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Indian Hotels: Penny-Wise, Pounding-Value Hotels

The languor-inducing Gratitude Heritage in Puducherry
Photographer: Jeremiah Christanand Rao

Eat more, shop more, travel more – that’s what staying at reasonably-priced hotels means for your trips, and memories. Here is our pick of the 12 best hotels across India that cost under Rs 6,000


Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu

In Kodaikanal’s crisp, bracing air, there’s a warm, sweet spot of joy – Cinnabar. Peaceful, with green gardens and fruit trees bursting with, well, fruit, and log fires, the romance of hill stations comes alive at this cosy homestay offering two rooms with attached private baths. Far away from the madding crowd, Cinnabar lets you experience the quieter, natural side of life, with walks, sunbathing on the porch and organic farm visits. You can also choose to participate in or learn about growing heirloom vegetables, harvesting, composting, baking and cheese-making. The best part of Cinnabar, however, is the scumptious meals it serves, including homemade bread, cheese, jam and granola, as well as cuisines ranging from Italian, Middle Eastern, Indian or Far Eastern. After dinner, burp your way discreetly to the porch and take in the stars. You’ll feel more connected to the earth and life itself; a sense of satisfaction that lingers long after you’ve left.

Jaipur, Rajasthan

Of all the sights to see in Jaipur, Mosaic’s Guesthouse offers one of the loveliest – views of Amber Fort from its rooftop restaurant. Many a visitor has remained transfixed, gazing at the rolling hills and majestic structure, before realising that the mosaic-decorated hotel, the brainchild of a French artist, is quite lovely itself. Four bedrooms and all the modern amenities necessary give Mosaic’s the aura of a cosy, intimate homestay. An in-house chef plans a different menu every day, using fresh local produce to create healthy, delicious dishes. Within walking distance of the fort, the elephant temple, a step-well and a museum, Mosaic’s lets you explore the district of Amber in peace. You should also ask about learning the art of creating mosaics if you’re interested!


Stay, observe, experience, rejuvenate. This is the thought behind Maachli, a word that refers to dwellings built in traditional farms for observational and educational purposes, but a concept today that is much more. Village-themed cottages with modern amenities but natural, almost rustic decor sit amid dense plantations of coconut, banana, betel nut and spices. Not even a single tree has been felled to make way for the cottages. Spacious sit-outs in each room look out on to lush foliage as well as allow birdsong to lull you in and out of slumber. Maachli’s preservation of the air has led to a microclimate that allows guests to enjoy natural temperatures without any need for air conditioning. The cuisine is ethnic Malvani, with an emphasis on nutrition, local-sourcing, traditional preparation on mud stoves and more. Visits to nearby temples, forts and beaches keep visitors enthralled, as do nature walks in the forest and on the riverbanks. Guests are encouraged to learn about local flora and cooking. In keeping with the idea of giving back, Maachli allows you to take back more memories and tales, as well as your sanity and cool.

Plenty more great-value stays across India – plus some of our fave hostels – in the October 2016 issue of Lonely Planet Magazine India, on stands now. Pick up a copy from your newsstand or click to subscribe via Zinio or Magzter.