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
Photo of Judy Cogan
13 April 2021

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 these top boutique spots, all bookable on Culture Trip.

BrijRama Palace

Hotel, Luxury
Map View
Courtesy of BrijRama Palace /
Feel like a maharaja or maharani at this grand spot. 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.

Stay Banaras

Boutique Hotel, Hotel
Map View
Courtesy of Stay Banaras /

The bright white walls and big yellow doors of this independent ‘experiential’ boutique hotel 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.

Ganpati Guest House

Map View

There’s a multitude of reasons to stay at the Ganpati Guest House, including the incredible views of the Ganges, kind-spirited staff, the hotel’s historic backstory and its unique red stone pyramid architecture. All 20 rooms are decked out with a rainbow of colour to create a sunny atmosphere. On the facilities side of things, the hotel has an ATM, internet access, laundry services and a rooftop restaurant, which serves up authentic Indian cuisine. For active travellers, there are yoga sessions, a badminton court and cool leafy gardens to explore.

Suryauday Haveli

Map View
Courtesy of Suryauday Haveli /
Up your holiday game by checking into this mansion. 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.

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  • Shiva Ganges View

    Boutique Hotel, Hotel
    Map View
    Courtesy of Shiva Ganges View /
    It’s not unheard of to visit Varanasi expecting some spiritual awakening, and if that’s on your agenda this is the place to stay. 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.

    Granny's Inn

    Boutique Hotel, Hotel
    Map View
    Courtesy of Granny's Inn /
    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.

    Taj Nadesar Palace

    Map View
    Courtesy of Taj Nadesar Palace /
    This palace was built in 1835 and offers a calming ambience in the centre of Varanasi. 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.

    These recommendations were updated on April 13, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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