Gone are the days when you had to play typical tourists and book a hotel to stay when you traveled to a new place. Airbnb has made it possible for you to stay with the locals, experience local hospitality and culture, meet interesting new people, yet stay with all the luxury that a hotel typically offers, thus opening a whole new dimension of travel that was never possible before. May be it could save you a few bucks too.
Did you think Airbnb was only for stays outside India? You’re totally mistaken. With over 1000+ listings in India, this trend is picking up really well. ‘Athithi devo bhava’ is something we all grew up with. As much of a cliche as it might sound, Indians tend to go overboard when it comes to hospitality. With Airbnb, more and more Indians are opening their homes to host travelers from across the world thus living upto the motto of #OneLessStranger.
Being an Airbnb host myself, I got curious about what kind of stays Airbnb has in India. And that’s how I ended up with this curated list of really cool Airbnb stays for you. Here goes:
Over 2000 m high and surrounded by lush, green valleys, waterfalls and snow capped mountains soaring into the sky sits this beautiful granite-and-wood cottage. The area very close to Manali, known as ‘The Valley of the Gods’ rises steadily past the house to a snowy mountain pass over which Ladakh can be found. With no road access, this truly unique property is a 40 minute walk up a steep path through apple orchards and past waterfalls. If you are someone who likes to spend time in the hills relaxing or doing small treks, this place is your heaven.
What guests love about it: There is no road access to this place, literally. The hosts are kind enough to arrange porters to the base to pick you up and your luggage.
Recommended by leading travel blogs and magazines including the Lonely Planet Magazine (March 2015) ’30 hip homestays from Rio to Paris’, Rosie’s Lakeside Retreat Homestay is a newly renovated self-catering house in the heart of the Old City of Udaipur. It has its own private roof terrace, overlooking Lake Pichola, exclusively for the use of the guests. This idyllic two floor apartment has been tastefully refurbished with all modern facilities and has been lovingly furnished with traditional antiques sourced from the local area.
What guests love about it: If you already love the decor, here’s some good news. All antiques in the apartment are for sale with the exception of primary furniture.
Inspired by ‘The beautiful life’, this cosy and comfortable house in Nainital is made with natural stone and reclaimed wood quite like what it is supposed to be for a house in the hills. Tucked away in the midst of a forest, La Belle Vie is just a 100 meters from the Naukuchiatal Lake. Its proximity to Mahindra vacations makes it an ideal stay for families with kids.
What guests love about it: Being an artist and designer herself, the host has designed the property tastefully. Stone interiors and the loft make it a unique stay.
This traditional Kerala cottage is nestled in a small fishermen village amidst the beautiful backwaters, 25 km south of Kochi. The cottage is an eco-friendly home with serene surroundings of old bamboo plants, coconut palms and a beautiful pond with waterlilies. Perfect place to unwind, relax and read a book on the comfy porch chairs.
What guests love about it: It is attached to an Ayurveda Centre and hence you can upgrade to the Ayurveda package for a reasonable price.
This brand new colorful bungalow style home stay situated in lush green surroundings is hardly a 6 minute walk from the Taj Mahal. The home is Bird’s Haven with over 100 species of Birds recorded in its environs. Owners being passionate naturalists would love to accompany you to The Taj Nature Walk with a view of The Taj Mahal in the backdrop.
What guests love about it: They have golf carts on request to visit the Taj Mahal. How cool is that?!
This is a true wooden chalet situated on the banks of Goa’s largest River “Mandovi” in the outskirts of the City of Panjim. Initially built in 1730, it underwent major restoration recently. The house is designed so that the view of the river, the Salem Ali Bird Sanctuary and adjacent islands are prominent from every location in the house. The upper bedrooms have a spacious wooden deck with deck chairs to relax with a full view of the river. The lower bedrooms open to a paved patio which is on the river edge. It has docking facilities for a reasonably sized yacht.
What guests love about it: If staying on a wooden chalet was not enough, there is even a small convenience store within the chalet. Thoughtful host, to say the least.
Cannanore is a slice of God’s Own Country, and this penthouse is all of that, a slice of heaven. Just breeze into this lovely home by the sea, a 3800sft, 2 floor, luxury 4 Bed Penthouse, walking distance from the beach. As the living room deceptively leads you into the lovely foyer, you lose yourself into the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea. There are four spacious bedrooms all overlooking the sea with spacious attached bathrooms and a beautiful private veranda from where you can watch the sunset whilst sipping your cup-o-tea.
What guests love about it: Cmon, it’s a penthouse and it overlooks the sea. Is there anything not to love about this place?
A humble homestay in the non-touristy parts of Udaipur, Chandra Niwas has simple yet charming heritage rooms for its guests with two spacious terraces where one can take yoga lessons or simply enjoy the panoramic view. They also have a small organic garden where they grow their own vegetables and serve traditional home-cooked meals for the guests. If the sights in Udaipur aren’t enough, these hosts offer a wide variety of activities for you to get engaged such as gardening, Hindi classes, reading, watching movies, excursions and volunteering.
What guests love about it: Part of the revenue generated from the home stay is invested in a grassroots non-profit organization and the guests are welcome to participate in the activities as well.
Run by a retired couple, this farm is located on the outskirts of Mysore and in the foothills of Chamundi Temple. If you’re looking for a place to relax, be one with nature and enjoy starry nights, this is the place for you. The balconies of this property offer spectacular views of the Chamundi hills and rural Mysore. There is greenery, water ponds, a stream and cattle, as close as it can get to nature, at the same time experiencing modern comforts.
What guests love about it: This is a secret getaway not many people will tell you about. Just the ideal place for Bangaloreans to drive off to on a weekend and want to never come back.
Aashray, Varanasi is one of the most top rated homestays in the city. With an enviable location in the heart of the city and yet not crowded or noisy, Aashray is your cosy cacoon in the religious capital of India.
What guests love about it: The hosts are loving and courteous and culturally engaged. You can even request for Mr Kapur’s company on your Ganges tour for an enriching experience!
Ok, that’s it folks. I enjoyed curating this list so much that I might actually consider planning a trip or two just to stay at these beautiful Airbnbs. You should too.
Do leave comments below on your experience with Airbnb and other cool stays that you have come across.
All images in this article are sourced from Airbnb.