5 Shillong Hotels with a Difference

From Tribal to Regal: Where to Stay in Shillong

If you're heading to Shillong, a British hill station and capital of Meghalaya in India's Northeast region, there are some surprisingly delightful accommodations to choose from. These six Shillong hotels with a difference, ranging from tribal to regal, cater to all budgets.

Wondering what to see and do around Shillong? Check out these 6 Must-Visit Meghalaya Tourist Places for some ideas (many of them can be done as day trips from Shillong).

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    If nature is your thing, you'll find Ri Kynjai a very appealing option. Meaning "land of serene environs" in the local Khasi language, this hotel is a resort spread over 45 acres of lush land by Umiam Lake. It's  about 20 kilometers before Shillong, on the way from Guwahati. The approach will take you through pine trees, paddy fields, small organic tea gardens, and vegetable gardens. Architecture at the resort is tribal inspired, and built on the design of Khasi thatch huts. There's a textiles emporium featuring Northeast handicrafts at the resort, and folk music and dance in the evenings. Guests can also get a traditional Khasi massage and herbal treatments from the spa. Room rates start from around 6,000 rupees a night, plus tax. Breakfast is included. A range of packages are also offered, including tours.

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    If you fancy a regal stay in Shillong, head to Royal Heritage Tripura Castle. It was built in the early 1920s by Maharaja Bir Bikram, who came to Shillong for his military training and fell in love with the place. The Castle, used as a summer retreat of the Maharajas of the Manikya dynasty of Tripura, was opened in 2003 as the first heritage hotel in India's Northeast region. The Castle's interior is filled with a collection of antiques and artwork, paintings, and photographs of the royal family. Its ambient restaurant is popular and open to visitors. There's also an underground bomb shelter and tunnel, opening out into the rose gardens, dating back to World War II. The Castle has a hilltop location a short distance from town and is best suited to those who have their own transport. Accommodations are actually located in the annex, and there are only 10 rooms. Rates start from 4,500 rupees per night, including breakfast. Tax is extra.

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    ••• Aerodene Cottage

    A inviting restored 60 year old home built in tradition Assam style, Aerodene Cottage has wood panels and bamboo plastered walls. It's operated as a boutique guest house that combines heritage with modern amenities. What makes it a really special place to stay is that it has the perfect cottage garden, with plenty of private areas for reading and recreation. Another highlight is the Wellness Center, with yoga and meditation programs, as well as a day spa for Ayurvedic treatments.  If you're looking for homely experience, this is your place! Rates start from 3,800 rupees per night, excluding tax but including breakfast.

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    The Habitat is the luxury guest house of the Asian Confluence Center, which works to strengthen the connection between India and South East Asia. Its headquarters in Shillong aims to bring about greater understanding of India's Northeast region. Guests are welcome to attend and participate in the Center's seminars and activities. Thus, by staying at The Habitat, you'll be able to get a unique insight into the Northeast region and its culture. Facilities include travel desk that arranges tours to villages and other attractions, library, and souvenir shop stocking beautiful locally made products. The guest house is located in Laitumkhrah, conveniently close to trendy Cafe Shillong, as well as other shops and restaurants. There are 11 stylish suites and rooms, decorated with antique furniture and South Asian art. Rates start from 3,200 rupees per night, plus tax. Breakfast is included.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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    This peaceful new bed and breakfast gets its name from the huge pear tree on the property. It's an intimate and cozy place with only three rooms, tucked away in the tranquil residential area of Lachumiere (which was formerly part of European Shillong) about 10 minutes walk from the main road and 2 kilometers from Police Bazaar. The accommodations are modern and airy, and the personalized hospitality is outstanding. Expect to pay 3,500-4,000 rupees for a double, plus tax. Breakfast is complimentary.