
Sheesh Mahal in Madhya Pradesh
Sheesh Mahal in Madhya Pradesh
Tea and spice plantations in Darjeeling or South India have also been transformed into heritage hotels. The plantations are partially still in operation, so that they can be seen from the very close proximity during the harvest and preparation of the tea and spices. There are also many colonial-style heritage hotels in the hill stations, where the British retreated in the hot Indian summers.
Tea Plantation in Idukki, Kerala
Not all, but nevertheless some of the listed heritage accommodations are also in the category of luxury hotels. Among the most expensive hotels in India, perhaps the most expensive in the world, is the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, once the residence of the Maharajah of Jaipur. This hotel is one of the most luxurious royal palaces in the world. A night in the Grand Presidential Suite costs as much as 600,000 rupees (about 7,500 euros).
Rambagh Palace in Jaipur
The Taj Lake Palace, located in Udaipur on an island in Lake Pichola, is in no way inferior. The most expensive suite is the same as in the Rambagh Palace.
Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, Rajasthan. India
Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, Rajasthan. India
There is also a luxury double room for about 500 euros per night. If you want to feel like a Maharajah or a Maharani in life, or if you want to walk in the footsteps of James Bond (Roger Moore’s "Octopussy" from 1983 was filmed here), Lake Palace is where you should check out.
India can also boast ultra-modern hotels in the luxury segment, such as the LEED Gold Certified Hotel Park Hotel in Hyderabad, the Taj Lands End in Mumbai or the Oberoi in Gurgaon. The range in the upscale price segment is very large, from an exclusive beach hotel to a spa that leaves nothing to be desired, from the romantic honeymoon resort to the Jungle Lodge in the middle of the Tiger reserve area, from the golf hotel with the Himalayan panorama to the business hotel with the latest conference equipment.
For the Adventurous
Whoever is into adventure is right at home in India. From diving in the Laccadives to skiing in the Himalayas, from encounter with the predators of the jungle to meditative camel tours through the desert, the subcontinent offers a wide range of activities. The accommodations for these journeys are just as varied as the range of adventures.
Scuba Diving in Laccadives
If you want to go to the jungle you can get comfortable in one of the jungle lodges, which are available in many price categories. The lodges are located close to the national parks. With great luck, you can even see the animals at dinner or breakfast.
Skiing in Gulmarg
While Skiing is a special adventure for Europeans, it is a small adventure in India, because the winter sports industry is still a little bit at its infancy. The most famous Indian ski resort is located in Gulmarg in Kashmir. There are lifts and pistes, but Gulmarg is not yet as well developed as the ski areas in the Alps. If you are looking for a place to stay, you should be well advised. Never forget: Gulmarg is not St. Moritz! At Gulmarg, you will experience a special blend of breathtaking scenery, exotic culture and wonderful people.
Experience true adventure by completely renouncing comfort, for example on a trekking trip in the Himalayas or a multi-day camel safari through the desert, where you will stay in tents. Luxury? –
Camping in the mountains
Yes, of pure mountains and a starry sky, as you have never seen it before. Of experiences, you will surely narrate to your grandchildren later.
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.
At home, you buy at the organic food store, attach importance to fair trade and environmentally friendly products. In India, there are more and more eco-hotels coming up, which have committed themselves to sustainable tourism in all respects, offering their guests food that are organic and with social commitment. The aforementioned Devi Garh at Udaipur or the Wild Mah Lake in Assam are among these eco-hotels.
The Lodge Wild Mahseer is an old tea plantation. On the table, only products produced on the plantation are used, rainwater is used as industrial water and electricity is generated with solar cells. In Gujarat, a real little place for tourists is the Shaam-e-Sarhad Village Resort.
Shaam-e-sharhad Village Resort
The houses are all built in the traditional style, with lots of clay, which helps to regulate the temperature in the houses. Also, the houses are decorated with artisan pieces of the area. They should not only delight guests, but also tell them about the craftsmanship and culture of this region.
Our Native Village in Kerala has a similar concept, but goes much further. Here, a whole range of health programs are offered, such as a diabetes prevention program, a 21-day kickstart program for vegan diet or similar programs.
Electricity is generated by wind power, solar energy and biogas, the water is conserved by rainwater retention tanks. There is almost exclusively organic food, most of it is produced on the own site. Even the swimming pool - yes, there is a pool! - is environmentally friendly because it is designed like a pond. Water plants, carbon filters and oxygen enrichment devices keep the water constantly clean, so no chemicals are necessary.
Traditional Organic Kerala Lunch
Eco-friendly hotels or those that offer organic food, by the way, do not necessarily have to be expensive. It is worth doing a little research - so you do not have to throw your principles into India.
Wellness - where could you enjoy it better than in India? Ayurveda, yoga and meditation have their origin in India. A lot of Ayurveda resorts with natural healing procedures, yoga and meditation offerings can be found here for health-conscious people who simply want to be completely rejuvenated.
The majority of these resorts are located in beautiful surroundings, because a proper Ayurveda cure also means that the ambience provides for peace and relaxation. Whether beside the sea or far up in the mountains, whether in the green hills or on a beautiful calm river island, you can be sure that in these resorts you will find peace.
As health and fitness are becoming more and more important for many people, especially in the case of stressed business people, "normal" hotels now offer wellness packages for their guests.
There is also recreation on the beaches of India, Goa or the Andaman Islands, in the old summer residences of the British, the so-called hill stations, or in golfing. There are plenty of golf courses, including really excellent tournament places.
If the budget is small, but the longing for Incredible India is great, we recommend to book a cheap flight at an early stage and to stay in India in hostels, guesthouses, budget hotels, homestays or private accommodation.
Cheap dorm rooms are available in most tourist places
And it can very cheap. A bed in hostels can cost four euros only! Well, this is not a luxury hostel and you stay with others in a shared dorm, but the hostels that deserve this name - like Zostel, Vedanta Wake Up! Or the Moustache Hostel - are clean and you also get to know a lot of people.
Budget beach cottages in Goa
A little more comfortable - and above all with contact with locals - are the private accommodation via Airbnb. From 15 Euro per night you can find nice private rooms in many cities of India on this internet platform. The local hosts also have a few tips, which should not be missed in their city, where there is a good restaurant or a trendy bar.
If you do not want to be so private, but still have little money to spend, there are still cheap budget hotels or homestays of the lower price class.
If you are looking for an adventure, you can also book an Indian, non-star hotel. This isn’t only something for the hard-fisted. Most often, staff can speak English. This can also be an experience that you would not want to miss in the end. This is recommended for people who have travelled to India at least once.
For Nature Lovers
In India, nature lovers are in their own right, because the country offers a diverse flora and fauna, not only in its many national parks. In the immediate vicinity of the animal protection areas you will find many, often extremely luxurious accommodations, such as the lodges of Waxpol Hotels and Resorts (WHR), the Sunderban Tiger Camp in West Bengal and the Riverwood Forest Retreats in Dooars in the eastern Himalayas’ Gorumara National Park. Wild Indian elephants and rhinoceros are among the many attractions here.
Tree Houses for Nature Lovers
In the middle of green nature, on the edge of the Van Vihar national park, the Jehan Numa Retreat, for example, is a spa and resort, which is committed to the culture of the region and is committed to nature.
There you can observe wild animals directly at the nearby waterhole, pamper themselves with therapeutic treatments or play golf on the edge of the complex, if you want. These accommodations in the middle of nature offer unique experiences that you will not forget so quickly.
Supporting Indian farmers is another activity of some NGOs
Every help is welcome, whether it is help at organic farms or lessons for Indian children. Medically educated people can help in health projects, and if you are skilled in the craft, they can help NGOs build institutions.
Many NGOs are involved in rural education in India
Through your volunteer work, not only is something done for the people of India, we assure you: You too will benefit from this work. You will not only get to know the local culture, you will also learn a lot of things that enrich your life.