9 Incredible Boutique Hotels In India You Need To Experience [Vol. II]

9 Incredible Boutique Hotels In India You Need To Experience [Vol. II]

The last long weekend of the year is coming up. Christmas Day, 25th December, is a Friday. Club it with the weekend and you’re set. But if you’re thinking of certain five-star escapes on the beach, or by the backwaters, it’s time you think again. Cookie-cutter five-star hotels are stale, sanitary and boring. Boutique hotels are where it’s at. They’re the chalk to the quintessential five-star’s cheese. They’re small, intimate, have a strong sense of character, and themes that set them apart from big chains—think vintage furniture, custom made artworks, a strong focus on eco-awareness and organic farming perhaps. Basically, they’re eccentric and offer you things that five-star chains cannot, such as the chance to raft down the Ganga, picnic on a mountainside, or catch the first rays of the sun from the porch of your tent atop an ancient reservoir.

In part two of our series, we’ve handpicked even more lust-worthy boutique hotels across the country for you to experience. From a tented Ladakhi camp that’s so luxurious it has to be experienced to be believed, to not one, but two quaint properties in Puducherry, and even an old, colonial bungalow on a hilltop. We’ve got you covered.

Bookmark this compilation before you scroll on…

I. Chamba Camp, Thiksey, Ladakh

 Chamba Camp in Ladakh is one of several sites of The Ultimate Travelling Camps and promises luxury from the moment you arrive right up to the time you leave.  You might be staying in a tent, but that’s no reason to believe you’re going to be roughing it. Each tent is distinct from the others and comes with an en-suite bathroom, private deck, and your very own butler—honestly, did you ever imagine you’d get private butler service way up in the mountains of Ladakh?
If you can drag yourself out of the cocooned comfort that Chamba Camp provides, we suggest excursions to Thiksey Monastery, a beautiful hilltop monastery that dates back to the mid-15th century. You can also raft down the Indus, go on a bicycle tour with your own personal guide, watch a local polo match, or simply get the resort to arrange a picnic for you on the mountainside. Frankly, we wish were there right now, instead of merely writing about it. So do us a favour and go so that we can experience it vicariously through you.

Cost: Minimum stay of three nights required. Packages start at Rs. 84,000 per person for a room for two. Butler service in the mountains doesn’t come cheap. Fork it out.

II. Chhatra Sagar, Pali-Marwar, Rajasthan

Chhatra Sagar sits atop a dam built in the 19th century by Thakur Chhatra Singh of Nimaj. Thanks to his efforts, the once arid region became lush, and Singh entertained many guests here, erecting temporary camps for them to stay in. In his memory, his great grandchildren started Chattra Sagar as a tented luxury boutique resort, continuing Singh’s tradition of welcoming guests with a more modern, entrepreneurial touch. With views of the lake and swoon-worthy sunsets, a stay here can turn even the greatest cynic into a die-hard romantic.
Each tent at Chhatra Sagar is hand-stitched and embossed with traditional block printed floral motifs. There are thirteen in total—11 on the dam itself and two ultra-private ones on the hill. No bets for guessing which we prefer. The best time of day is sunrise. As the camp faces east, the reservoir turns a beautiful pink as the sun rises. Wake up early and take it in with a cup of steaming tea on your private veranda.
The meals here may be simple, but the regional vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes they serve are delicious—and the ingredients are picked from the resort’s own fields.
Tempting as it might be to do nothing but soak in the view, go visit a neighbouring village to get a peek into local life, or teach yourself a new skill at the on-site cooking class. Additionally, if you’re a bird watcher, you’ll be pleased to know that the region attracts almost 200 species of birds. Chhatra Sagar might be a little tricky to find, so we suggest you carry a printout of the map given on the website.

Cost: A room for two costs Rs. 33,000 per night. Not cheap, but worth it for one of the best sunrises you’ll ever see.

III. Elsewhere, Goa

Hidden away from the rave parties and beach bums is Elsewhere—so secret that its exact location isn’t even given out by the proprietors until you make a booking. This place of privacy, tranquillity and easy-going beach life on a private piece of land is accessible only by a bamboo footbridge.
The four rustic beach houses at Elsewhere sleep anywhere between two to six people, so pick one based on the size of your party. If you’re a couple, or close friends, we suggest The Bakery (which actually used to be a bakery), as either one or both bedrooms can be booked individually or together. The other three houses need to be booked in entirety. There’s free Wi-Fi in designated areas too. You’re going to be really motivated to want to do anything here except sit on the patio and watch the sea, but that’s okay, do as you please—it’s your holiday after all. But if you’re one of those who like to really get around, there’s a yoga centre within walking distance, while the beaches of Baga and Calangute are a 30-minute drive away. But honestly, do you even want to bother? Look at this place.

Cost: Starts at Rs. 12,280 per night for two people. Not a problem at all, we think. Isolation never looked this good. Note that Elsewhere usually asks for a minimum week-long booking, but can accept shorter bookings based on availability

Elsewhere, Goa. Image source: Elsewhere

IV. Lakshman Sagar, Rajasthan

 Built in the late 19th century by the Thakur of Raipur, Lakshman Singh, Lakshman Sagar gives you a glimpse into royal heritage, local village culture and wild India. Maintaining indigenous Rajasthani architecture with an added hint of modern, chic interiors and sustainable designs, Lakshman Sagar stretches across 32 acres, with 12 cottages along a manmade lake.
If you feel like stepping out, visit the neighbouring villages or go on or a tour of the Raipur fort. But if you prefer staying in, take a cooling dip in the single rock cut swimming pool or watch a sunset on the Zanana terrace. The resort also offers various indoor and outdoor activities to keep you busy. Regardless of whether you choose to chill by the pool or explore the deep cultural and historical roots, Lakshman Sagar offers you the best of both worlds.

Cost: Rs. 12,000 per night for a room for two. Worth it, in our opinion 

V. La Villa, Puducherry

French architects Tina Trigala and Yves Lesprit took this old structure in Puducherry’s old quarter called White Town and transformed it. Keeping a balance between its heritage and the modern spirit they wished to infuse it with, the duo turned it into one of Puducherry’s hottest boutique properties. Each suite has its own charm and character, the minibars are complimentary and the hotel manages to carry off its understated-chic vibe like a confident debutante. And we have to admit—we’ve got a real soft spot for the little details at his hotel: hand-drawn maps of India and Tamil Nadu on the lobby’s walls, masala grinders acting as side tables for the sun loungers by the pool, and deliciously fresh, flaky croissants.

Cost: Rs. 13,490 per night for two people. Cheaper than going to France.

La Villa Puducherry. Image source: La Villa Puducherry

VI. La Villa Shanti, Puducherry

A modern restyling of a 19th century French colonial house, La Villa Shanti is sleek and cosy, with great aesthetic appeal, located in Puducherry’s White Town. Balancing a homely feel with the best services of a hotel, this boutique hotel’s 15 rooms embrace minimalism, and mix French décor with Indian antiques to give it a young, artistic vibe and calming atmosphere. All the rooms are built around an inner courtyard with a vertical garden, ensuring that there’s plenty of natural night throughout. Go all out and book the Terrasse Suite, it comes with its own 400 ft. terrace.

 Cost: Starts at Rs. 7,000 per night for a room for two. Don’t blame us if you become a frequent visitor.

VII. Malabar Escape - Serenity, Kottayam, Kerala 

A drive deep into Kerala’s spice gardens and rubber plantations brings you to a colonial, hilltop bungalow. Welcome to Malabar Escape – Serenity, an unobtrusive and intensely private 1920s-style bungalow nestled in the Keralan countryside.
Fair warning: this is a pretty exclusive retreat. There are only five bedrooms, each decked out in period furniture and original artwork. Each bedroom also has a private veranda. But just because it’s tucked away doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do. Serenity offers yoga and cooking classes, badminton, in-house spa treatments, cycling tours, village walks, and even mountain bikes for hire if you’re feeling particularly restless.

Cost: Rs. 15,438 per night, because exclusivity comes with a price tag.

Malabar Escapes - Serenity. Image source: Malabar Escapes. Photo by Olaf Kreuger

VIII. Orchard Tents, Pushkar, Rajasthan

Fifteen air-conditioned tents await you at Pushkar’s Orchard Tents. And these aren’t your usual tents. They come with separate sitting rooms, large bathrooms, dressing areas and private verandas. Welcome to the world of glamping. Surrounded by thick orchards of amla and fields of roses, Orchard Tents is a godsend in the otherwise backpacker haven that is Pushkar.

The world famous Pushkar Mela, however, isn’t the only way to kill time here. The tented resort offers plenty to keep you busy: camel rides, archery, badminton, cricket, and even classes in yoga, drumming and folk dancing. So don’t visit just during the fair, Pushkar can be a year-round destination.

But if you’re like us and you just want to sit around and relax till you eventually become one with the surroundings, we suggest parking yourself in one of the many hammocks and reading till the lilting cry of peacocks in the distance lulls you into a deep sleep.

Cost: Rs. 8,000 for a tent for two. Because, honestly, why would you want to backpack when you could have this? 

IX. Raga on the Ganges, Rishikesh

Can’t decide between a spa vacation and an action packed adventure? Not to fret, Raga by the Ganges, Rishikesh offers both. A stay here satisfies the mind, body and soul, with an extra shot of adrenalin. Each room here has a view of the emerald Ganga and the Shivalik range. If you don’t want a standard room, stay in one of their log cottages instead. Spend your day rafting down the river before coming back and heading straight to Teertha, the in-house spa that offers a host of ayurvedic treatments. Wrap up your evening with a meal at Tarana and hit the sack so that you can be up bright and early to catch the sunrise. After all, a sunrise on the Ganga is unlike a sunrise anywhere else.

Cost: Rs. 7,500 per night. The price is just right.

Raga on the Ganges

If you enjoyed this article we suggest you read:

Related Stories

No stories found.