The Himalayas are always beautiful, but we dare to say that it is more beautiful in winter. Here is a roundup of 18 unique homestays in Himachal Pradesh, from Shimla and Kotkhai to Kasauli and Dharamshala, which offer the quintessential mountain experience:
1. The retreat of Aira Holme from Sanjiv, Shimla
In 1870, the British built this house with stone walls and wood paneling and named it Morefield Grange. The family home, handed down from generation to generation, has acquired its vintage charm and the warmth of a lived-in home. Tastefully decorated with attention to authenticity and detail, the house is run by the friendly Mr. Billy (short for Birinder Singh), his daughter Panita and their two beautiful dogs Pemma and Lilo. Mr. Billy has a large collection of books. If you’re not busy browsing through them, you could sit down with a hot cup (of tea, coffee, or perhaps something stronger) and take in the stunning views of the valley below.Double from Rs5,400 per night (excluding tax).
2. Our place Himalaya, Kullu
Being outdoors in the Himachal’s grand landscapes is invigorating, but Our Place Himalayas makes indoor intimacy just as tempting. Surrounded by orchards and gardens, this estate exudes luxury and warmth. The property is managed by Anita Khullar and her husband and orchard Ashok Khullar. Their devotion to maintaining their estate shines through in its four cottages, each complete with a working kitchen, dining room and living room.Double from Rs8,800 per night (excluding tax).
3. Wild house, Jibhi
Located in the small village of Jibhi in Kullu, Wilderness Home is the perfect homestay accommodation for those looking to experience and interact with local Himachal Pradesh culture. The three-acre house has a private pond and waterfall, 500 meters away. The four hosts ensure guests the chance to participate in social events and village festivals, with their family-run adventure tourism company organizing excursions to the Great Himalayan National Park and other hiking spots. Double from Rs3,000 per night (excluding tax).
4. Meena Bagh, Ratnari
A short walk along the main road to Ratnari leads to this happy abode in the hills. Perched on a slight elevation, Meena Bagh overlooks the huge apple orchards below and the incredible Himalayan range above. The four bedroom eco home is furnished to resemble traditional Himachali homes, with a fireplace, colorful furniture, retractable roof ceilings, and warm lighting. If you are visiting, don’t forget to go out when it is dark for an unobstructed glimpse of the moon, or even better, look at it through the telescope they keep in the living room.Double from Rs30,635 per night.
5. Darang Tea Estate, Kangra
Against the backdrop of the spectacular Dhauladhar mountain range is the Darang Tea Estate, the home of Neeru and Naveen Bhandari. The 150-year-old tea plantation features four cottages with private porches, kitchens, and modern amenities. There is a wonderful library on the estate for those looking to catch up on some reading, and there are vast forests, mountain streams, and tea gardens for those looking to explore. Don’t forget to take some time to play with Casper, Diana and Brandy, the friendly resident dogs.Double from Rs3,800 per night for a cottage room (excluding tax).
6. Gone Fishing Cottage, Tirthan
Gone Fishing Cottages are family homes located on the banks of the Kalwari Creek and in the eco-zone of the Great Himalayan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Infused with the austere yet rustic charm of a forest cabin, each of the cottages has brick walls, valley views, and warm lighting. Hosts Upendra and Dimple Kamra take guests on fishing trips in the Tirthan River, visits to the nearby village of Sarchi, and guided tours of the surrounding orchards and waterfalls.Double from Rs3,200 per night for a cottage room (excluding tax).
7. The apple farm, Kotkhai
This farm promises to introduce guests to Himachal Pradesh, its land, its culture and its cuisine. The Apple Farm Stay was originally built in 1920 and then restored in 1955 with traditional home furnishings, wooden interiors and stone exteriors. Get ready for exceptional home cooking, stargazing, bird watching, the warm hospitality of Digvijay and Bashita Jinha, and the rejuvenation that comes with staying in a quiet mansion in the hills.Double from Rs5,000 per night for a cottage room (excluding tax).
8. Himalayan Retreat, Manali
A 50 minute walk leads to the Himalaya Retreat, a secluded homestay in the middle of the “Valley of the Gods” as the area is called. The granite and wood house has a garden, balcony and dining room. Hosts Ashima and Scott have opened the ground floor of their home so that guests can enjoy the snow-capped Himalayan peaks, nearby waterfalls, birdsong and the village of the Vashisht neighborhood. A traditional Himachali home, the interiors are simple yet comfortable and integrate seamlessly with the beautiful open spaces.Double from Rs3,000 per night (excluding tax).
9. The Chalet, Kasauli
The Chalet is designed like a machan or tree house with large wooden interiors and expansive mountain views to keep you company. In the winter, a pleasant fog can creep in from the windows and in the summer, warm sunlight. Owners and hosts Arvind and Kiran strive to offer guests a traditional Pahari experience in their home, offering home cooked meals with ingredients sourced from their own organic garden and the chance to interact with families in nearby villages. The Chalet is an eco-cottage, which means it uses solar electricity and recycles used water. Rate: From Rs3.500 per night per double room (excluding tax).
10. Navek La Country Home, Dharamshala
Coming from Punjab, the sergeant and Ms. Sandhu traveled through India before settling in Dharamsala. Their historic style home is inspired by the places they have stayed during their travels. While Mr. Sandhu is enthusiastic about the arts and loves to entertain guests, his wife is passionate about hospitality and decor. Together, they designed the colonial-style Navek-La and welcome guests to this royal mansion that is as welcoming as it is luxurious. The gray stone house features well-appointed bedrooms and modern bathroom fixtures. Each room has a small kitchenette and private seating for privacy.Double from Rs2,000 per room per night (breakfast included, tax excluded).
11. The mirage, Andretta
Located at the foot of the Dhauladhar range, the Mirage serves many purposes. Heritage ownership is not just a family, it also doubles as an artist’s residence, yoga retreat, or pottery studio. The Mirage houses three individual homes, each designed for complete privacy. The homestay serves homemade regional-style dishes prepared with organic ingredients. Relax indoors in their cozy mud cottage, rest for a while in your airy room, or immerse yourself in Andretta’s history with a visit to nearby art galleries.Double from Rs6,140 per room per night (breakfast included, tax excluded).
12. Lakshmi Nandana, Sirmaur
Lakshmi Nandana located in a remote Himachal village is perfect for a family vacation. The city is sparsely populated with very few humans in sight. The closest town of Nahar is nearly an hour away from the property, so you can enjoy your privacy along with spectacular valley views. The house is airy, spacious and flooded with sunlight thanks to its large windows. When you peek, all you can see is the surrounding greenery. The property is pet-friendly.Double from Rs3.700 per night (excluding tax).