The Best Hotels to Book in Nainital, India

Nainital sits around the sacred Nainital Lake, also known as Naini Lake
Nainital sits around the sacred Nainital Lake, also known as Naini Lake | © Oleksandr Rupeta / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Joe Bindloss
4 November 2021

A hill station in Uttarakhand, Nainital is a pretty jumble of hills set around Nainital Lake – believed by Hindus to be the eye of the goddess Sati. Visit to escape the heat of the plains, take boat rides and walk in the forested hills. While not quite as British as Shimla or Darjeeling, it’s a lovely retreat, with hotels including Raj-era heirlooms and modern resorts with hill views. They’re bookable on Culture Trip.

The Naini Retreat, for period glamour

A one-bed room at the Naini Retreat adorned with rich textiles, a sofa, a desk and a chair, and a balcony with hill views
Courtesy of The Naini Retreat / Expedia

Just uphill from the temple at the north end of the lake, hemmed in by lush woodland, the sprawling former home of the Maharaja of Pilibhit is now a very stylish hotel for ordinary people. Rooms have been elegantly updated – particularly in the historic Maharaja wing, with ritzy tile and marble bathrooms and tasteful, well-matched wooden furniture fitting the period and the setting. The best rooms look out towards the lake, the gardens or the hills.

The Manu Maharani, for dreamy valley views

The multilevel curving exterior of the Manu Maharani with balconies, awnings and plants
Courtesy of The Manu Maharani / Expedia

This imposing Nainital hotel is up the valley from the lake and the Flatts, in a handy location for forest walks and trips on the cable car to Snow View Point – which does, indeed, deliver a Himalayan vista. With mahogany-toned furniture and a gentle, Edwardian feel, the rooms also have ample space for families. The best have terraces facing the view; there’s a fun duplex room, too, with a second sleeping space upstairs and a dreamy Naini Valley overlook.

The Earl’s Court, for old-school nostalgia

A superior room at the Earl’s Court, complete with a king-size bed, a wooden ceiling, a large desk, a loveseat and a picture window
Courtesy of The Earl’s Court / Expedia

Set in a neighbourhood of grand old buildings at the north end of the valley, the Earl’s Court does a great job of bringing heritage up to modern standards, with enormous bedrooms topped by church-like wooden ceilings and nostalgic heritage rooms with vintage fireplaces and light-filled lounges. There are also more modern but less atmospheric two-bedroom apartments. It’s a sprawling place with a calm central courtyard, and there’s plenty to see nearby, including the Eco Cave Gardens, Tiffin Top and more, before you head to the lakeshore.

Shervani Hilltop Nainital, for outdoor family fun

The elegant presidential suite at Shervani Hilltop Nainital, with an area rug next to the bed and a chair and footstool next to the window
Courtesy of Shervani Hilltop Nainital / Expedia

It’s all about getting up above the neighbours when you get to the Mallital neighbourhood, and the Shervani Hilltop is high up the valley wall. The building is a relatively recent arrival from the 1960s, but it fits seamlessly into the setting, with its expansive lawns and stepped garden. It’s a great choice for families, with endless outdoor spaces where kids can let off steam, and the sprawling bedrooms blend period details with modern picture windows that let in plenty of light.

OYO 4111 Hotel Shivraj, for a fantastic lakeside location

This hotel is so close to the lake that you can almost hear the ripples; it’s all about location here. The balcony in front of the bedrooms looks right onto the water, and Mall Road passes right out front, ideal for easy trips along the lakeshore. Rooms are warm and snug rather than lavish, which you’ll appreciate once temperatures fall after dark. Some have brick-pattern panelling, some tree murals, but all are respectable and fairly priced.

Chevron Fairhavens, for stately grandeur

The stone mansion housing Chevron Fairhavens, complete with a lawn adorned with chairs and a table and plants lining the walkway
Courtesy of Chevron Fairhavens / Expedia

Inside a grand heirloom mansion at the top end of town, Chevron Fairhavens is the classic vision of a Nainital hotel. Lawns sprawl in front of a veranda-fringed stone frontage, and rooms inside are lined up around a cavernous central atrium with old-fashioned wooden balustrades. The guest rooms have a late-Raj vibe, with Kashmiri and Tibetan rugs, framed vintage photos and the odd piece of heirloom furniture.

The Wonder Valley Resort, for a forest panorama

A spacious one-bed room at the Wonder Valley Resort with tile floors, carpets and a balcony with mountain views
Courtesy of The Wonder Valley Resort / Expedia

High above Nainital, the Wonder Valley Resort looks unassuming from the roadside, but all the action takes place at the back of the hotel, where the landscape drops away dramatically into a vast, forested valley. Rooms are simple and modern but inviting and cosy, and those on the higher levels have windows that bring the hills right into your living space. It’s in Mukteshwar, east of Nainital, on the back road to Almora.

Kampland Nainital, for unplugging and unwinding

The hilltop grounds of the Kampland Nainital covered in a dusting of snow
Courtesy of Kampland Nainital / Expedia

Kampland Nainital sits in a sparsely inhabited valley north of Nainital, placing you in the middle of a soaring landscape. Cosy cottages are dotted around a peaceful garden on a clear stretch of hillside, with big picture windows that frame humbling views of the hills. To keep you busy, the resort has a buffet restaurant and a game room with a pool table, an Xbox and more.

Aroma Hotel and Resort, for lakeside strolls

Resort, Hotel
A guest room at the Aroma Hotel and Resort with one bed, rich textiles and a contemporary art piece above the headboard
Courtesy of Aroma Hotel and Resort / Expedia

Hovering just above the Flatts at the north end of the lake, the Aroma Hotel and Resort delivers a friendly, familiar North Indian experience in a tall building with stacked balconies, where you can sit and listen to the rhythms of Nainital life. The decor is modern rather than vintage, but the rooms are nicely decked out with tiles and timber. The location, minutes from the water’s edge, is a plus if you’re fond of a lakeside stroll before dinner.

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