The Best Himalayan Hotels in India

For a relaxing getaway complete with sweeping vistas of the Himalayas, the Wildflower Hall in Shimla won't disappoint
For a relaxing getaway complete with sweeping vistas of the Himalayas, the Wildflower Hall in Shimla won't disappoint | Courtesy of Wildflower Hall, Shimla / Expedia
Photo of Isabella Noble
25 March 2021

India’s stretch of the awe-inspiring Himalayas is an adventure-packed wonderland. Up among the clouds, you can hike high-altitude trails, visit age-old pilgrimage sites, stay on viridian tea estates, uncover ancient crafts and go paragliding, rafting and more. With patience, you might even spot an elusive snow leopard. To help plan your trip, here is Culture Trip’s pick of the best hotels to book in the area.

The Kumaon

Independent Hotel
4.5/5 (2 Reviews)
The Kumaon
Courtesy of The Kumaon / Expedia

You’d never expect to find this eco-conscious, 10-suite design haven in Uttarakhand’s bohemian Kasar Devi village, high above the historical city of Almora. Inspired by the Kumaon region’s traditional architecture and built from bamboo, copper, pine and stone, the paired-up minimal-chic suites are the work of Sri Lankan studio Zowa Architects. Himalayan views flow through floor-to-ceiling windows, and bedding includes blankets crafted by Almora artisans. Top-level rooms have private terraces. The dramatic cantilevered glass-and-steel restaurant throws farm-fresh and foraged ingredients into divine Kumaoni creations, such as millet flatbreads and soybean dal. At the spa, bespoke treatments feature cold-pressed local oils – just the ticket after a morning taking on the trails.

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Glenburn Tea Estate and Boutique Hotel

Resort, Hotel
Map View
Glenburn Tea Estate
Courtesy of Glenburn Tea Estate and Boutique Hotel
The steamy world of tea infuses this 1859 colonial-era hideaway, 25km (16mi) northeast of Darjeeling, India’s leading hill station in West Bengal. From its two elegant bungalows, views sprawl across to the 8,586m (28,169ft) Kangchenjunga (the world’s third-tallest mountain) and its snow-dusted Himalayan sisters. Antique furniture, free-standing baths, hand-embroidered linen and crackling fireplaces evoke the property’s plantation heritage. Ingredients for the home-cooked meals are plucked from the gardens, while massages use green-tea oil. Visit mist-wrapped Buddhist monasteries, jump on the 19th-century Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and go hiking along the Singalila Ridge.

Moksha Himalaya Spa Resort

Spa Hotel, Resort
4/5 (12 Reviews)
Moksha Himalaya Spa Resort
Courtesy of Moksha Himalaya Spa Resort / Expedia

Getting to this spectacularly located spa escape near the Haryana-Himachal Pradesh border, between Chandigarh and Shimla, means a quick cable-car ride up to 1,525m (5,003ft). On arrival, soul-stirringly beautiful views cascade across the Sivalik Hills from the infinity pool, hot tub and terraces. The elegant rooms are dressed with local wood, and the refined Indian-international cuisine revolves around home-grown and regionally sourced produce. In the serene cream-toned spa, ancient Ayurveda meets Balinese and Thai massages and European-style treatments – think neroli-oil scrubs, Keralan shirodhara (where liquid is poured on your forehead) and basalt-stone rubs. The Chandigarh International Airport is 30 minutes away.

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Ananda in the Himalayas

Hotel
Map View
Ananda in the Himalayas
Courtesy of Ananda in the Himalayas / Expedia
Set within a 19th-century maharaja’s palace and lush sal-forest grounds, overlooking spiritual Rishikesh (15km/9mi away) and the Ganges, Ananda has become one of the world’s most respected Ayurveda retreats since opening in 2000. Personalised programmes tackle everything from stress management to panchakarma (complete cleansing), incorporating expert-led yoga and meditation, talks on Hindu philosophy and Ayurvedic treatments such as shirodhara and abhyanga alongside salt scrubs and rose-quartz facials. Organic produce fires creative dosha-tailored meals (saffron-laced pancakes, mung-bean dal). Elsewhere, you’ll find a luxury spa and a garden-fringed pool, while Himalayan-foothill views grace the smart rooms.

The Chumbi Mountain Retreat and Spa

Spa Hotel, Resort
The Chumbi Mountain Retreat
Courtesy of The Chumbi Mountain Retreat and Spa / Expedia

The snow-dressed Kangchenjunga peak beckons from every corner at this secluded jewel of a Himalayan escape, just outside ridge-top Pelling in West Sikkim. The cedar-fringed Chumbi blends mountain-lodge luxury (fabulous regional cuisine and a soothing spa) with Sikkimese monastery architecture. Each room tells a piece of local history, with richly hand-painted furniture and antiques in the suites, and the kitchen grows much of its gloriously fresh produce. A traditional hot-stone bath feels just the ticket after exploring forested hiking trails, Buddhist monasteries, Sikkim’s original capital, Yuksom, and the sacred Khecheopalri Lake.

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Rokeby Manor

Independent Hotel
4.5/5 (35 Reviews)
Rokeby Manor
Courtesy of Rokeby Manor / Expedia

Lost 2,300m (7,546ft) above sea level among whispering cedar and oak forests, the sensitively restored, 19th-century British-built Rokeby Manor makes a wonderfully evocative base for exploring sleepy Landour and neighbouring Mussoorie, together forming Uttarakhand’s most beloved hill station. Roaring fireplaces, original beams, open-stone walls and floral-print furniture set the updated-rustic scene, while outside, the Doon Valley and distant Himalayan peaks emerge from the clouds (best enjoyed from the Rhododendron Suite with its view-laden balcony). Wander past Raj-era architecture, hit the thrilling hiking trails and viewpoints, or soak in the outdoor hot tub before a coconut-oil massage.

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  • Wildflower Hall, Shimla

    Hotel
    4.7/5 (71 Reviews)
    Wildflower Hall, Shimla
    Courtesy of Wildflower Hall, Shimla / Expedia

    Colonial charm, a spectacular setting in the Himalayas and the warmest hospitality – that’s Wildflower Hall, the best luxury hotel in the scenic hill station of Shimla. This Oberoi resort was the former abode of Lord Kitchener, the commander-in-chief of the British Army. Miles away from the maddening sound of civilisation, you can enjoy your meals against the mountainous backdrop, with the house chefs rustling up delectable Indian dishes in addition to international cuisine. With scenic nature trails (including the special Wild Strawberry Trail) and a mix of trekking, mountain biking and picnics, Wildflower Hall is the perfect way to travel back in time and indulge yourself in some old-world magic and Oberoi’s signature warm hospitality.

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    The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa

    Resort, Spa Hotel
    4.4/5 (69 Reviews)
    The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa
    Courtesy of The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa / Expedia
    The Khyber is a luxury resort spread in a coniferous forest area, set against the great Apharwat Peak; it’s an excellent choice for all seasons. While you can ski down one of Asia’s best skiing slopes in the winter, the valley is a sight to behold in the spring as well. In addition to the mountain views from every room, the resort also has the world-class Khyber Spa by L’Occitane, where you can treat yourself to international therapies and treatments designed with seasonal, home-grown ingredients for a local touch. Walk over to the Gulmarg Gondola, the highest ski lift in Asia, or sip coffee at the coffee shop overlooking the valley dotted with fir trees.
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    Cedar Inn

    Boutique Hotel
    Cedar Inn
    Courtesy of Cedar Inn / Expedia
    Fondly known as the “Queen of Hills”, the city of Darjeeling is home to this charming boutique hotel. With sweeping vistas of the towering Kangchenjunga, Cedar Inn has some of the best Himalayan views in the region. With its historic building, wooden construction and beautiful setting, it may remind you of a Swiss chalet. Enjoy live music by local musicians or a stroll in the library before savouring a magical cup of Darjeeling tea. Equally glorious is the terrace cafe, with enchanting views to calm your soul.
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    The Terraces

    Hotel
    4.3/5 (3 Reviews)
    The Terraces, Kanatal
    Courtesy of The Terraces / Expedia
    Many visitors would describe the Terraces in Kanatal as a beautiful haven in the middle of nowhere – it sits on the Chamba-Mussoorie highway. It’s a retreat designed with special attention to wellness, meaning you can look forward to special yoga, massage and meditation treatments at various locations in the hotel. The best time to visit the Terraces is from December to February when a blanket of snow transforms the valley. At 2,591m (8,500ft) above sea level, it makes for a memorable escape in North India.
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    This is an updated version of an article originally written by Sukhada Chaudhary.

    These recommendations were updated on March 25, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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