The Best Boutique Places to Stay in Varanasi, India

The ancient Ghats of Varanasi dazzle the senses with their holy happenings
The ancient Ghats of Varanasi dazzle the senses with their holy happenings | © Alexander Helin / Alamy Stock Photo
Judy Cogan

Varanasi in northern India is one of the world’s oldest cities, and a spiritual capital drawing thousands of Hindu pilgrims who bathe in the Ganges River’s sacred waters and perform funeral rites on its banks. When you imagine India it’s likely something similar to Varanasi springs to mind – sunrise over the Ganges, the bustling maze-like old town, vibrant markets, mouth-watering street food and incredible sunsets. To soak in all this unique city has to offer, check into one of the best hotels in Varanasi, all bookable on Culture Trip.

1. BrijRama Palace

Hotel, Luxury

A bed faces a seating area looking out over a beach in Varanasi.
Courtesy of BrijRama Palace / Booking.com

Feel like a maharaja or maharani at this grand luxury hotels in Varanasi. BrijRama Palace is luxurious inside and out, with sweeping views of the Ganges and opulent interiors. Rooms are decked out with impressive chandeliers and antique furniture, which nod to the property’s storeyed past. Push the boat out by checking into the turreted Varuna Burj suite, which boasts some of the best panoramas of the waterway winding below. Meanwhile, a candlelit dinner at the hotel’s vegetarian restaurant, Darbhanga, to the tune of live local music, promises to be a feast to remember.

2. Stay Banaras

Boutique Hotel, Hotel

A large bed dressed in white sheets and yellow cushions in a hotel room in Varanasi.
Courtesy of Stay Banaras / Booking.com

The bright white walls and big yellow doors of this independent ‘experiential’ boutique hotel in Varanasi are hard to miss. The vibe is young, modern and authentic. Expect food tours, art workshops, yoga classes and co-working spaces. The property has 12 cosy, yet minimalist rooms, each with 24-hour room service. Kick back in a hammock in the leafy courtyard before enjoying North Indian dishes at the outdoor Behind Yellow Doors Diner, washed down with delicious masala tea.

3. Suryauday Haveli

Hotel

A twin hotel room looks out over the Ganges in Varanasi.
Courtesy of Suryauday Haveli / Booking.com
Up your holiday game by checking into this mansion – one of Varanasi’s best hotels. The eye-catching Suryauday Haveli property sits on Shivala Ghats, close to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, and was built by the Nepalese royal family more than 100 years ago. Modern, bright rooms wrap around a quaint courtyard adorned with plants. The restaurant is run by a maharaj (Hindu cook) who rustles up an array of dishes with influences from across Indian.

4. Shiva Ganges View

Boutique Hotel, Hotel

A bed and couch in a vibrant hotel room in Varanasi.
Courtesy of Shiva Ganges View / Booking.com
It’s not unheard of to visit here expecting some spiritual awakening, and if that’s on your agenda this is one of the best places to stay in Varanasi. Take advantage of Reiki classes, morning rooftop yoga and meditation sessions, and Ayurvedic treatments. The hotel offers panoramic views of the Ganges and all of the rooms have balconies, along with air conditioning and wifi. After a day of spiritualism, tuck into delicious homemade Indian food with omelettes, curries and dals among the spread.

5. Granny's Inn

Boutique Hotel, Hotel

Simple wooden furniture and large bed at Grannys Inn, Varanasi.
Courtesy of Granny's Inn / Booking.com
This is the most authentic and luxurious homestay experience you will get without actually staying with a wealthy relative in India. This gem is defined by its hosts, head honcho grannies Aruna and Asha. The two sisters are always ready to entertain with vibrant and nostalgic stories, while spoiling you with home-cooked treats. There are six peaceful and comfy rooms, and for the price of a budget hotel, you come away feeling nourished in every way.

6. Taj Nadesar Palace

Hotel

The grand exterior of the Taj Nadesar Palace as seen from its pool after sunset.
Courtesy of Taj Nadesar Palace / Booking.com
This palace was built in 1835 and its luxury hotel in Varanasi offers a calming ambience among the city’s chaos. It’s surrounded by soothing gardens filled with mango trees and fragrant jasmine, and daily open-air yoga classes promise to further your relaxed state. Inside the grand property, you’ll find 10 elegant rooms with four-poster beds, marble-clad bathrooms and pool or garden views. In the Jiva Spa local herbs and spices are used during traditional treatments to help you get in the Varanasi frame of mind.

Naintara Gurung contributed additional reporting to this article.

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