Where to Stay in India: Hostels & Hotels to Try On Your First Trip

India is such a large country that it can be overwhelming to plan your first visit. Many people who have traveled to this subcontinent spend at least 1 to 3 months just touring as much as they can. If you’re coming for the first time, here’s a list of where to stay in India that my friends and I have tried for you to help you decide.

New Delhi

#1 The Madpackers Hostel

Where: S-39A, Third Floor, Panchsheel Park, 110017 New Delhi, India

Price per night: PhP 500-600 for a mixed dorm room

Breakfast? Yes. Basic toast, jam, fruits, and tea.

Restaurants nearby? None

Budget travelers and backpackers would love the atmosphere that The Madpackers has to offer. About a 30-minute ride from the airport, the 2-storey hostel is located in a quiet residential neighborhood composed of the essentials such as the common areas, dorm rooms (mixed or all-women bunk beds), a private bedroom, shared bathrooms, and a rooftop terrace. It’s one of the most decent (and clean) spaces you can get in town. Everything about it is insanely packed with energy from the staff to the hostel guests, which is why it’s easy to say that we all got along really well on our first day. Whether it’s increasing your cultural knowledge with some Bollywood movie nights at the living room space, guided walking tours in case you have nothing to do, daily breakfast (with oh so relaxing chai tea), and even food delivery assistance for those late night cravings, this hostel has it all. Personally, I was fortunate enough to have my first hostel experience at the Madpackers, and it surely did not disappoint. So much so that I had left my ‘mark’ on their freedom wall – a little space where anyone from across the globe can write whatever they want.

Another option: Zostel Delhi

#2 The Prime Balaji Deluxe

Image from Booking.com

Where: 8574, Arakashan Road, Behind Shiela Cinema, Paharganj, Paharganj, 110055 New Delhi, India

Price per night: PhP 2,500-3,000 per night (optional airport pick-up)

Breakfast? Yes, buffet style.

Restaurants nearby? Yes!

Prime Balaji Deluxe is located closer to the city center and a couple of minutes walk from the metro. It’s a boutique type hotel with rooms that are pretty much spacious and includes a sufficient amount of amenities with snacks to welcome. Of course, one of the things I enjoyed was their breakfast buffet, which was somewhat a ‘new’ experience after having stayed at a hostel. It was definitely an upgrade if you ask me!

Agra

#3 Aman Homestay

Where: P-18, MIG Colony, Shilpgram Road, Taj Nagri Phase 1 Before Shilpgram Parking, 282002 Agra, India

Price per night: PhP 2,300-2,500 for the basic double room (1 queen size and 1 twin bed)

Breakfast? Optional home cooked meals.

Restaurants nearby? A Few

Aman Homestay brings that home-away-from-home feeling. A popular choice for tourists as it is close to Taj Mahal, the family-owned hotel is run by its namesake Aman, a 20-something student who started the business from a tiny apartment to a now 3-storey building. He handles the bookings, his mom regularly oversees the meal preparation, while his sister welcomes guests and does all around work. A lot of the spaces here is devoted to socializing as well. There’s an outdoor swing with a few tables and chairs next to it, and a rooftop terrace perfect for chilling and late night conversations, perfect for hanging out.

Jaipur

#4 Umaid Bawan – Heritage Style Hotel

Where: D1-2A Behari Marg Via Bank Road Bani Park, Bani Park, 302016 Jaipur, India

Price per night: PhP 3,500-4,000 a night

Breakfast? Yes, buffet style.

Restaurants nearby? Yes. In fact, we ate at Carrots and Cabbages that’s a short walk away from the hotel.

Probably one of the most beautifully-designed hotels listed in this trip, Umaid Bawan Heritage Hotel brings the quintessential magical India to life. Our rooms were large for a group of three that also comes with an equally large bathroom too. My only regret here is not having booked longer to fully enjoy the hotel’s facilities (we stayed in Jaipur for one night and proceeded to the next destination right after). Hopefully, our photos will be enough to last an unforgettable memory.

Another option: Umaid Mahal Heritage Style Hotel

Shillong, Meghalaya

#5 Hotel Alpine Continental

Where: Police Bazar, Thana Road European Ward, 793001 Shillong, India

Price per night: PhP 3,000-3,500 per night

Breakfast? Yes, buffet style.

Restaurants nearby? Yes. We dined at Cloud 9 Rooftop Lounge, a short walk from the hotel.

This wasn’t on our original itinerary, but after a few mishaps on our trip to Shillong, we had no choice but to book the night here. Not to say that it was a bad experience, however, our stay here proved otherwise. It’s comfy, affordable, and just cozy enough to get by the cold weather.

Guwahati

#6 Hotel Gateway Grandeur

Where: G.S. Road. Christian Basti, 781005 Guwahati, India

Price per night: PhP 3,800-5,000 per night

Breakfast? Yes, buffet style.

Restaurants nearby? Yes!

The groom shouldered this stay for us and we’re very much thankful for it! It’s centrally located in G.S. Road where a lot of restaurants, shops, and mini malls are found nearby.  Based on observation, the majority of guests were businessmen, which perhaps makes the hotel great for short business trips. The staff’s service was commendable, even assisting us with our sarees as we didn’t know how to wear them.

Bonus!

Bloomrooms at New Delhi Railway Station

Where: 8591, Arakashan Road, Opp Railway Station, Paharganj, 110055 New Delhi, India

Price per night: PhP 1,500-3,000 a night

Breakfast? Optional

Restaurants nearby? Yes!

I wasn’t able to actually stay here as I went as far as having reserved a night before my departure back to Manila. I decided to spend my last day at a friend’s house to cut down cost, and so ended up canceling my reservation. You can tell from the photos why I had chosen this space. Its colors are bright and welcoming, while interiors remain somewhat simple to go with its minimalist vibe. The location is quite convenient (right beside The Prime Balaji Deluxe), and Tripadvisor reviewers have given their thumbs up too. Looks like a place to book if you ask me!


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Images are from booking.com and Tripadvisor