We all have different ways of travelling, with each way reflecting a specific outlook. You could be a wanderer, a backpacker or a traveller who cannot be put into a specific category. Nonetheless, every travelling endeavour entails an experience and where you stay is one of the elements which adds to what you feel and experience while you travel.
After all, that is where you start interacting with people, absorb most of the surroundings and immerse into your own self.
If you’re someone who is always looking for experiences in the places you visit and stay, then here are some of the beautiful and lesser-known boutique stays in India, which you must know about:
1. Bungalow 598, Goa
An eco-friendly boutique resort located in Goa, Bungalow 598 is nothing less than an experience filled with simplicity, calm, quiet and comfort. It is a perfect place to unwind yourself while you enjoy the green lush surroundings around you and immerse yourself into everything that Goa has to offer.
A yellow coloured Portuguese house showcasing the rich culture and an element of curiosity, this one would definitely catch your eye.
It offers you an experiential living with common spaces like a library and a kitchen. You can choose to cook your own meals using the therapeutic herbs, plants, fruits and vegetables which are grown on the Bungalow’s very own garden.
Apart from growing their own herbs, the resort also prospers in maintaining a green environment wherein each guest is provided with a locally made stainless steel bottle promoting refilling and a cotton bag to avoid the use of plastic when in and around Goa. Moreover, they provide complimentary bicycles to all their guests, and during the monsoon season, they sustain on rainwater harvesting.
They also source their products from small communities from within the country, promoting local artisans and creation.
Their rooms are minimal, chic and give a Portuguese heritage feel. It is a perfect place for you to look at an alternative way of living, where you explore an eco-friendly lifestyle without compromising on your comfort. You can read more about them here.
2. 28 Kothi, Jaipur
A boutique guest house nestled in the centre of Jaipur, 28 Kothi is nothing less than a delight to experience the colours and culture of the city.
It showcases a vibrant set up through its rooms, in-house cafe, common areas, library, soothing corners and garden.
28 Kothi offers five rooms – Moon Stone, Sapphire, Topaz, Spinel and Peridot. Each room revolves around a theme which is evident through the setup, design and its interiors.
Breakfast is included in the price of each room, and they offer a Farm Fresh Vegetable Menu, made from herbs from their garden.
You can also pre-book a Yoga session or a Kothi Spa for a moment of relaxation.
To have a look at their rooms and know more about the property, you can visit their website.
3. Dostat Daaram, Manali
Far away from the hustle of the touristy streets of Manali, you will stumble upon this art residency and homestay, which will offer you calm and quiet with its breathtaking views.
The story behind Dostat Daaram makes it a beautiful place you must visit where you can meet the owner, while you spend some time with yourself in the beautiful mountains. It was started by Afrah, a woman who chose to take the leap of faith and switched from her fast-paced life in Mumbai to this beautiful, rustic residence.
The property also runs a monthly initiative called ‘For Each Other’ where free stay for a couple of nights is provided to anyone who is going through a personal problem or struggling with life.
The property offers five rooms, which allows you to be on your own with a limited number of people, which makes it a perfect place to be if you’re looking for some alone time.
They serve home-cooked food and the place is filled with abstract artworks on the walls.
So, next time you’re in Manali, make sure you stay at Dostat Daaram for an enriching experience where you will step into a slow, calm and experiential living. You can follow them on Instagram and know more about the property.
4. Abode, Mumbai
If you’ve been to Bombay or wanted to travel there, you know Colaba has to be in your list. Which is why, we found you a luxurious Boutique Hotel in the heart of Old Bombay, giving you that old world charm while keeping in pace with the fast life of Bombay – Abode Bombay.
It was Mumbai’s first boutique hotel built on a heritage property which has been there since 1910 and it offers 20 rooms with a vintage feel and artistic and contemporary styling. Each room comes with complimentary breakfast, wifi and access to in-house elements like a curated shop, cafe and peaceful treatment room.
Abode has been designed as a reflection of the city of dreams, which can be seen in each of its element and every small detail.
We picked Abode not only because it is a perfect way to time travel into the city of Bombay but also because the hotel facilitates various initiatives like their car service is women-driven wherein most of them are single mothers and sole earners, most of the products found in the shop are locally sourced through NGOs and they use local and seasonal products in their cafe.
Abode is a beautiful place to be in and you can have a look at their rooms here.
5. Kayal Island Retreat, Kochi
Another hidden gem is Kayal Island Retreat, located in God’s own country – Kerala. The concept of this place revolves around a simple, harmonious living based on mutual existence.
It is located on the backwaters of Kerala, at the hidden Island of India’s largest lagoon – Lake Vembanad. The cottages on the property have been built using reclaimed and recycled material, making it a sustainable property. Moreover, the food produce needed is sourced from the local farmers, ensuring that the locals of the island are involved and benefit out of the retreat.
If you’re someone who is always on the look to absorb the local culture, either as a silent observer or an active participant, then you would find it here as you can immerse yourself in the local traditions and life through their interactive theatre and art shows.
When at Kayal, you would get to experience so much beyond the beautiful rooms – a garden, a water body alongside, local food and reading spaces.
So next time you’re in Kerala, make sure you put this on your list. You can have a look at their rooms and rates here.
6. Scarlette, New Delhi
We found this hidden gem called Scarlette, which is located in the capital of our country, in the famous South Delhi. If you’re looking for some alone time with an exquisite experience in the fast capital, then this is your place to be.
It was started by Pauline and Elisabeth from France who share their love for India and travelling and with Scarlette, they wanted to create a space which was warm and welcomed all. You can read their story in detail here.
The property features four rooms, each of which is specially designed with the touch of Indian heritage and culture with some French touch which can be seen in the furniture, placement, and other elements of the space. You can see all their rooms and what all it entails here.
The entire property is very charming and perfect for those who are looking at a space which is more exclusive with fewer people around. They also provide you with various facilities like transportation, food, laundry, money exchange, therapy etc. to ensure you have a smooth stay.
7. Norbulingka, Dharamsala
Located in Mcleodganj, Norbulingka offers stays in boutique houses nestled into the mountains. Mcleodganj is a resettlement colony for people from Tibet and is also popular for the very famous Dalai Lama Temple.
Norbulingka is an institute which aims to continue and promote Tibetan heritage, art and culture. It offers stays in the form of three houses – Chenor, Norling and Serkong House, wherein each of them shed a unique story through the various elements in the room.
If you are a curious traveller who wants to delve into the rich Tibetan culture, then you should stay in the properties offered by Norbulingka as it would provide you with an authentic Tibetan experience.
The property is a perfect reflection of the culture through its wall art, flooring, room set up and the feel of the entire property.
You also get to taste authentic Tibetan cuisine at their in-house restaurant. The property also houses a curated shop where you can buy authentic cultural products like paintings and clothes among other things.
You can also sign up for various workshops and experiences in the Norbulingka Institute where you can learn more about the Tibetan traditions and cultural realms, or learn Tibetan paintings and wood carvings.