Since tea plantation began in Darjeeling in the mid nineteenth century its landscape was changed forever. Dominated by dramatic terraced slopes, the local agriculture is responsible for some impressive scenery. Our pick of the best places to stay in Darjeeling are ideally situated for immersing yourself in nature and completely unwinding.
A world away from the rest of Northern India, Darjeeling’s variances are represented in the faces of its inhabitants, their culture and religion (there is a large Buddhist population).
The scenery is quintessentially Himalayan, overlooking the majestic Khangchendzonga peak. Outdoor enthusiasts will be right at home as there are plenty of day and overnight treks available for every level.
Enjoying a temperate climate Darjeeling can be visited most of the year, from October – May. June to September however sees the monsoon rains and it is best avoided.
The Buddhist monasteries in Ghum, in particular Yiga Choling Gompa built in 1850 and the oldest in the area, are a must visit and a fascinating insight into Darjeeling’s religion and culture. The best way to reach Ghum is by the affectionately named “Toy Train” one of the few functioning mountain railways remaining in India.
Early risers head to Tiger Hill for sunrise. There is something truly unforgettable about watching the first rays of dawn traverse this 250km stretch of Himalayan mountain, turning its snowy peaks from white to pink.
Another absolute must, the reason that tourists flock to Darjeeling, is to sample a cup of its finest chai. Known as “the champagne of tea” Darjeeling’s plantations are abundant. At Happy Valley Tea Estate visitors can watch the process from start to finish (visit between March and November to see tea-pickers out in the fields, harvesting the crop by hand).
Our pick of the best places to stay in Darjeeling all embrace the local countryside whilst providing a historic and comfortable stay.
You are spoilt for choice for historic stays in Darjeeling but our favourites include:
Still not sure which to book? From heritage to budget browse through our list of the best places to stay in Darjeeling to start to plan your trip. Alternatively widen the net and check out all our recommendations in West Bengal, or contact one of our friendly gurus for advice.
The Makaibari Tea Estate was the first to establish a factory, introduce organic farming, be certified as Fair Trade & to appoint women as supervisors. Its pioneering tradition continues with this wonderful homestay program. The rooms provided are clean & comfortable with western bathrooms.
Excellently located in the heart of Darjeeling’s tourist district with wonderful views of the town and the Kanchenjunga mountain range. This is a lovely hotel with a friendly, warm feel. The rooms are spacious & comfortable, with wood panelling, large windows & soft armchairs. Simple and cosy.
This glorious former summer residence of a Maharajah is superbly located in the heart of Darjeeling, a stroll from the bars & cafes and with spectacular views of the mountains and pine forests. It has been wonderfully restored to its original grandeur. The rooms are elegant & beautifully furnished.
It is clear that a lot of passion and a great deal of thought have gone into ensuring the ultimate satisfaction of guests at this beautiful heritage hotel. It boasts 2 restaurants, a bar, gym, spa, pool, games room, the list goes on. The rooms are spacious, tasteful and charming.
Darjeeling, West Bengal
Quirky and colonial: step back into the days of the British Raj. The Windamere offers a nostalgic stay in the heart of Darjeeling. The place oozes history with white gloved waiters adding to the atmosphere. A must visit for those who a love a slice of days gone by!