There are some travelers who travel to just relax & break the monotony of their daily routine and choose a plush, high-end resort to indulge and be pampered. Then, there are some who come back to their hotel rooms just to sleep and wait for the first ray of daylight to rush out. Occasionally, I too travel to stay indoors only, but most of the times I prefer to be out. So spending a meaty amount of money on expensive hotels doesn’t make sense (to each his own!), not that I can really afford it Θ.
That is grand, but I can do three trips with their price for one night!
With the proliferation of unique stay concepts such as Couchsurfing and Airbnb, travelers are able to substantially reduce their cost of traveling. Personally, I love to research about Homestays or family-run guest houses which offer a combination of warm atmosphere, hot meals, and friendly conversations at a much lower price. Though I rarely use Airbnb or Couchsurfing, I have managed to find lovely homes almost everywhere. Plus, I am somewhat skeptical about staying at someone’s home, so I prefer family-owned, professionally managed Homestays!
Here’s a tiny list of Homestays I have stayed in across India:
Marbella Guest House, Goa: A Portuguese-styled charming villa, near Sinquerim Beach, North Goa, with three suites and three rooms, each designed exquisitely. This lovely home is tucked away from the mad rush of North Goa and offers complete solitude, yet all the beaches can be reached in 10-15 mins. There’s a little walk uphill to reach this guest house after which you will find yourself wrapped up in a lush-green forest disconnected from the world.
Inside the house: While I was there I could explore the Dining Area, Courtyard, and Kitchen. The Dining cum drawing cum reception area has one huge table, couch set, and reception desk. Though sounds like a common area, its not a busy portion since they have limited rooms and guests, so one can eat or lounge peacefully. This portion is adjacent to their kitchen which can be seen through a huge open window, also used to place meal orders. The food was decent and can be custom-made as per individual preferences.
The house also pets two dogs and one cat. The adorable dogs guided us to a nearby trek through the jungle which led to a beautiful spot overlooking the vast sea! That was the best part of our stay at Marbella.
Price Range: INR 2000-9000 (Depending on the season & rooms, and you can totally negotiate for a better price)
Mahal Farms Homestay, Kasauli: Homestay of an Army man, this place boasts of clean & spotless rooms, enthralling view of the valley, absolute peace and impeccable service. Don’t judge them by their website, as generally people enhance pictures to mislead, these people have done the opposite! When you look at the homestay, you would understand how shabby the website pictures are.
Located a little off the hill, you may find it difficult to reach but you would have someone waiting at the main road, from the homestay, to help you with directions.
Inside the house: As I was traveling with family (four adults), I chose their Cherry Cottage which had two bedrooms with attached baths, a huge dining space, kitchenette, and a personal sit-out area. Stacked one below the other, this homestay has only three cottages with ample space for sitting out to cherish the intimidating valley. At the backside, there are trails which lead you deeper through the woods.
I can just go on and on about the hospitality and warmth with which we were served. Customized service is something that always draws me towards homestays. Breakfast wasn’t the standard fare, we could order whatever we wished and it was free. The homestay also had a tie-up with a nearby UNA property from where the guests could order a wider variety of food.
Price Range: INR 5,000/night for a family suite with breakfast (Accommodates four)
Ramgarh Retreat, Ramgarh: Tucked away in the valleys of Uttrakhand, this homestay offers solitude and is meant for complete rejuvenation. We found this place when we randomly called a person who manages a web platform for hotels and homestays. Since this was the only option available, we just booked it without even looking at the pictures. After a lot of difficulty we could locate this retreat as there were no signboards. But the end result was sweet!
Inside the house: This was built as a huge family house with common dining area, kitchen, and staircase on the second and third floor while the ground floor has a lounge area and restaurant. The owner’s were also staying when we arrived and I could indulge in conversations with them over breakfast and lunch. They told me how they had toiled to build the homestay, how meticulously they had decorated the interiors, and how much they loved road trips just like us.
The view from our room was out of this world
If you wish to read more about this homestay, you can read here.
Price Range: INR 4,500/night for a double room with breakfast and dinner
Do let me know if you need any further information about these!