Homestays: The increasingly popular choice to explore incredible IndiaSpirit Bohemian
The genesis of homestays started originally in God’s Own Country, Kerala, but since then this accommodation type has become an increasingly preferred choice among travelers. Affordable and offering hospitable hosts, you can find so many homes — ranging from quaint countryside houses to city apartments and plantation villas. But why do we love homestays so much?
Homestays offer the best value for money, where you get an entire home with all the required amenities. It is a personalized experience that does away with the busy humdrum of packed hotels. You feel like you are staying in your own house, and that too at a decent price. Another plus is that you get a chance to relish the best, local home-cooked food. And of course, food is the ideal reflection of the authentic culture of resident natives in any destination.
The choices offered by homestays in India are huge. You can choose from a villa to a modest room and a treehouse or even a boat cruise. If you personally opt for a private apartment, you can get that as well. Homestays are great because they offer you the freedom of staying as per your requirements and allow you to experience the rural livelihood of India, explore rare, offbeat destinations, and interact with natives — all on your own terms.
How are homestays different from youth hostels?
Homestays are owned by regular people who rent out a room, a part of their house, or the entire home to travelers. On the other hand, youth hostels are also an affordable option for travelers where you can book a cheap bed or dorm. It is a more sociable option where you can interact with other travelers, groups, and attend group events like parties, tours etc. Yes, both are budget options but if you are more of a solo traveler and wish to have a secluded spot all to yourself, then homestays are the best bet.
11 of the best homestays in India
Did you think that homestays in India are only about modest accommodations? Then, it is time to change your thought process. India offers some of the best homestays where you can gorge on delicious home-cooked meals and get personalized attention. These places are the plain definition of famed Indian hospitality. Below we have listed down some hand-picked magnificent, homestays, which are unparalleled in terms of facilities, location, and hosts. Check them out and choose the best accommodation for your next travel plans.
Sunnymead Bed and Breakfast, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
Sunnymead may come with a tag of ‘bed and breakfast’ but don’t be misled by the name. This sprawling Colonial-style ancestral property has a huge English cottage garden. Along with a delicious breakfast, you get a wide range of authentic, Himachali-style meals. An ancient home, the owners transformed Sunnymead into a homestay in 2011. Apart from reminiscing the old-world vibes of Shimla, you can also revel in its contemporary touches.
You can book a room on the top floor and choose one of the four massive and gorgeous bedrooms with attached, ensuite bathrooms. Bringing in an amalgamation of classic and modern elements, it has the main guest room that includes a solid wood four-poster bed. You can indulge yourself by reading books from the library, take a walk in the wilderness, or simply spend time birdwatching.
The Homestead, Corbett, Uttarakhand
The Homestead in Corbett is a luxurious property with unmatched amenities. Its understated beauty will leave you in awe. Nearby, there are sites for outdoor adventures and farms to explore the local life. You can go on a bullock cart ride, milk the cows, tend to the poultry, or simply spend time while stargazing. Corbett National Park allows you to engage in activities such as fishing, camping, elephant rides, nature walks, barbecues, and bonfires.
Within the homestay, there is a huge ground for leisurely walks, a swimming pool, and spa complete with steam bath, as well as a gym.
The Bangala, Chettinad, Tamil Nadu
The Bangala which translates to bungalow is a sprawling mansion from the early 1900s. The heritage property used to be an abode for VIP visitors in early times. The owners transformed it in 1998 into a modern homestay but you can still feel its vibes from the ancient era — in terms of cutlery, furniture, interior decor, and crockery.
Located in Karaikudi, the homestay boasts of 25 air-conditioned guest rooms. There is also a massive banquet hall and you can relish the indigenous Chettinad cuisine served on traditional banana leaves. You may also choose to laze by the poolside or browse on a few books from the shelves. In the vicinity, travelers can visit the nearby villages, go shopping for vintage artifacts, quaint furniture pieces, sarees, diamonds, and the legendary Chettinad tiles. As for food, The Bangala offers a seven-course meal, coupled with live demonstrations on meal preparations.
Kannur Beach House, Kerala
Kannur Beach House, located in Kannur, Kerala, is a 100-years-old traditional homestay that gives a first-hand glimpse of Keralite culture. Just next to it is a beautiful freshwater lagoon and groves of coconut trees. You can also visit the nearby Thottada beach and indulge in mouthwatering vegetarian local food.
Travelers can choose from the gamut of inclusive activities including swimming, boating, bird watching and walking. In the vicinity, there is a hand-loom weaving center. All the rooms have balconies that offer a view of the adjacent private beach.
Olaulim Backyards, Goa
Olaulim Backyards, situated by the spectacular Goa backwaters in Olaulim village, is owned by an Indian couple with Finnish origins. If you are an animal lover, you can spend time with their pets as well. The homestay includes three pretty cottages that lend a view of the surrounding coconut groves, paddy fields, and swimming pool.
Olaulim Backyards has all the comforts you can find in a hotel — coupled with a rustic ambiance. Activities include swimming, kayaking, fishing, canoeing, cycling, nature trails, bird watching, and taking a trip to the nearby local tavern.
Vembanad House, Alleppey, Kerala
Placed amidst still water on three sides, Vembanad House graces the famous Alleppey in Kerala, where it is located along the banks of the Vembanad Lake — offering a spectacular view of Kerala backwaters. An ancient ancestral property, it displays traditional wooden furniture and artifacts.
Once you arrive in this tropical retreat, you can partake in cooking lessons, local fishing sessions walk through the paddy fields, shopping in native markets, open dining, traditional dance performances, Ayurvedic massage, boat trips, and even yoga classes. What’s more? If you are a fan of seafood, you can choose your own fresh catch and give it to the kitchen for a delicious, authentic, and sumptuous Kerala meal.
Chhotaram Prajapat’s Homestay, Rajasthan
We all love to have the original Rajasthani rural experience, don’t we? Chhotaram Prajapat’s Homestay, owned by a family of weavers and located in Salawas village, Jodhpur, is the perfect bet when you wish to immerse yourself in the perfect village lifestyle.
Once you land here, you can go on village safaris, treks, camel rides, attend folk music performances and even participate in traditional dancing. The amenity-packed, traditional village huts are the ideal combination of comfort and rustic beauty.
Devra, Udaipur, Rajasthan
Yet another Colonial-style property, Devra homestay is located in Udaipur and stresses on the importance of a sustainable, natural, and organic lifestyle. The accommodation offers a glimpse of the spectacular surrounding landscape, hills, farms, and the mesmerizing City Palace as well as Monsoon Palace.
The homestay has huge sitting areas, balconies, and terraces. You can participate in activities like trekking in the Aravalli ranges, cycling, village trails, temple visits, bird watching, yoga classes, painting, gardening, tending to farm animals, and sightseeing. The hosts serve delicious home-cooked food, all prepared from organic ingredients.
Fort Rampura, Rampura, Uttar Pradesh
Fort Rampura is a renovated, seven-century-old fort, which brings in memories from a bygone era. Located in Rampura village, it gives you a real, raw experience of Uttar Pradesh. The homestay has three spacious guest rooms and multiple living rooms, decorated with ancient pieces of artifacts, furniture, and rugs.
The personally curated activities for tourists include bonfire, games room, library, open-air dining, photography, picnic by the River Pahuj, boating on the Yamuna River, visiting village fairs and markets as well as the family temple, and exploring the fort.
Thippanahalli Homestay, Chikamagalur, Karnataka
Thippanahalli Homestay. comprising 28 rooms and situated on the outskirts of Chikmagalur, Karnataka, is a heritage plantation bungalow that offers views of massive coffee fields. Built-in the 1930s, it has five guest rooms. You can choose either from the sprawling mansion or the four cottages on the property. After you arrive here, you can participate in coffee plantation tours, trekking, driving in the mountains, golfing, and bird watching. There is also a unique collection of paintings, artifacts, chandeliers, carpets, dolls, and antique furniture– some of them spanning generations.
Red Hill Nature Resort, Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Red Hill Nature Resort, located in the remote Nilgiri mountains, stands at a height of 7000 meters above sea level. Your drive to this location offers you views of striking countrysides, picturesque villages, and massive tea gardens. The renovated property traces its existence way back to 1875 and graces a 250-acre tea garden. You can opt to stay in the classic Colonial-style guest rooms or separate cottages.
The curated activities for visitors include trekking, fishing, camping, bird watching, mountain biking, visiting local tribes, and partaking in yoga. The hosts prepare traditional meals on a wood-fired stove and use recipes that have passed multiple generations.
Homestays invite you to join their hosts and relish tasty, home-cooked regional food while exploring nearby suburbs, hilltops and backwaters. They offer you the opportunity to immerse in India’s untouched cultural life. So, which homestay will you choose for your next travel trip? Let us know in the comments below.