1) Honeymoon Inn, Manali
If you are in Manali, there is no better hotel to stay in this category. Offering splendid views of the Himalayas, you might end up spending more time near the windows than you thought. The best time to stay here would in the winter when it’s snowing and there is a white carpet blanketing all. For meals, the restaurant’s non veg is a delight, the fruit salad even better.
Couples I know have insisted that this is among the best romantic hotels they have ever been to, and girls - do know that I shall accompany you willingly .. err to study the local terrain for my… erm studies.
2) Santana Beach Resort, North Goa
Situated close to Candolim Main Road, Santana is one of the most favourably reviewed hotels in North Goa. As soon as you enter the gates, you cannot help but fall for the greenery that envelops this property. The two swimming pools are flanked by coconut palms and beautiful gardens. This family-run hotel has 33 air-conditioned apartments and even the basic rooms are very spacious and equipped with their own balconies. Walk out of the hotel and lo and presto, the beach is right at your feet. One of these evenings you must definitely try the food at the beach shack restaurant – Calmari (The Goan dishes would be our recommendation). The hotel has its own poolside restaurant – Olegario’s and the prawn dishes are brilliant.
3) Beleza by the Beach Resort, South Goa
The world of Beleza is full of papaya, coconut, banana and frangipani trees, manicured hedges and a small pathway that goes from inside the resort right up to the popular Betalbetim and Colva beaches. The rooms are in the form of villas but they do let out individual rooms too. Big and roomy, all the rooms have a sit-out where you can enjoy your morning tea, although I would settle for a run on the beach. They have a spa, a gym and a poolside bar. For food, there is the all-day restaurant – Tentacao (pronounced as Teta-saw, and means ‘Temptation’ in English) and offers great sea food.
South Goa is not as vibrant or pulsating as the North, but if it’s a quiet, calming holiday you are looking for, this is a place you will love.
4) Bamboo Lagoon Resort, Alleppey
If you were asked what sprung to your mind first when you think of Kerala, there is a huge chance that you’ll splutter ‘backwaters’ even before either of us bats our eyelids. I shall then proceed to shake my head condescendingly at you, for Kerala stands for far more beautiful things. But we shall proceed to forgive you for you are a tourist and hence know only of things best marketed. And you shall allow me to be smug for I am a Mallu and therefore, local. Right, back to backwaters and Alleppey.
The Bamboo Lagoon Resort is a cosy little gem of a homestay on one of the islands off the Alleppey mainland. Situated right on the Punnamda backwaters, all the cottages are river facing and are remarkably neat. There are a number of activities that the resort provides including ayurvedic treatments, houseboat cruises and paddy field tours.
Rent a cottage in this resort, spend your days wandering about Alleppey or just hire a car and explore Kerala for what its worth. Even if you are unlucky enough to miss all the waterfalls and the monsoons; the palm trees, the hills, the breeze, the small rivulets and canals will always stay by your side. If you are daring, a true traveler or someone who is not a stickler for hygiene, stop by at one of the roadside shacks near the river and have a fish thaali. It is awesome.
5) The Sheraton, Udaipur
Need we give this chain of hotels an introduction? The Udaipur Sheraton is located on the banks of the Fateh Sagar Lake. Exuding opulence in every regard, it is equipped with a spa, a fitness center, a beautiful outdoor swimming pool, club lounge, business center and rooms fit enough to house a king. It is also good to show off, ye know, to say, “I stayed at the Sheraton!”
6) Lha Ri Sa Resort, Leh
Ladakh does not have too many luxurious or opulent hotels to boast of, but the Lha Ri Sa Resort in Leh is definitely among the best. Look out of the room window and the snowy Himalayan peaks stand out like a background painting. In the foreground are poplar trees growing all around the resort. The architecture is quintessentially Ladakhi and there is a charm about the red mats and the gold and blue paintings that’ll endear you to it. For people who are strange enough to want to stay connected to the world even in Ladakh, it’s one of the few hotels in the region that has wi-fi connection.
7) The SilverOaks Resort, Coorg
Coorg is one of Karnataka’s prettiest hill stations and an ideal weekend getaway. It has a number of good resorts but most of the luxury ones are quite expensive. And this is where the SilverOak Resort creates a difference. They say that people from the hills are soft spoken and warm, and the staff at this resort will reaffirm that belief.
Located in a beautiful spot in the countryside, the resort is in the form of cottages (there’s a small lake at the back). The rooms are large, they are colourful and they all have a fireplace. I louu the swimming pool most though, it’s nestled among trees, hammocks and pool chairs sitting prettily on the sides.
The resort offers a number of activities on request – cricket, football, badminton, camp fires, ayurvedic massages, jungle treks, night treks, karaoke nights, boating etc.
8) Serenity Resort, Corbett National Park
You must fall for a place when it is present inside a mango orchard, no? Which in turn is surrounded by dense forests, hills and a river. Serenity is a fantastic resort promoting sustainable eco-friendly tourism. They have large rooms, a beautiful pool and several activities and games. Still it is the architecture and nature in the resort that will draw out the superlatives.
9) Verandah in the Forest, Matheran
Research, of the googling kind, insists that people in Maharashtra search more for Matheran than even Goa. And well, those of you who did, I hope you then visited this pretty hill station that has banned all motor vehicles inside. If you haven’t, it might be well worth the experience to stay at the colonial-style ‘Verandah in the Forest’ (belonging to the Neemrana Chain). Tucked away in the green slopes of the Sahyadri ranges, the old-world charm of the hotel is enhanced by the vintage interiors and antique furniture which includes four-poster beds, chaise lounges and writing desks. The rooms are large, high-ceilinged and outside, the forest lurks nearby.
10) Suhim Portico, Gangtok
Of the entire list we have shared, no hotel has received as many rave reviews about its food as the Suhim Portico. Newly built, it is one of the few hotels in Gangtok that belong to the luxury category, and is equipped with a gym and a boutique. Don’t spend too much time inside these entertainment zones though, instead look out of the window – the world’s second highest peak, Mount Kanchenjunga, will readily stare back at you.
Well, that’s all for today folks. We’ll be back with more lists of good hotels soon. Do let us know if you have any queries regarding a destination and the hotels there, in the comments section. We would also love it if you could recommend some hotels you have been too, and really liked. Till then, cheers. Am off for a game of table tennis. Au revoir!
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