For adventurous urban population, Himachal is about paragliding, trekking, rafting, camping, skiing, and similar experiences. But to feel the beat of this beautiful state you need stay here. It’s time we ditch hotels and resorts, and for once look at different kinds of offbeat stays in Himachal.
If you’d be as excited about low-on-amenities kind of offbeat stays in Himachal as about a plush secret hideout, this is a going to be a good read! For we have unconventional accommodation for travelers and ardent explorers as well. And the good part is, the list sees beyond homestays in Manali and heritage hotels in Shimla!
Why choose offbeat stays in Himachal?
For the community of wanderlusts, idea of travel isn’t restricted to visiting top attractions of a destination. Ticking destinations off the map doesn’t define them. They look for experiences that can be cherished lifelong. They want vacations – a lot of them – that allow insights into life, culture, and traditions of the mountains.
Turning vacations into enriching experiences lies largely on your choice of stay (one of the factors). While most luxury hotels and resorts are offered in Himachal tour packages, there are few guides for homestays, orchard farms, tea estate properties, Buddhist monasteries, and heritage hotels. This post is an attempt to put spotlight on these unique accommodations and help the community of experience seekers bucketlist the most unconventional and offbeat stays in Himachal.
Top offbeat stays in Himachal
1. Homestays – Hospitality of the locals
Not hotels and resorts in Manali, Shimla, Dalhousie, and Dharamshala, the best way to experience Himachal is to find a homestay. And trust me there is a wide wide choice. There are fancy and well maintained houses in top tourist destinations and smaller village accommodations in lesser known places.
Manali Meadows, the winner of Himachal Pradesh Best Homestay Award 2010 is where hosts Sanjay and Sunita Dutta make you feel welcomed and at home. The lovely accommodation is 13 km away from the main town and offers activities like rafting and skiing.
Boasting of mindblowing reviews on TripAdvisor is another gem – Vashisht Homestay in Manali is best known for its serenity and quietude. Tucked in the hills, the homestay is run and managed by Mala Banerjee who charms her guests with her hospitality, food, and conversations.
2. Farm Stays & Orchard Retreats – The colorful lap of nature
Homestays, farmstays, and orchard retreats are distinguished by thin lines in Himachal. Most of the homestays are surrounded by apple orchards and private farms. Besides Peepal Farm in Dharamshala, all other recommendations are orchard stays. Peepal Farm is a rustic farmstay that also allows you to do volunteer work. While you enjoy a stay close to nature, you can contribute to their animal rescue and welfare work. Website.
Owned and managed by Anita – wife of a renowned orchardist Ashok Khullar, Our Place Himalayas offers an exciting stay in Raison, Kullu. You can stroll the gardens, read by the pond, go for hikes, try fishing, camp, go on a safari, raft in river Beas, and go sightseeing. But the most amazing thing to do here is to savour local Kullu delicacies, including a seven course dhaam meal. TA rating – 5 stars. See reviews.
Scenic views from the balcony of Seetalvan Orchard Resort in Kotgarh Shimla
In Shimla, Seetalvan Orchard (Kotgarh) invites you to its luxury cottages and orchards comprising apples, pears, plums, cherries and more. Also, there is Spirits Unplugged! in Karyali village with large windows, a long verandah, and a lovely patio offering views of snow capped mountains.
Other awesome orchard stays in Shimla are Banjara Orchard Retreat in Thanedar, Krish Rauni Resort in Matiana, Himalayan Orchard in Rukhla, Meena Bagh Ratnari, and Apple Orchard Cottages (Kotgarh), owned by Meenakshi Jhina.
3. Tea estates of Kangra – Away from mad city rush
Even though there is abundant greenery in all of Himachal, the serenity of tea estates is beyond comparison. Waking up to mist in the air and birds making cacophony is one of the most amazing experiences one can have in Himachal. With two cups of aromatic Kangra tea on the table and scenic views outside the window, the dream of a hill station vacation seems perfect.
With water streams running through lush gardens, Darang Tea Estate is a slice of paradise where your body, mind, and soul meditate in unison. It is managed by ‘Naveen Uncle’ and ‘Neeru Aunty’ (as happy reviewers call them), who are more like family. Everything from food to stay to surroundings is perfect for a much awaited family break
Striking morning hues as seen in Norwood Green homestay in Bundla tea estate Palampur
Bundla Tea Estate in Palampur is a comparatively less explored hideout, and that’s precisely why it is all the more lucrahill station vacation tive for solo travelers and peace seekers. It is a good pick for couples as well. The most popular homestay in this estate is Norwood Green, which rose to fame after it featured in NDTV Good Times show Highway on my Plate hosted by Rocky and Mayur.
It is 100 reviews strong on TripAdvisor and rated a startling 5 on 5. Excellent cottages, homemade food, impeccable service, fabulous settings, splendid views – there is everything you need to forget the world and gaze at the beautiful panorama.