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About Himachal Pradesh
Sprawled across the foothills of the Himalayas is Himachal Pradesh, known for its natural beauty and its mountain-scapes. Literally translated it means ‘Snow-laden Region’ so there are no prizes for guessing the local climate. The Hotel Guru's selection of the best places to stay in Himachal Pradesh is wide ranging: from heritage to luxury; family friendly to budget there are plenty of great places to stay.
Home to some seriously impressive scenery and one of a kind experiences there is plenty to do in this diverse state. From religious pilgrimages to the Namgyal Monastery in Daramshala, the home of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, to the fine colonial architecture synonymous with the Raj and Shimla, its former summer capital: Himachal Pradesh is packed with things to do.
Visit in winter and head up to the Solang Valley for a unique skiing experience in Manali or see how Mussoorie got its nickname ‘The Queen of Hill Stations’. With plenty of excellent accommodation options, whatever takes your fancy there is something for you in Himachal Pradesh.
Following a devastating earthquake in 1905, Dharamshala sank into obscurity until 1960 when the Dalai Lama arrived to establish his Tibetan Government in exile in Mcleod Ganj. Since then it has become something of a spiritual mecca where travellers interested the teachings of Buddhism come. To drive out to the surrounding villages of Dharamkot and Gatedi (to name but a couple) is to enter a pastoral paradise where eagles sore and cows low. A world away from the commotion of town.
Shimla an important administrative capital under the British rule and home to those familiar crumbling, Raj era facades as well as hidden churches and colonial bungalows. Walk along ‘The Ridge’ passing bookshops aplenty and some charming cafes towards Christ Church, synonymous with the town.
If in search of fresh air and picturesque walking routes then the quaint hill station of Kasauli will provide sanctuary from city life. Kasauli is most easily reached from Shimla, around 70km away.
From honeymooners to backpackers Manali town centre is somewhat overrun with tourists these days, however there are still some delightful properties outside of town providing a relaxing stay. A playground for lovers of the great outdoors you’ll be hard pressed to find activities that you can’t do here. Fishing, climbing, trekking, heli-skiing, paragliding and so much more - make sure to make time to simply be, and take in the striking scenery.
Himachal Pradesh lies at the foothills of the Himalayas, rising steadily up. Enjoying a temperate climate most of the year, especially during the summer months, some parts are pretty chilly in the winter – but look beautiful under a blanket of snow! Himachal is the perfect escape from the hot summers of the plains.
The Hotel Guru's selection of the best places to stay in Himachal Pradesh is wide ranging: from boutique stays to all out luxury there are plenty of choices for all tastes and budgets.
For a boutique stay
- Manali’s newest, most coveted address The Himalayan brings luxurious accommodation to this outdoor activities hotspot. Built in a neo-gothic style, accommodation is spread across the castle and private cottages. Rooms are made for lingering and include sitting areas by the open place fires, four poster beds and lavish bathrooms. Wholesome comfort food is served plus there is a cosy, ‘pub’ style bar.
For total relaxation
- With meditation rooms and yoga classes available Grace Hotel is a relaxing retreat, much in the spirit of Dharamshala. Decorated in an Indo-Tibetan style Yogeshwar Mahajan ensures that guests have an immersive and comfortable stay in his centuries old, ancestral home.
For a homestay experience
Himachal Pradesh enjoys some excellent homestays but our favourites would have to include Urvashi’s Retreat located in a quiet corner of Manali and 7 Pines in peaceful Kasauli.
- Surrounded by apple orchards and a bubbling brook Urvashi’s Retreat is a mountain home away from home. Wood panelled rooms, floral fabrics, delicious food plus that all important warm welcome make it an idyllic stay.
- Picture postcode 7 Pines is the home that you wish you had! Large rooms boasting mountain views include exquisitely upholstered antique furnishings. A health conscious blend of Indian and Western dishes the food is a must mention, particularly the ‘healthy’ chocolate cake!
For excellent value
- Hotel Ibex is a simple hotel situated between Manali and Leh. Come here for great trekking and awesome views. Plus rooms start from as little as £18 per night.
- Johnson Lodge is a family run affair, that is perfect for families, with loads to do close by, from hiking and fishing in the summer to skiing in winter. Rooms are stylish and prices start from just £35 per night.
For an eco break
- Owner’s Bo and Sheila are pedantic about green tourism at Hotel Eagle’s Nest. Using solar power, recycled spring water (from their own private spring) as well as upholding social responsibilities by employing local staff. Far from impeding one’s stay it only adds to the idiosyncrasies of the property, which include unique rooms and on-site ponies. A superb stay in rural Dharamshala.
- Welcoming guests for over 130 years The Oberoi Cecil has had plenty of time to perfect its 5 star service. Rooms are decorated in a classic style plus there is a wood-beamed indoor pool and period artwork. A classic stay in colonial Shimla.
- Brimming with the old world charm of a bygone age, Chapslee is the former private residence of Honourable Raja Charanjit Singh. It includes a well-stocked library, cards room, tennis court and croquet lawn whilst rooms are filled with more antiques than an auction house.
- Boasting the best views of Shimla, Wildflower Hall sits perched like a fairy tale castle, overlooking the valleys below. The most luxurious stay in town is includes a stunning infinity pool, indulgent spa, fine dining and opulent rooms. If you can tear yourself away they also have an extensive activities programme. Go on – spoil yourself!
Still not sure which to book? From heritage to homestay browse though our list of the best places to stay in Himachal Pradesh to start to plan your trip. Or contact one of our friendly gurus for advice.
Best Hotels in Himachal Pradesh
Hotel Ibex 27 rooms from $23Jispa, Himachal Pradesh
Located midway between Manali and Leh this simple hotel enjoys scenic views across the River Bhaga and surrounding mountain range. Accommodation is limited in these parts and generally used as a pitstop before trekking. However all rooms have private balconies and bathrooms. Local dishes are served.Sights nearby - The monasteries of Kardag and Gemour are within a short distance.Great walks - Good for walkers.Views - Great views from hotelRemote - Off the beaten track.
Johnson Lodge 20 rooms from $46Manali (Himachal Pradesh)
Run by a family, for families. Spacious rooms and private cottages are decorated in a classic style with green and magnolia palettes, wooden floors, comfy furnishings and views of Manali's enrapturing scenery. There is a cosy restaurant with open fireplace and a homely sitting room, plus a spa.Sights nearby - Located along the banks of the River Beas, Naggar Castle is an interesting and historic visit.Fishing - Catch a fish supper (Manali is famous for its trout) in the River Beas.Views - Great views from hotelFull of character
Urvashi's Retreat 6 rooms from $69Manali (Himachal Pradesh)
A charming home stay located within easy reach of Manali town. Pine clad rooms are decorated with floral fabrics and include modern bathrooms, some with private balconies and mountain views. Feel a part of the family by the log fire in the comfy sitting room or with a book in a sun dappled garden.Back to Nature - Surrounded by Manali's dramatic mountains and set within a fragrant apple orchard this property lies amidst nature.Fishing - Famous for its trout you can catch yourself a fish supper from the River Beas.Great walks - There are some excellent walking trails right from your front door.Full of character
The Himalayan 8 rooms from $74Manali (Kullu Valley)
Manali has a coveted new address: bringing boutique luxury to within a short walk of town The Himalayan has eight castle rooms and eight private cottages in charming neo-gothic style buildings. Rooms include open fire places and four posters. Plus a spa, pool and views! A total delight.Great walks - Manali is trekkers country and there are plenty of great trails on your doorstep.Fishing - Manali is famous for its trout which can be found in the River Beas.Views - Great views from hotelOpulent
Grace Hotel 14 rooms from $87Dharamshala (Himachal Pradesh)
With the densely forested Dhauladhar range for a backdrop this 200 year old manor house enjoys 360° views. In the hands of the Mahajan family for generations is provides a relaxing stay away from the bustle of Mcleod Ganj, including meditation rooms. Cuisine is Asian and rooms are Tibetan inspired.Local markets - The Tibetan market is a great place to pick up locally made gifts and trinkets.Sights nearby - Mcleod Ganj and Gangchen Kyishong are just 4kms away.Great walks - The Kangra Valley provides varying levels of treks.Birdwatching - Good birding near the hotel.
Hotel Eagles Nest 8 rooms from $133Dharamshala (Himachal Pradesh)
Located in the quiet village of Dharamkot away from this bustle of town is this family run eco property. With eight rooms, each individually and thoughtfully decorated it provides an intimate stay. There is a comfortable sitting room and home cooked food is served. Plus plenty of on-site activities.Back to Nature - Located in bucolic Dharamkot this property is surrounded by deodar forest and the sound of birdsong.Birdwatching - There are 556 species of birdlife - step out with your dedicated naturalists for help spotting them.Sights nearby - A trip to Mcleod Ganj and Gangchen Kyishong is a must.Local markets - Good for local colour.
The Oberoi Cecil 75 rooms from $165Shimla (Himachal Pradesh)
Welcoming guests for over 130 years Cecil was a popular hotel amongst Britishers escaping the heat of the planes in the summer months, and still maintains its colonial white facade. Featuring a cavernous lobby, wood-beamed indoor pool and rooms decorated in classic colonial style. A historic stay.Back to Nature - With nature trails and a bounty of outdoor activities this property is great for getting back to nature.Local markets - Head to The Ridge for some fine examples of colonial architechture and great antique and book shops.Sights nearby - Just a short walk away is the Vice Regal Lodge, the former summer residence of the Viceroy of India.Great walks - There are many nature trails beginning right from the hotel.
7 Pines 8 rooms from $150Kasauli (Himachal Pradesh)
Tucked away in Kasauli's tranquil hills this Himalayan homestay is a labour of love. Anglo-Indian in style the decor is English country house meets Indian chic. The food is far superior to that of an ordinary homestay with Indian and Western dishes on offer. Relax with a book in the fragrant garden.Great walks - There are several walks right from the doorstep - take the dogs with you if you like!Back to Nature - In the foothills of the Himalayas with only the sound of birdsong for distraction.Sights nearby - Kuthar Palace houses an impressive collection of artwork and antiques.Cooking classes - Ask Prem, the head chef, to teach you some of his secrets!
Wildflower Hall 85 rooms from $255Shimla (Himachal Pradesh)
Perched at an altitude of over 8000 ft with indescribable views of the surrounding hills. Full on old world, colonial charm rooms are understated luxury with polished woods, antiques and open fireplaces. Enjoy indoor-outdoor dining or a whiskey at The Cavalry Bar. There is a sumptuous pool and spa.Back to Nature - The hotel has gorgeous gardens and stunning vistas of the surrounding hills and mountains.Great walks - Finish off a walk amongst the fragrant pine trees with a gourmet picnic.Full of characterViews - Great views from hotelRecommended by - Tablet
Chapslee 5 rooms from $261Shimla (Himachal Pradesh)
The former residence of the Hon'ble Raja Charanjit Singh is today a boutique property boasting luxury from a bygone era. With a library, cards room, tennis court and croquet lawn you truly are transported into another time. Plus what is regarded as the best restaurant in Shimla can be found here.Local markets - The Mall with its lines of shops is great for shopping and picking up trinkets.Great walks - The 30 minute walk up to Jakhu Temple is well worth it.Sights nearby - Viceregal Lodge is just a short walk away.Full of character