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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 from which to choose. 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 8 must-visit Meghalaya tourist places for nature lovers for some ideas (many of them can be day trips from Shillong).
Tribal: Ri Kynjai
If nature is your thing, you'll love Ri Kynjai. Meaning "serenity by the lake" in the local Khasi language, this resort is spread over 45 acres of lush land bordering 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 based on the design of Khasi thatched huts. Continuing with the tribal theme, the resort has a textiles emporium featuring Northeast handicrafts, and hosts folk music and dance in the evenings. Guests can also get a traditional Khasi massage and herbal treatments from the resort's spa. Room rates start from around 7,000 rupees a night, plus tax. Breakfast is included. Various packages are also offered, including tours.
Regal: Royal Heritage Tripura Castle
If you'd prefer 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 was used as a summer retreat of the Maharajas of the Manikya dynasty of Tripura. In 2003, it opened 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 popular, atmospheric restaurant is 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 sits on a hilltop a short distance from town and is best suited to those who have their own transport. Accommodations are actually in the annex, and there are only 10 rooms. Rates start from 5,500 rupees per night, including breakfast. Tax is extra.
Colonial: Aerodene Cottage
This rambling bungalow, built in 1950, has been invitingly restored and converted into a boutique guesthouse. It combines modern amenities with heritage features such as wood panels and bamboo plastered walls, decorated in Colonial-style. What makes Aerodene Cottage a truly special place is that it has the perfect cottage garden, with private areas for reading and recreation. Yoga and meditation programs and Ayurvedic treatments are also offered. If you're looking for a comfortable homely stay, this is your place. Rates start from around 4,000 rupees per night for a double, including breakfast.
Cultural: The Habitat Shillong
The Habitat is the premium guesthouse 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 gain a unique insight into the Northeast region and its culture. Facilities include a travel desk that arranges tours to villages and other attractions, library, and souvenir shop stocking beautiful locally-made products. The guesthouse is centrally located in Laitumkhrah, conveniently close to trendy Cafe Shillong, as well as other shops and restaurants. There are 11 stylish suites and rooms, including connecting rooms for families, decorated with antique furniture and South Asian art. Rates start from about 4,000 rupees per night, plus tax. Do note that unmarried couples are not allowed.
Contemporary: The Pear Tree
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 a 10 minute walk from the main road and two kilometers from Police Bazaar. The accommodations are modern and airy, and the personalized hospitality is outstanding. Expect to pay 3,850 to 4,400 rupees for a double, plus tax. Check booking engines for cheaper deals. Breakfast is complimentary.