The 9 Best Hotels to Book in India in 2018

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India is a bucket-list destination for many travelers and given its size and the sheer number of places worth visiting, you'll need multiple trips to truly experience everything the country has to offer. Whether you’re visiting major cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai, hitting Goa’s beaches, or soaking in the Rajput grandeur in Rajasthan, there’s a range of accommodation options to choose from. Stay in a restored historic palace or a contemporary design hotel or a millennial-friendly hostel. To help you out, we've compiled a list of the best stays in India; from restored palaces and contemporary design hotels to millennial-friendly hostels and splurge-worthy suites, these are the properties to check out now.

01 of 09

Best Overall: Umaid Bhawan Palace

Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur
 TripAdvisor

Regularly voted one of India’s best hotels by TripAdvisor reviewers and travel journalists the world over, Umaid Bhawan Palace is one of the country's most unique hotels. That's because the property is equal parts museum, royal family residence, and luxury hotel. Run by the venerable Taj Hotels group, the Umaid Bhawan Palace — perched atop Chittar Hill, the highest hilltop in Jodhpur — enjoys unrivaled views of the historic Blue City and the imposing Mehrangarh Fort.

The stately, golden sandstone palace is built in traditional Rajput-style architecture and topped off with a neo-Renaissance 32-meter-high cupola. The hotel’s 347 rooms and suites are done up in soothing colors and sport Art Deco motifs, period furniture, and marble bathrooms. For true opulence, book the Maharaja Suite adorned with Stefan Norblin murals and plush Ruhlman sofas, or the Maharani Suite, originally designed for Jodhpur’s Maharani Badan Kanwan, decked out with Italian pink marble bathtub, Jacuzzi, and steam room. The hotel’s Risala restaurant serves Indian fusion and international cuisines, while the Trophy Bar is perfect for an evening cigar and cocktail. 

02 of 09

Best Budget: Ginger Andheri East

Ginger Andheri East, Mumbai
 TripAdvisor

Ginger is India’s leading chain of budget hotels with 45 properties across 30 of the country's cities. In otherwise pricey Mumbai, Ginger Andheri East is a clean, safe, and comfortable budget option located in a commercial area. It’s conveniently located close to the international airport (just 2 miles away) and Andheri railway station on the suburban railway network. You can also easily access the corporate hubs of Andheri MIDC and Bandra Kurla Complex, as well as the Mumbai Exhibition Centre, the city’s biggest trade exhibition venue.

The hotel offers 142 smartly furnished, well-appointed rooms either with twin or queen beds. Beds are ergonomically designed and rooms are kitted out with a work desk, TV with HD channels, tea and coffee making facilities, and of course, free Wi-Fi. If you choose to dine in, the Square Meal restaurant is open till late and has a well-priced menu of Indian and Chinese dishes. The hotel also has conference facilities and a gym. The service here is a high point with most travelers noting that the staff is warm, friendly, and helpful. 

03 of 09

Best Boutique: Narendra Bhawan

Narendra Bhawan
TripAdvisor

This fully-refurbished townhouse — belonging to Bikaner's last ruling Maharaja, Narendra Singh — is perhaps the most eclectic design hotel in all of India. Narendra Bhawan’s 82 rooms and suites are thematically categorized, with distinct color palettes from the indigo tones of the India rooms to the English pastels of the Residence rooms. Design touches abound like Bikaner terrazzo floors, Bombay Art Deco motifs, period objets d’art, plush upholstery, and a red baby grand piano presiding over the inner patio. Relax at the rooftop pool overlooking Bikaner’s old town or hit the gym to work off the elaborate Rajasthani meals you'll certainly be treated to. 

What sets Narendra Bhawan apart is the curated experiences it offers like a royal exploration of Bikaner’s 500-year-old history through its many palaces or the merchant exploration trail of the town’s famed red sandstone havelis (mansions) sporting intricate carvings and ornamentation. Culinary experiential offerings include a literary-themed dinner at the Pearls & Chiffon restaurant, a museum dinner in the gold-studded dining room of sister property Laxmi Niwas Palace, and a ‘white night’ lakeside dinner under the stars. 

04 of 09

Best for Families: Taj Fort Aguada

Taj Fort Aguada
 TripAdvisor

Stretching across North Goa’s Sinquerim and Calangute beaches, Taj Fort Aguada’s sprawling 42-acre resort winds over the ramparts of a 16th-century Portuguese-era fort. Its 143 rooms, villas, and cottages either look out over the Arabian Sea or the resort’s landscaped gardens. Rooms are spacious and done up in cool blues and whites, channeling the Portuguese heritage of Old Goa. Standalone Hermitage Villas, modeled along the lines of brightly colored Goan houses with expansive patios and gabled red roofs, are best suited for families. 

Taj Fort Aguada checks all the boxes of an all-inclusive resort with three restaurants offering Goan, North Indian, Italian, and international cuisines, two seaside bars, a swimming pool with a designated children’s pool, a fitness center and spa, and a children’s activity center. The resort is also pet-friendly. For older children, the Taj offers several adventure activities like snorkeling and diving, rappelling up the fort façade, and rope-assisted climbing. The resort is a 90-minute drive from Panaji airport but the hotel offers complimentary transfers at scheduled times. 

Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09

Best for Romance: Taj Lake Palace

Taj Lake Palace
TripAdvisor

Nothing spells romance like a marble palace floating in the middle of picturesque Lake Pichola. At Taj Lake Palace, guests arrive by boat to a welcoming shower of rose petals. The stark, white 16,000-square-meter palace, built as a winter retreat for the royal dynasty of Mewar, is now an 83-room luxury hotel with spectacular views of the pristine lake, and neighboring attractions like the City Palace, Jag Mandir, and the surrounding Aravalli Hills. All rooms and suites are elegantly appointed with traditional Indian décor, flower motifs, wall ornamentation, and antique furnishing. 

When it comes to dining, take your pick between the royal cuisine of Udaipur at Neel Kamal, contemporary European fare at the seasonal rooftop restaurant Bhairo (open from October to March), and Jharokha, the informal, all-day dining, multi-cuisine restaurant. Admire spectacular lakeside sunsets from Amrit Sagar, the hotel’s stylish bar that offers a range of wines, spirits, and cigars. Get pampered at the Jiva Spa, either at the hotel or onboard their unique Spa Boat for a private therapy session while floating on the lake. 

06 of 09

Best for Luxury: The Oberoi Rajvilas

The Oberoi Rajvilas
 TripAdvisor

Spread out in a fort setting amidst landscaped gardens, the 32-acre Oberoi Rajvilas in Jaipur gives you a taste of Rajput royalty coupled with warm Indian hospitality. Its 71 rooms, villas, and tents are laid out in small clusters affording privacy and giving unspoiled views of the surrounding greenery. The Kohinoor Villa features a private enclosure of three buildings, pool, garden, and dining pavilion, all covering 10,577 square meters. The most popular accommodations are the triple-canopied tents, reminiscent of desert caravans and decorated in traditional Rajasthani style with polished wooden dressers, hand-woven rugs, and block-printed fabrics. Bathrooms are equally magnificent, ranging from sunken white Italian marble bathtubs to freestanding, claw-footed tubs overlooking private gardens.

The resort has two restaurants – an all-day, international fine dining space, Surya Mahal, and an Indian specialty restaurant (open from October to April), Raj Mahal. Other facilities include a well-equipped fitness facility, a 21-meter pool, and a spa located in an 18th-century restored haveli, which offers a range of Ayurvedic and Western therapies.

07 of 09

Best for Singles: ITC Grand Chola, Chennai

ITC Grand Chola
 TripAdvisor

One of the largest hotels in India, ITC Grand Chola is spread over 148,000 square meters in the heart of Chennai. Its palatial architecture is a tribute to the Chola Empire and is built in the architectural style of South Indian temples. One of the highlights of the hotel is the WelcomArt Gallery featuring a curated selection of paintings from local artists.

Its 600 rooms, suites, and service apartments are spacious and done up in muted tones with local arts and artifacts showcased throughout. ITC Grand Chola has an entire wing of its second floor dedicated to 31 Eva rooms that are specifically designed to cater to single female travelers. The rooms have enhanced security features like door view cameras, and are serviced by an all-female staff. Room amenities include Forest Essentials facial cleanser and toner, lip-gloss, nail polish remover, safety pins, etc. The hotel features six restaurants, a coffee shop, an elegant bar, and a malt and cigar lounge. Don’t miss the soft, fluffy idlis (steamed cakes made with fermented rice and black lentils) at breakfast at Madras Pavilion.

08 of 09

Best Business: Sofitel Mumbai BKC

Sofitel Mumbai BKC, Mumbai
TripAdvisor 

Strategically located in the corporate hub of Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) and just five miles from Mumbai’s international airport, Sofitel Mumbai BKC is a great choice for the business traveler. The gleaming glass-and-chrome façade sets the tone for its contemporary ambiance, which continues throughout its 302 rooms and suites with hardwood timber flooring, and spacious bathrooms with oversized bathtubs. Stay in a Club Millésime Room for access to the hotel's two-floor lounge with views of Mumbai’s skyline, or upgrade to a Junior Suite and sink into Sofitel’s trademark all-feather MyBed with extra-light down duvet.

The hotel offers four dining options — the all-day Pondicherry Café (which also regularly hosts visiting chefs and international cuisines), vegetarian-friendly Tuskers, North Indian Jyran, and French-style bistro Artisan, which hosts live jazz in the evenings. Le Bar Diamantaire, with its floor-to-ceiling Wine Tower and elevated pods, is perfect for post-work drinks. Other facilities include multiple meeting and conference rooms, an outdoor pool, the state-of-the-art So Fit gym, a salon in collaboration with celebrity hairstylist Savio John Pereira, and the So Spa featuring L’Occitane products.

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09 of 09

Best Hostel: The Madpackers Hostel

The Madpackers Hostel
 TripAdvisor

A friendly, relaxed hostel in a leafy area of South Delhi, The Madpackers Hostel is ideal for the backpacker exploring India’s capital city. It’s located off the Outer Ring Road making it easy to get around the city, especially given that the closest metro station is less than 10 minutes away. Accommodation options range from mixed dorms (one female-only dorm is available) with shared bathrooms to private en-suite rooms. All accommodations are air-conditioned and equipped with a writing table, ironing board and iron, LCD flat-screen TV, and a mini-fridge/bar. Beds are comfortable with clean linen and feather pillows. 

The hostel is self-catering with a full-service kitchen, including a microwave and refrigerator. Other facilities include a garden area, a sun-dappled terrace perfect for rooftop yoga sessions, a bright and airy lounge great for meeting other hostel guests and like-minded travelers, a jacuzzi, and a game room. You can also rent bicycles or cars from their dedicated desk. The reception is open 24 hours and they offer luggage storage facilities, currency exchange, safe deposit box, and free parking.

Our Process

Our writers spent 5 hours researching the most popular hotels in India. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 25 different hotels, read over 50 user reviews (both positive and negative), and stayed in 6 of them themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.