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The former summer capital of British India, due to its temperate climates during the punishing Indian summer, Shimla still displays the impressive architecture remaining from this period in its history. Our pick of the best places to stay in Shimla are all overflowing with colonial touches and provide a perfect spot to relax, whilst being within easy reach of town.
The capital of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla is located along a 12km ridge, with sweeping views of the valley and forests below. The centre of town, The Mall, a pedestrian area made up of antique, clothing and book shops, leads on to one of Shimla’s most famous sights: Christ Church.
A half hour ascent, Jakhu Temple, dedicated to the monkey god Hanuman (beware of monkeys along the way) is well worth a visit.
The scenic train journey from Shimla to Kalka is an iconic ride. Get some delicious Indian snacks on the train and have a wander round Kalka’s verdant Pinjore Gardens.
Attracting lovers of nature and the great outdoors, Shimla has walking trails for all abilities and many reputable tour groups for those who wish to be guided.
Literary fans should pick up a copy of Kipling’s classic ‘Kim’ as much of the action takes place in and around town.
Our pick of the best places to stay in Shimla ooze luxury and history and whilst none are for those on a budget, you won't come away disappointed!
For a historic stay
- The former private residence of the Hon'ble Raja Charanjit Singh, Chapslee is an experience itself. Rooms are packed with more antiques than most museums and with most meals included you are taken care of, from arrival to departure.
- A favourite amongst visiting Brits for over 130 years The Oberoi Cecil provides colonial charm right down to the wood panelled billiards room.
For unrivalled luxury
- Like something from a fairy tale, Wildflower Hall is perched 8000 feet up and enjoys 360 views of Shimla and the surrounding forests. A winter wonderland half the year and summer escape the other it is without doubt the best hotel in town.
Still not sure which to book? From historic to luxurious stays browse through our list of the best places to stay in Shimla to start to plan your trip. Alternatively you can widen the net and check out all our recommendations in Himachal Pradesh, or contact one of our friendly gurus for advice.
Best Hotels in Shimla
The Oberoi Cecil 75 rooms from $156Shimla (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.
Wildflower Hall 85 rooms from $240Shimla (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 $245Shimla (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