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Encircling a large, green volcanic lake Nainital was a favourite amongst homesick Brits for its resemblance to the Cumbrian Lake District. Nowadays it is frequented by honeymooning couples, and travellers looking for some relaxation. Our pick of the best places to stay in Nainital are within easy reach of the area's sights whilst still providing a peaceful stay.
The lake itself has undergone a serious clean up operation in the last few years and is now home to healthy carp population. A walk around it will uncover a spider’s web of shops and bazaars, cafes, fairground type entertainment stalls, an archaic cinema and a busy mosque. All in one stroll.
Whilst Nainital is a quaint town, it is the largest in Kumaon and its narrow roads can get congested. We would advise staying slightly outside of the main thoroughfare.
Row across the lake and take a walk up to the affectionately named Tiffin Top. Travellers would walk up to Dorothey’s Seat, with their tiffins in hand for a serene lunchtime picnic. A comparatively easy and rewarding excursion.
Just past the Nainital Boat Club, located on the main Mall road is the antiquated Sakley’s café, its window filled floor to ceiling with freshly baked cakes and pastries. Those with a sweet tooth - go on an empty stomach and sample as many of its delights as possible.
Nainital, meaning nine lakes, is far from the only lake town in the region. The more peaceful destinations of Bhimtal and Sattal are a great day trip for some idyllic walks.
Owing to its good connectivity to Delhi, Nainital is a most popular weekend destination amongst Delhiites in the summer months. Providing respite from the gruelling heat it can get very busy between April and September. October through to March it can be chilly but the town and lake is a winter wonderland covered in snow.
Our pick of the best places to stay in Naintal can be very busy during peak periods, so get organised and book early!
For a homestay
- With delicious home-cooked food, comfortable rooms and idiosyncratic owner The Cottage provides a home away from home. Located in the little village of Jeolikot there are plenty of directly from your front door.
- Dating back to 1830 and comprised of six individual ivy clad cottages Neemrana’s Rambagh Bungalows provides a quintessential stay in the rural Kumaon region. And starting at under £40 a night excellent value.
- With organised activity programmes and plenty of on site activities the Shervani Hilltop hotel is ideal for keeping the little ones busy whilst the adults relax.
For a romantic stay
- Large, modern and chic cottages with rooms made for lingering in and enjoying the view. Jilling Terraces is a great stay for couples and perfectly secluded for your own little hideaway.
For total relaxation
- The clue is in the name with Soulitude in the Himalayas and Soulitude by the Riverside. Totally secluded, environmentally conscious retreats.
Still not sure which to book? From family friendly to a couple’s hideaway browse through our list of the best places to stay in Nainital to start to plan your trip. Or you can widen the net and check out all our recommended hotels in Uttarakhand, or contact one of our friendly gurus for advice.
Best Hotels in Nainital
Neemrana's Ramgarh Bungalows 15 rooms from $39District Nainital
Far from the chaos & crowds, in the gorgeous Kumoan belt, sit 6 charming colonial cottages dating back to 1830. The rooms offered in each building vary but all are cosy & traditional & full of character. Surrounded by orchards, on the edge of a cliff with wonderful views, this is a magical hideaway.Birdwatching - The Kumaon Hills are a birdwatchers paradise. Many can be spotted at the bungalows - woodpeckers, parakeets, mynahs, peafowlLocal markets - Life in Ramgarh is quiet. Take a trip to the small, quaint village market. Watch local life passing byGreat walks - Many lovely walks in the area. The details of the routes can be obtained from the front deskHideaway - Tranquil and intimate.
The Cottage 6 rooms from $59Jeolikot, Nainital
A hidden gem, a rural idyll: call it what you will this property is unique. A hairpin bend off the Nainital road, once in The Cottage's verdant embrace you will forget the outside world. Large rooms with views are awash with antiques and vibrant prints. Meals are delicious Indian home-cooking.Local markets - Amongst the bric-a-brac, shops like Pahari sell fair trade fabrics, candles and toiletries.Hideaway - A sharp hairpin bend off the main road you feel a million miles away from civilisation.Great walks - There are plenty of excellent valley walks directly from the property.Sights nearby - Nainital, with its temples and mosques is just a short drive away.
Shervani Hilltop 35 rooms from $74Nainital
This modern manor house has fragrant landscaped gardens and much entertainment. Rooms are large and feature exposed wood floors and ornate upholstering. Some have private terraces. Cuisine is European and Asian and there are plenty of al-fresco dining areas plus the inviting Courtyard Bar.Sights nearby - The neighbouring lake towns of Bhimtal and Sattal are quiter than Nainital and worth a visit.Great walks - The hotel organises guided walks including an al-fresco picnic.Sailing - Can be booked nearby.Full of character
Infinity Corbett Wilderness from $78Nainital
Relax in 22 acres of riverside calm, in the foothills of the famous Himalayas. The exterior mimics a English village and the rooms showcase high ceilings that mirror the great outdoors. Between the pool, the riverside sun deck and the pagoda you can feast on multi cuisines. A fantastic spot.Great walks - To the temples, waterfalls and along the Kosi River.Remote - On the outskirts of Jim Corbett National Park.Fishing - Take a ready-made picnic from the resort.Views - Rooms are either garden or river facing.
The Naini Retreat 37 rooms from $98Nainital
This quaint property, built from local traditional stone, enjoys stunning views across Nainital Lake. It features four dining options and an atmospheric bar. Rooms are clad in pine and have an antique, colonial feel including classic fabrics. A homely stay with a plethora of outdoor activities.Great walks - Climb up the quantly named 'tiffin top' for views of the town.Sights nearby - Satal and Bhimtal are within easy reach and worth a visit.Fishing - The hotel can help organise morning fishing trips.Sailing - Take a boat out on Nainital Lake.
Soulitude in the Himalayas 10 rooms from $104Nainital,, Nainital
With 180° Himalayan views and plenty of pine panelling there is something 'ski-lodge' about Soulitude - especially under a blanket of snow! Rooms include wood burners, living areas, stunning vistas and are decorated in pop colours. There is a small a la carte menu. A relaxing hill station retreat.Back to Nature - Boasting incredible views of the Nainital valley and plenty of great walksTotal relaxation - The clue is in the name: this property is nourishment for the soulSights nearby - Sakley's Mountain Cafe in Nainital is a must visit. Indulge your sweet tooth!Sailing - Take a boat out on Nainital or Bhimtal Lake
Soulitude by the Riverside 7 rooms from $104Nainital,, Nainital
A simply charming and very zen mountain escape. The architecture applauds the surrounding beauty with large windows whilst rooms embrace traditional decors. Bathrooms feature natural woods and stone. Meals are served in the Dhaba restaurant and many of the ingredients come from the property's farm.Back to Nature - The sound of bird call and the gushing river fills the air. Verdant forest surrounds you.Total relaxation - The perfect escape from the freneticism of the modern worldLocal markets - The market town of Nainital is worth a visit - stop at Sakley's Mountain cafe for lunchGreat walks - Through pine forests, along the river or to Chanfi village
Corbett Hideaway 52 rooms from $117Ramnagar, Nainital
Luxurious, spacious rooms are set amidst gardens, a pool and waterfalls. Four restaurants to choose from. Close to Jim Corbett National Park a range of nature filled activities are at your fingertips. Whether it is the great outdoors or a relaxed break, The Corbett Hideaway is the perfect place.Back to Nature - On the outskirts of Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve.Hideaway - In the name!Secluded setting - For escaping.Romantic - Good for couples.
The Manu Maharani Hotel 67 rooms from $117Nainital
An inviting and refined hotel with views over the Naini valley. Steeped in nature yet with all modern conveniences, the hotel features a spa, gym, kids' area and three dining options. Rooms are well-appointed and tasteful, while suites offer a taste of more opulent living.Views - Panoramic views of the Naini lakeKids Club - Babysitting/childcareLocal markets - Good for local colour.Hideaway - Tranquil and intimate.
Aahana The Corbett Wilderness from $130Nainital District
This eco-friendly haven rests amidst the forest with plenty opportunities to see India's vast range of animals. Both the detached villas and suites boast all the mod-cons of a 5 star resort, with the charm of an intimate getaway. Outdoor lovers, city dwellers and children will all find peace in hereBirdwatching - Along with documentaries for the true bird lovers.Swimming Pool - Outdoor pool with built in jacuzziViews - Surrounded by 11 acres of natureBack to Nature - Immerse yourself in nature.
Namah 50 rooms from $130Nainital District
This spa and fitness resort in the heart of Jim Corbett goes above and beyond for business facilities. Bedrooms are modern, light and spacious. The multi-cuisine restaurant is highly recommended, as are the activities and the proximity to the famous national park. Come to combine work with pleasure.Great walks - Walk along the Kosi River or to the multiple temples dotted around the region.Birdwatching - A wide range to be seen by the keen bird watcher.Back to Nature - Nature all around.Remote - Off the beaten track.
Jilling Terraces 2 rooms from $110Nainital
A unique retreat to experience secluded mountain living. Room design inspired by the flora of the mountains, with harmoniously coordinated furnishings and whitewashed stone walls. Peaceful and homely shared and private spaces create a sense of community and tranquillity.Great walks - Jilling Terraces organises its own hiking trail itinieraries which are guided by local conservationists and experts.Forest - Set in a clearing of a 100 acre forestBack to NatureGlamping
Solitude by the Riverside 7 rooms from $190Chanfi,, Nainital
Located along the banks of the Kalsa River, within easy reach of Nainital, this property offers rustic luxury accommodation in the Himalayan foothills. Seven bedrooms decorated with traditional accents are dotted around a working organic farm, amidst waterfalls and flowing streams. A true escape.Back to Nature - Surrounded by waterfalls and the rolling Himalayan foothillsKayaking - Bhimtal lake is ideal for boat trips and kayakingGreat walks - Enjoy fantastic walks right from your front doorSights nearby - Nainital town is just a short drive away