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10 Unique Accommodation Experiences In India

10 Unique Accommodation Experiences In India
Sightseeing can be exhausting. A good way to deal with this is to stop treating hotels as a place to crash after a long day of sightseeing, and instead look for unique places such as heritage hotels, home stays and farm stays, thus, making the stay itself an experience. Here are 10 unique accommodation options in India.

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Wildflower Hall, Shimla

Located on the outskirts of touristy Shimla, this hotel combines the Oberoi service with the colonial history and the surrounding nature to provide a unique experience. The hotel used to be the home of Lord Kitchener and is situated on top of a hill amidst a protected forest. You can spend days walking through the various nature trails around the hotel (with or without guides) and take a picnic made by the hotel’s excellent chefs with you.

Wildflower Hall, Chharabra, Shimla – 171 012, Himachal Pradesh, India, +91 177 264 8585

Ark Wellness Retreat | © Aparna Bhat

Ark Wellness Retreat | © Aparna Bhat

Ark Wellness Retreat, Mulshi

This is truly a relaxing weekend retreat from Mumbai. The hotel is a bungalow with a courtyard (and a swimming pool) in the center, allowing fresh air and sunshine to brighten up your life. Ark Wellness Retreat also has a herb garden, there are multiple seating areas where you can plonk yourself for hours, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine and reading a good book. You wont be bothered by your phone since there is limited mobile connectivity. If you would like to paint they will provide you with a canvas, an easel, brushes and paints. They also have a spa to complete the wellness experience. The meals are good, a lot of their ingredients are very fresh, either from their own garden or from the farms nearby. The back porch overlooking a stream, is the perfect spot to unwind and maybe do some yoga.

The Ark Wellness Retreat, S.No. 704/705, A/P Nandgaon, Taluka Mulshi, Dist Pune – 412108, Maharashtra, India, +91 94230 65878

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The surrounding area | © Aparna Bhat

Darbargarh, Poshina

This is a 12th-century Chalukya palace located in a small and underdeveloped village on the border of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Managed primarily by the king Harendrapal Sinh, they offer a personalized experience to their guests. Mr. Sinh himself will literally ‘hang out’ with you and tell you storie. His wife, Kuwarani Kailash Kumari, heads the kitchen and makes sure you are served high-quality, home-cooked meals. Mr. Sinh also organizes trips to his farm, and you can have a picnic there with local delicacies cooked on a wood-fired oven.

Darbargarh, Poshina, Via: Khedbrahma, District Sabarkatha, Poshina, Gujurat 383422, India, +91 94276 09927

Karni fort, Bambora | © Aparna Bhat

Karni fort, Bambora | © Aparna Bhat

Karni, Bambora Fort

This is a new palace that was rebuilt on the location of an ancient palace. They work hard to maintain the Rajasthani tradition of providing the best possible service to the guests, along with the tastiest food. The food here is not cooked as per a menu; fresh meals are prepared as the guest choose.

Karni Fort Bambora, Bambora, Udaipur, Rajasthan 342006, India, +91 98290 23325

MaplePine Farms | © Aparna Bhat

MaplePine Farms | © Aparna Bhat

MaplePine Farm, near Shillong

Located an hour’s drive away from Shillong, this is a farm stay in a valley, with two rivers and several mountains. You can get a spacious and clean room in a log cabin, along with an attached toilet at an affordable rate. The farm is owned and managed by Mr. James Perry, a treasure trove of information about traveling through Meghalaya in a non-touristy fashion.

Around the farm | © Aparna Bhat

Around the farm | © Aparna Bhat

The only way to access the farm is by a jeep since you have to go through a river. James is very honest about this being his home and not a typical hotel where you can make random demands at odd hours. If you inform him with a few hours notice, James or his wife will cook you a nice, homey meal. The farm is also very close to the Mawphlang Sacred Forest, and James will pack you a picnic lunch if you want to trek up there (around 20 minutes) and enjoy the serenity of the mountain peak and the forest. Please note that their toilet does not have hot water, but you can access hot water in the common shower area. This is a sustainable farm that runs on wind and solar energy. For dog lovers, this place is truly a delight, with around four dogs running around and happy to play with you.

MaplePine Farm, Lyngkien Village, Shillong-Mawsynram Road, India, +91 98650 41205

'Don't stop petting me!' | © Aparna Bhat

‘Don’t stop petting me!’ | © Aparna Bhat

Our room at Acres Wild | © Aparna Bhat

Room at Acres Wild | © Aparna Bhat

Acres Wild, Coonoor

Located near Coonoor in Karnataka, this is an organic cheese-making farm and homestay. Every meal here is accompanied with an exotic cheese and interesting conversations with the hosts Mansoor and Tina and the other guests. The guests are welcome to help out in the kitchen and can even do a cheese-making course. The rooms are built far away from each other, thus, allowing privacy and peace. It is quite common for elephants to pass so you might be lucky enough to see one.

Acres Wild, 571, Upper Meanjee Estate, Kannimariamman Kovil Street, Coonoor, Tamil Nadu 643101, India, +91 94432 32621

Another room at Acres Wild, far far away | © Aparna Bhat

Another room at Acres Wild, far far away | © Aparna Bhat

The 'Garden of Positivity' at Park Guest House | © Aparna Bhat

The ‘Garden of Positivity’ at Park Guest House | © Aparna Bhat

Park Guest House, Pondicherry

Guesthouse
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This is a guest house of the Aurobindo Ashram, built to provide affordable and high-quality accommodation to people keen on visiting the Ashram. You can walk out of your room at Park Guest House and hear the the sea while walking around their garden and reading the inspirational quotes around. One quote is ‘Don’t forget that the wind is waiting to play with your open hair and the grass is waiting to feel your bare feet.’ This quote captures the essence of the Park Guest House and Pondicherry in general. The Guest House also has a café, which makes the most delicious omelettes. Booking tends to be a little difficult since the Ashram has a number of visitors throughout the year.
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Jaipur House, Mount Abu

This palace used to be the winter residence of the royal family of Jaipur (hence the name). Over the years, it fell into disrepair, and some say that it was referred to as a ‘bhoot bangla’ due to the ruinous state it was in. It has now been refurbished into a heritage hotel that allows you to enjoy scenic views of Mount Abu. Once again, Rajasthani-style service is provided. If you stay in the highest room in this palace, you can enjoy a 360 degree view of Mount Abu, even from the bath tub. Don’t forget to climb up to the little watch tower above the terrace where you can serenely sit and observe the winter mist on the city below.

Jaipur House, Sunset Road, Near Nakki Lake, Mount Abu 307501, Rajasthan, India, +91 99287 98383

Hanchina Mane Home Stay, near Gokarna

Most of the hotels in Gokarna don’t take reservations in advance. If you do not want to risk not having a place to stay when you show up, this homestay in a village around 8-9 kilometers from the main beaches is worth considering. Literally meaning ‘house with a tiled roof,’ Hanchina Mane is the host family’s farm and house, in which you can rent a room and enjoy their hospitality. The hosts Mr. Rajiv Gaonkar and his wife go out of the way to make you comfortable. It is also worth walking around their farm and observing the plants that they have cultivated.

Hanchina Mane Home Stay, Hiregutti Village, Kumta Taluk, Uttarkannada District, Karnataka 58133, India, +91 99004 49626

Mody Villa, Guhagar

Resort, Villa, Hotel
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Located on the Konkan coast in Maharashtra, this is a bungalowon the beach that lets out rooms. The coolest part about this experience is that after walking through around 300 meters of farm land, you directly step on to the beach. You can sit and enjoy the sounds of only the sea and also play or swim in the clear water. They have an elevated garden at the end of their farm, where you can sit in the shade throughout the day and read a book or contemplate life. The owners of the bungalow have hired a family to live here, cook delicious Konkani food and take care of the guests. Guhagar is cute little town where families sit outside their homes in the evening to chat about their day.
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