We’ve been travelling for more than 13 years now, and here’s a list of some great places to stay that we’ve discovered so far.

We’ve been travelling since 2007, and we’ve stayed at our fair share of horrible, weird or just plain boring places. But we’ve also had some really nice stays, and even found some lovely spots that we wish we’d stayed in. And since we’ve often been asked about this, here’s a list of some interesting, off-beat and overall great places to stay that we’ve discovered on our travels.

(It’s been a while since we were at some of these places, so things might’ve changed since then.)

(Disclaimer: This is to give you a heads-up that this post contains affiliate links, through which you can buy things if you like. If you do choose to buy something, I’ll get a small commission at zero extra cost to you. This helps me keep this blog running. Don’t worry, my opinions are still my own!)

South India

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

1. Barefoot at Havelock, Havelock Island

A year or two after we started travelling, we booked ourselves a quick getaway to the Andaman and Nicobar islands. We spent a few days on Havelock Island (now Swaraj Dweep), and though we didn’t stay at Barefoot, we wish we had.

Barefoot at Havelock, Andaman and Nicobar Island - Great places to stay
Looking down from the mezzanine floor of Barefoot’s bar

What it is: Resort

Where it’s located: Radhanagar beach

When we visited: 2009

What other people think, and how to book: Barefoot at Havelock on TripAdvisor

Pros

  • One of the few resorts near the beautiful Radhanagar beach, believed to be one of the best beaches in Asia
  • Traditional feel, with lots of wood and palm-leaf thatch
  • Very atmospheric open-sided bar, with a game room on the mezzanine floor
  • Tasty food, with very large portions
  • Interesting restaurant with both table and floor seating

Cons

  • Quite pricey
  • Somewhat far removed from the rest of the action on the island

More about our trip: How we lived the island life for a few days in the Andamans

Sitting down to lunch at Barefoot

Goa

1. Cancio’s House, Aldona

Our road trip to Goa was one of the best holidays we’ve had so far. And not least because of the experiences we had while staying at the quaint Cancio’s House in Aldona.

Cancio's House - Great places to stay
The sit-out in front of our room

What it is: Heritage homestay

Where it’s located: Naicavaddo

When we visited: 2014

What other people think: Cancio’s House on TripAdvisor

How to book: Cancio’s House website

Pros

  • Sprawling centuries-old heritage homestay run by the descendants of the original owners
  • Lovely old-world feel, with lots of antique furniture and fixtures
  • Very friendly, welcoming and accommodating hosts
  • Very tasty, home-cooked meals served around a large dining table in the kitchen

Cons

  • The hosts are very chatty, which might get a bit much for some guests
  • Located in the interiors, very far from the beach

More about our trip: An off-the-beaten-path Goan holiday

Cancio's House entrance - Great places to stay
The quaint old gate, from the inside
Cancio's house, Goa
Garden lamppost in the rain

Lonely Planet

Karnataka

1. Hotel Gowri, Hampi

On a new year’s trip to Hampi, we decided to stay across the river for a change, and booked ourselves into Hotel Gowri. The facilities were quite basic, but the location made up for everything else.

Hotel Gowri, Sanapur lake
The sit-out outside our room

What it is: Basic resort

Where it’s located: Sanapur lake

When we visited: 2015

What other people think, and how to book: Hotel Gowri on TripAdvisor

Pros

  • Very peaceful
  • Lovely views of the surrounding rice fields and granite hills
  • Very close to the beautiful Sanapur lake

Cons

  • Across the river from the main Hampi heritage area
  • Maintenance and cleanliness could be better

More about our trip: Magical sights of Hampi that you may not know exist

Hotel gowri, Hampi - Great places to stay
Farmers get ready to tend their fields next to our room
Rice fields, Hampi
Sunrise over the fields

2. Depot Estate, Coorg

We stayed in this lovely plantation during our trip to Coorg, and it actually felt like staying in someone’s home. The most ‘homely’ homestay experience we’ve had so far.

The estate house of the Depot Estate coffee plantation in Madikeri, Coorg, India
The first glimpse of the estate house, where we were staying

What it is: Plantation homestay

Where it’s located: Chain Gate junction

When we visited: 2017

What other people think, and how to book: Depot Estate on TripAdvisor

Pros

  • Located in a plantation in a little valley, so feels completely removed from everything else despite being on the edge of town
  • Feels like staying in an actual home, as a guest of the family
  • Friendly and helpful housekeeper
  • Tasty traditional food served in a common dining room
  • Lovely views of the plantation from a large common balcony
  • Comes with a resident roly-poly doggie
  • You can take long walks in the plantation and feel like you’re in the Jungle Book

Cons

  • The housekeeper’s English isn’t the best
  • There aren’t many places to eat close by

More about our trip: Nine things you should know if you want to have a good time in Coorg

Depot estate homestay, madikeri - great places to stay
The balcony in the evening; the town is just over the hill in front
Depot estate homestay, madikeri
Lisa and a friend
View from our bedroom window at the Depot Estate Homestay in Madikeri, Coorg, India - Great places to stay
We woke up to this view every morning

3. Blackbuck Resort, Bidar

While planning our motorcycle trip to Bidar, we could’ve either chosen to stay in some slightly seedy lodge near the main bus stand, or at the Blackbuck Resort in the forest, 20 minute’s ride out of town. We chose the latter.

Blackbuck resort, Bidar - great places to stay
Our little cottage on the lake

What it is: Jungle resort

Where it’s located: Near Vilaspur

When we visited: 2019

What other people think, and how to book: Blackbuck Resort on TripAdvisor

Pros

  • Nice location in the middle of a patch of reserve forest
  • Cottage rooms, basic but comfortable
  • Nice views of the nearby lake and forest from the rooms
  • Peaceful and quite private
  • Activities like sightseeing and a blackbuck safari are included in the room rate
  • Homely and tasty food, served in an open-sided dining hall
  • Friendly and enthusiastic staff

Cons

  • Slightly pricey for the facilities offered
  • The approach is via a bumpy forest trail
  • The location is quite far outside Bidar
  • Overall maintenance could be better
  • The lake might be dry, depending on the rains that year

More about our trip: A weekend motorbike trip to Bidar, city of sultans

Room, blackbuck resort, bidar
“It’s bigger on the inside!”
Balcony view, blackbuck resort - Great places to stay
The view from our balcony


Lakshadweep Islands

1. Thinnakara Island resort, Thinnakara

When we landed on Thinnakara island on our Lakshadweep trip, we didn’t realize it would feel like being marooned on an uninhabited island (in a good way).

Thinnakara - Lakshadweep - Great places to stay
The view from the sit-out outside our tent

What it is: Basic resort

Where it’s located: Thinnakara island

When we visited: 2017

What other people think: Thinnakara Island Resort on TripAdvisor

How to book: Lakshadweep tourism department website

Pros

  • The only resort on the entire tiny island
  • Very private
  • Tents are comfortable and under thatched roofs
  • Hardly any visitors
  • Mysterious leeward beach with leaning palms
  • Two more tiny islands you can wade out to
  • Somewhat eco-friendly, with no ACs in the tents, and purified rainwater available for drinking on request

Cons

  • Attached ‘green’ toilets are cramped
  • Tap water smells of sulphur
  • Windward beach has lots of washed up rubbish

More about our trip: Our magical holiday in the mysterious Lakshadweep islands

Thinnakara island, Lakshadweep
The leeward beach at sunset
Hammock on Thinnakara island, Lakshadweep, India
Hammocks strung up just outside our tent
Parali 1 and 2 just off Thinnakara, Lakshadweep, India - Great places to stay
The two little islands, Parali 1 and 2

2. Bangaram Island resort, Bangaram

This is probably the most luxurious accommodation available in Lakshadweep, with prices to match. But we loved the ‘island paradise’ feel to it, especially the magical dinner buffet on the beach.

Bangaram island resort, Lakshadweep - Great places to stay
The beach in front of our room

What it is: Resort

Where it’s located: Bangaram island

When we visited: 2017

What other people think: Bangaram Island Resort on TripAdvisor

How to book: Lakshadweep tourism department website

Pros

  • The only resort on the entire island
  • Quite private
  • Has a very ‘island paradise’ feel
  • Nice beaches and a large sandbar you can wade out to
  • Magical beach-side dinner service
  • Quite eco-friendly, with some of its electricity supplied by solar panels, no ACs in the rooms (only air coolers) and purified rainwater available for drinking on request

Cons

  • Somewhat pricey
  • Tap water smells of sulphur
  • The parts of the island not immediately near the resort tend to have litter

More about our trip: Our magical holiday in the mysterious Lakshadweep islands

Bangaram island resort, Lakshadweep, India
The resort as seen from the ferry

Puducherry

1. Gratitude Heritage, Pondicherry

We love a good heritage hotel, so we were quite thrilled when we checked in at Gratitude Heritage. Despite its quirks, we think might just be one of the the best heritage stays you can find in Pondicherry.

Gratitude Heritage, Pondicherry - Great places to stay
The lovely old facade that looks out onto the street

What it is Heritage guesthouse

Where it’s located: Romain Rolland street

When we visited: 2020

What other people think: Gratitude Heritage on TripAdvisor

How to book: Gratitude Heritage website

Pros

  • Beautifully restored traditional home with a very authentic feel
  • Nice location on a peaceful street a few minutes’ walk from the beach
  • Very quiet and peaceful
  • Each room is unique, with antique furniture
  • A lovely combination of tradition and comfort
  • The ground floor rooms are quite cool, even without the AC
  • Breakfast is served in an open-sided dining room and includes warm, flaky croissants

Cons

  • Slightly pricey
  • Some unusual house rules
  • Ventilation on the ground floor rooms could be better
  • Some bathrooms don’t have separate ventilation
  • Only online bookings are accepted; no walk-ins
  • Breakfast is served late, at an un-hurried pace
  • Extra meals are pricey
  • Bed sizes vary from room to room

More about our trip: Coming soon!

Gratitude Heritage, Pondicherry
The rooms, as seen from the open-sided living room across the quadrangle
Gratitude Heritage, Pondicherry - Great places to stay
Our room. Yes, that’s a gap between the bathroom walls and the ceiling.

Tamil Nadu

1. O’Land Plantation Stays, Coonoor

We were looking for someplace to spend a few days surrounded by nature and away from the hustle and bustle of city life, and O’Land Plantations in the Nilgiri hills was a perfect fit.

Oland plantation stays, Coonoor - Nice places to stay
The view from the estate house

What it is: Plantation resort

Where it’s located: An hour out of Coonoor

When we visited: 2015

What other people think, and how to book: O’Land Plantation Stays on TripAdvisor

Pros

  • Set in a fully functional organic plantation
  • Rooms are elegant, unique, and have their own character.
  • Accommodation is in the estate house and other two separate ‘houses’.
  • The food is homely and tasty, and all meals are included.
  • Spectacular views of the hills across the valley
  • Lots of wildlife to be seen
  • A stream with a beautiful waterfall runs through the plantation
  • Very quiet and peaceful

Cons

  • Quite isolated, with nothing much else close by

More about our trip: A getaway in the clouds: O’Land Plantation in the Nilgiri hills

Oland Plantation Stays, Coonoor
The estate house has some rooms on the first floor, above the dining hall
Oland Plantation Stays, Coonoor - Nice places to stay
O’Land’s Pepper House, as seen across the stream from Hornbill House. The estate house is further up the path.

2. The Great Escape, Coonoor

During one of our many visits to the Western Ghats, we spent a long weekend exploring Coonoor and its surroundings. And The Great Escape made for a great base from which to do that.

The great escape, coonoor - nice places to stay
An old well in front of our cottage, and the staircase leading up through the garden

What it is: Homestay

Where it’s located: Near St. Theodore’s Sanatorium

When we visited: 2017

What other people think, and how to book: The Great Escape on TripAdvisor

Pros

  • Very friendly and knowledgeable hosts
  • Located on a hillside just outside Coonoor, with easy access to town but still peaceful
  • Easy access to the scenic Kotagiri road
  • Homely, fresh tasty food
  • The cottage is very private, at some distance from the main house
  • Pet friendly

Cons

  • Room interiors are a bit bland
  • The curtains of the cottage are somewhat transparent

More about our trip: A perfect long weekend among the hills and tea plantations of Coonoor

The great escape, coonoor
The main house at top left and cottage at bottom right
The great escape, coonoor - nice places to stay
The hill opposite, with the sanatorium perched on top

3. Sinna Dorai’s Bungalow, Valparai

On yet another trip into the Western Ghats, we discovered the little tea plantation town of Valparai. And even though we didn’t stay at the lovely colonial-style Sinna Dorai’s Bungalow, we would definitely have liked to!

Sinna Dorais bungalow, Valparai
The main bungalow being decorated for new year’s eve

What it is: Plantation resort

Where it’s located: Near Iyerpadi

When we visited: 2017

What other people think: Sinna Dorai’s Bungalow on TripAdvisor

How to book: Sinna Dorai’s Bungalow website

Pros

  • Great location on a hill in the middle of a vast tea plantation
  • Great views into the valley from the cottages
  • Lovely colonial-style furnishings give the place an old-world feel
  • Homely but tasty traditional food
  • Warm and friendly staff
  • Many opportunities to see wildlife within the plantation itself

Cons

  • Somewhat pricey
  • The presence of wild elephants and gaur (Indian bison) makes going out at night dangerous
  • It’s a long drive to the entrance of the plantation

More about our trip: In the shadow of elephants in Valparai

Sinna Dorai's Bungalow - Valparai - Nice places to stay
Another view of the front of the main bungalow
Sinna dorai's bungalow, Valparai - Nice places to stay
A bench with a view into the valley


North India

Himachal Pradesh

1. Udechee Huts, McLeodganj

We booked ourselves into Udechee Huts for three days during our visit to Dharamshala, and were absolutely blown away by the views and the location!

Udechee Huts, Naddi, McLeodGanj, Dharamshala - nice places to stay
The incredible view of the Dhauladhars from the dining deck made us forget all about our chai and pakodas!

What it is: Small resort

Where it’s located: Naddi

When we visited: 2019

What other people think, and how to book: Udechee Huts on TripAdvisor

Pros

  • Great location, with spectacular views of the Dhauladhar mountains
  • Lovely open-air dining deck with mountain views
  • Very friendly and helpful owner and staff
  • Basic but comfortable rooms
  • Overall, quite peaceful
  • The staff can get you entry into the private grounds at the top of the hill for nice sunset views away from the crowds

Cons

  • Slightly pricey
  • Aside from the views, the rooms are a little boring
  • Naddi village has lots of raucous tourists during on season

More about our trip: Photo diary: Snow-capped mountains and Tibetan art in Dharamshala

Cottage window view, Udechee Huts, Naddi, McLeodGanj, Dharamshala
The view from our cosy little cottage
Mountain village, Udechee Huts, Naddi, McLeodGanj, Dharamshala
We woke up to this glorious sight. The phrase ‘picture perfect’ was invented for moments like this.

Rajasthan

1. Haveli Inn Pal, Jodhpur

On our first visit to Rajasthan, we were looking for a nice place to stay in Jodhpur. Haveli Inn Pal was recommended by a relative, and it definitely didn’t disappoint.

Haveli Inn Pal, Jodhpur - nice places to stay
The view of Mehrangarh in the morning from the rooftop restaurant

What it is: Heritage hotel

Where it’s located: Gulab Sagar

When we visited: 2012

What other people think, and how to book: Haveli Inn Pal on TripAdvisor

Pros

  • Beautiful old heritage mansion, part of a larger heritage compound
  • Located in the heart of the old city, next to the Sardar Market
  • Great views of Mehrangarh Fort from the rooftop restaurant
  • Indique, one of Jodhpur’s more well-known restaurants, is in the same compound

Cons

  • Slightly pricey
  • Some rooms don’t have such nice views

More about our trip: Eight great reasons why you should visit Rajasthan

The view from our room (zoomed in)
Sardar market at night in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India
Sardar Market, as seen from the Indique restaurant

2. All Seasons Homestay, Jaipur

Though more a guesthouse than a homestay, this nice little place still had a personal touch. An enjoyable part of our visit to Jaipur.

All Seasons Homestay, Jaipur
In the driveway of All Seasons. All set to hit the road to Ranthambhore.

What it is: Guesthouse

Where it’s located: Hathroi

When we visited: 2018

What other people think, and how to book: All Seasons Homestay on TripAdvisor

Pros

  • Centrally located, but not too far from the old city either
  • Right behind the small Hathroi Fort that can be explored
  • More of a guesthouse than a homestay, but still retains the personal touch
  • Friendly hosts, who live on the ground floor
  • Tasty, homely meals prepared and served by friendly staff
  • Well-appointed, modern rooms

Cons

  • Doesn’t have a very traditional feel
  • The road off which this place is located is one-way in an inconvenient direction
  • No real views to speak of

More about our trip: Jaipur: Our motorcycle tour kicks off

Staircase at All Seasons Homestay, Jaipur - Nice places to stay
The stairwell down from our floor at the homestay

3. Bundi Inn, Bundi

We had a bit of trouble finding this place when we first arrived in Bundi. But the cool interiors and the views from the rooftop restaurant made up for it.

Bundi Inn, Bundi - Nice places to stay
Our first good look at the magnificent Garh Palace from the roof

What it is: Heritage homestay

Where it’s located: Nahar Ka Chohatta

When we visited: 2018

What other people think, and how to book: Bundi Inn on TripAdvisor

Pros

  • Great location in the old city, close to the Garh Palace and across the road from the Moti Mahal palace
  • Cosy old nicely-renovated heritage home
  • Friendly and knowledgeable hosts
  • Cool, clean and well-maintained
  • Rooftop restaurant with a great view of the palace and the city”

Cons

  • Some rooms don’t have much ventilation
  • The food at the restaurant isn’t great
  • Service is quite slow
  • The house has various levels with narrow stairs, so accessibility could be a problem

More about our trip: Bundi, a town lost in time

Bundi Inn - our homestay
Our homestay above the shops
Our room in Bundi Inn, Bundi
Our room, with the living room beyond
Bundi Inn, Bundi - Mordi ki chhatri
The view of the town from the roof, at sunset

4. Haveli Katkoun, Bundi

We happened to have a traditional dinner in this lovely old renovated home during our stay in Bundi, and had a long conversation with the lady of the house, too. Next time, we’re definitely staying at Haveli Katkoun!

Homely meal at Haveli Katkoun, Bundi
A spicy, tasty, homely dinner. With a view.

What it is: Heritage homestay

Where it’s located: Nawal Sagar

When we visited: 2018

What other people think, and how to book: Haveli Katkoun on TripAdvisor

Pros

  • Great location, right under the Garh Palace and across the road from the Nawal Sagar lake
  • Traditional family mansion, with a very authentic, homely feel
  • Friendly and chatty hosts
  • Large, airy and well-appointed rooms
  • Open-sided rooftop restaurant with spectacular views of the Garh Palace and the lake
  • The traditional meal we ordered was simple but very tasty

Cons

  • Can get somewhat pricey during on season
  • Maintenance could be slightly better

More about our trip: Bundi, a town lost in time


5. The Padmini Haveli Guesthome, Chittorgarh

We were lucky enough to stay in the only accommodation inside the fort when we visited Chittorgarh. The Padmini Haveli isn’t easy to book, and it’s even harder to find, but it was all worth it.

Chittorgarh Fort - Sunset view from Padmini Haveli - Nice places to stay
A spectacular view of the sunset from the roof

What it is: Heritage guesthouse

Where it’s located: Chittorgarh Fort village

When we visited: 2018

What other people think: The Padmini Haveli on TripAdvisor

How to book: The Padmini Haveli website

Pros

  • Great location, right inside Chittorgarh Fort in the tiny fort village
  • The only accommodation available inside the fort
  • Great sunset views from the rooftop terrace
  • Gives you the unique opportunity to see the fort at night
  • Renovated using traditional materials for a very authentic feel
  • Friendly hosts and staff
  • Not too many guests, so quite private
  • Very tasty traditional vegetarian food

Cons

  • Slightly pricey
  • Located in a very narrow lane, so cars need to park some distance away
  • For religious reasons, no alcohol or non-vegetarian food (including eggs) is allowed
  • Room payment must be made by bank transfer in advance

More about our trip: Chittorgarh Fort: ancient, massive and imposing

Chittorgarh Fort - Room in Padmini Haveli
Our cosy little bedroom
Parked bike - Chittorgarh
My bike taking a well-deserved rest in the narrow lane outside
Chittorgarh Fort - Padmini Haveli sit-out - Nice places to stay
The open sit-out just outside our room

Lonely Planet

Western India

Gujarat

1. Devpur Homestay, Devpur, Kutch

We stayed in lots of different places during our visit to Kutch, but Devpur Homestay was our favourite, despite being quite far away from everything else.

Our room was in this charming little house

What it is: Heritage homestay

Where it’s located: Devpar Yaksh

When we visited: 2014

What other people think: Devpur Homestay on TripAdvisor

How to book: Devpur Homestay website

Pros

  • Beautiful heritage homestay set in a small 100-year-old fort
  • Different kinds of rooms in various locations throughout the compound
  • Very friendly and welcoming hosts
  • Old-world feel, with lots of vintage fixtures and decorations
  • Opportunities to volunteer at the community school inside the compound

Cons

  • Sightly pricey
  • Maintenance could be a bit better
  • Located in a small village quite far from anywhere else

More about our trip: The colours of Kutch

Entrance to Devpur haveli in Bhuj, Gujarat, India
The entrance to the little fort; not as spooky as it looks

Maharashtra

1. Rusticville Farmstay, Pawna Lake

We spent a night at Rusticville Farmstay with a bunch of friends, and despite the facilities being basic, we had a good time. Not least because Tikona Fort was so close by.

Rusticville, Pawna Lake - Great places to stay
Rusticville by twilight; the rooms are on the left

What it is: Campground and mud-built rooms

Where it’s located: Tikona Peth

When we visited: 2020

What other people think: Rusticville Farmstay on TripAdvisor

How to book: Rusticville website

Pros

  • Very nice location, overlooking a lake and with a view of the hill-top Tikona Fort
  • Bathrooms are provided for guests staying in tents
  • Eco-friendly and comfortable (but basic) rooms made from mud and empty bottles
  • Rooms have attached bathrooms with modern fixtures
  • The room rate includes a barbecue and small bonfire on the edge of the valley
  • Food is homely and tasty

Cons

  • Located quite far away from anywhere
  • The access track is bumpy and dusty
  • If you haven’t barbecued before, you might have some difficulty
  • Mud rooms take some getting used to
  • Because of the natural surroundings, expect to encounter a few insects
  • You’ll need to bring your own alcohol
Rusticville, Pawna Lake
The tents under a canopy of lights, and the valley beyond
Tikona Fort from Rusticville, Pawna Lake - Great places to stay
Tikona Fort seen from Rusticville early in the morning

More about our trip: Coming soon!


Beyond India

Bali, Indonesia

1. Secret Point Huts, Nusa Ceningan

Of our eight days in Bali, the four days we spent at Secret Point Huts on the tiny island of Nusa Ceningan were by far the most enjoyable.

Secret point huts, Nusa Ceningan, Bali - Great places to stay
The view from the dining deck

What it is: Resort

Where it’s located: Secret Point Beach

When we visited: 2019

What other people think, and how to book: Secret Point Huts on TripAdvisor

Pros

  • Lovely location at the end of Ceningan’s main road
  • Has access to a small private beach, and is across the road from the blue lagoon
  • Very peaceful, especially in the evenings
  • Friendly and helpful manager
  • Cliff jumping at the nearby Mahana Point café is free for guests of Secret Point Huts

Cons

  • Maintenance could be a bit better
  • Staff sometimes come across as a little disinterested
  • We didn’t have a fan in our room, only an AC

More about our trip: Bali diaries: Peace and crashing waves on Nusa Ceningan

Secret point huts, Nusa Ceningan, Bali
Some of the cottages at Secret Point Huts
Secret point huts, Nusa Ceningan, Bali - Great places to stay
The beach at low tide, seen from the Mahana Point Cafe


Kenya

1. Osero Lodge, Masai Mara

We spent two nights at the Osero Lodge, on the edge of the Masai Mara National Reserve, during our week-long safari in Kenya. And though it was the simplest of all the places we stayed at, we enjoyed our stay here the most.

Osero Lodge, Masai Mara - Great places to stay
The cosy little restaurant and lounge huts of our camp

What it is: Tented camp

Where it’s located: Near Ololaimutiek village

When we visited: 2018

What other people think: Osero Lodge on TripAdvisor

How to book: Osero Lodge website

Pros

  • Small, simple, cosy camp
  • Simple but tastefully decorated tents, dining room and lounge
  • By far the best food we had during our week in Kenya!
  • Very friendly manager and restaurant staff
  • Can be contacted directly to arrange for direct flights to Masai Mara airstrip, safaris etc.
  • Local Masai tribesmen are employed as staff and guides

Cons

  • Quite pricey
  • The track leading to the camp from the main road is VERY bumpy

More about our trip: Our Kenya safari: Up close with Africa’s incredible wildlife

Osero Lodge, Masai Mara
A soothing bottle of Kenyan beer, and a view of the Masai Mara. What more could one want?
Osero Lodge, Masai Mara - Great places to stay
Posing with a wildebeest skull in the driveway of our camp
Osero Lodge, Masai Mara
I managed this shot from in front of the lounge hut. Incredibly clear skies!

2. Kibo Safari Camp, Amboseli National Park

We stayed at the sprawling Kibo Safari Camp, on the edge of Amboseli National Park, on the first night into our safari. The camp was large and luxurious, but the breathtaking sunrise view of Mt. Kilimanjaro was what impressed us the most.

Kibo Safari Camp, Amboseli - Great places to stay
This sight greeted us outside our tent in the morning!

What it is: Tented camp

Where it’s located: Near the Kimana gate entrance

When we visited: 2018

What other people think, and how to book: Kibo Safari Camp on TripAdvisor

Pros

  • Luxurious camp, located on the border of Amboseli National Park
  • Incredible morning views of Mt. Kilimanjaro lit up by the rising sun
  • Good food and service
  • Friendly staff
  • Elegantly furnished for a very ‘safari’ feel without compromise on comfort

Cons

  • Quite pricey
  • The camp is large, so you might need to walk quite a bit to reach the furthest cottages

More about our trip: Our Kenya safari: Up close with Africa’s incredible wildlife

Kibo Safari Camp, Amboseli
The cosy bar and restaurant
Kibo Safari Camp, Amboseli - Great places to stay
Our ‘tent’ was at the end of the walkway, and very private

3. Lovely Cottage, Malindi

We spent a few days in Malindi for some much-needed rest after our safari. And our comfortable little room at Lovely Cottage was perfectly located for just that purpose.

Lovely Cottage, Malindi - Great places to stay
The dining table on the ground floor, outside the kitchen

What it is: Homestay

Where it’s located: In the Marine Estate gated community on Silversands beach

When we visited: 2018

What other people think, and how to book: Lovely Cottage on AirBnB

Pros

  • Private room on first floor of a tiny thatched-roof cottage in a gated layout
  • The owner isn’t around six months of the year, so even more private
  • A minute’s walk from the beach
  • Access to the owner’s fully-functional external kitchen
  • A common swimming pool for use by owners and guests
  • Tastefully and comfortably furnished

Cons

  • In off season, you may need to walk a bit to find places to eat
  • The room has an AC but no fan (though you can ask for one)

More about our trip: A rejuvenating break in Malindi, on the coast of Kenya

Lovely Cottage, Malindi
The beach was a two-minute walk from the cottage
Lovely Cottage, Malindi - Great places to stay
Evening colours on the beach just outside the estate

Nepal

1. Indsu Home, Kathmandu

We only stayed at Indisu Home for a night while passing through Kathmandu. But that one night left a serious impression on us.

Indsu Home, Kathmandu - Great places to stay
The morning view from our little balcony

What it is: Guesthouse

Where it’s located: Kupondole

When we visited: 2020

What other people think, and how to book: Indsu Home on TripAdvisor

Pros

  • Decently located, about halfway between the historic Patan and Kathmandu durbar squares
  • Off the main road, and removed from Kathamandu’s crazy traffic
  • Elegantly furnished, clean, modern rooms
  • Very friendly and helpful hosts
  • Good food (and a great hot rum punch) served in the restaurant
  • A sweet old doggie roaming the ground floor

Cons

  • It takes some time to get used to the heater setting on the AC
  • The doors don’t have bolts on the inside
  • There’s no lift, and there are no rooms on the ground floor, so accessibility could be a problem

More about our visit: Coming soon!

Indsu Home, Kathmandu
Corn fritters and rum punch in the restaurant
Indsu Home, Kathmandu - Great places to stay
Our modern, elegantly furnished room

2. Dwarika’s Chhen, Kathmandu

We spent the second half of our Nepal trip in Kathmandu. And we and couldn’t have asked for a better-located place to stay than Dwarika’s Chhen (also called World Heritage Hotel).

Dwarikas Chhen, Kathmandu - Great places to stay
The far garden door opens right onto the durbar square!

What it is: Heritage guesthouse

Where it’s located: Kathmandu durbar square

When we visited: 2020

What other people think: Dwarika’s Chhen on TripAdvisor

How to book: Dwarika’s Chhen website

Pros

  • Unbeatable location, right on Kathmandu durbar square
  • Charming old mansion, with traditional furnishings for a very homely feel
  • Great views of the mountains (on clear days) and the durbar square from the roof
  • Good food, served in various dining areas
  • Friendly and enthusiastic service staff
  • Within walking distance of the hip Thamel area

Cons

  • Rough around the edges, with slightly cluttered interiors
  • Cleanliness and maintenance could be better
  • Rooms don’t have much of a view
  • You might need to call down to the reception from your own phone
  • Can get cold and draughty in winter
  • They seemed a little reluctant to accept our booking, for some reason

More about our trip: Coming soon!

Dwarikas Chhen, Kathmandu
Our homely-feeling room
Dwarikas Chhen, Kathmandu - Great places to stay
The places looks quite unassuming from the outside

3. Club ES Deurali Resort, Kaskikot

We stopped for lunch at Club ES Resort completely by chance, after our trek along the trail between Sarangkot and Kaskikot near Pokhara. If we’d known about this place earlier, we’d have spent at least one night here.

Club ES Deurali Resort - Great places to stay
The resort against the backdrop of the mountains

What it is: Small resort

Where it’s located: Kaskikot-Suikhet Road

When we visited: 2020

What other people think, and how to book: Club ES Deurali Resort on TripAdvisor

Pros

  • Great location, with spectacular views of the Annapurna mountain range
  • Tasty traditional food
  • The traditionally-decorated dining room also has a large sit-out with great views
  • Friendly and enthusiastic staff
  • Not many visitors, so very peaceful
  • Comfortable-looking rooms, with a view of the mountains
  • Very close to the Deurali-Sarangkot hiking trail

Cons

  • Access to the resort is on foot, and parking is a few hundred metres away
  • Kaskikot is about an hour’s drive from Pokhara
  • The dining sit-out is quite windy, and can get cold

More about our trip: Coming soon!

Club ES Deurali Resort
The way we came; if you look carefully, you can just so make out the trail on the hill in the centre-top of the picture
Club ES Deurali Resort - Great places to stay
Our simple meal on the dining deck, with the cottage roofs below
Club ES Deurali Resort
Yours truly looking grumpy but enjoying himself immensely

Lonely Planet

The Seychelles

1. Choice Villa, Mahe

During our time on Mahe island, the basic but comfortable Choice Villa made a great base from which to explore the rest of the island.

Choice villa, Mahe, Seychelles - Great places to stay
The red roof of the guesthouse to the right of the church, as seen from the beach

What it is: Guesthouse

Where it’s located: Bel Ombre

When we visited: 2012

What other people think: Choice Villa on TripAdvisor

How to book: Choice Villa website

Pros

  • Large studio apartments with functional kitchen
  • Quite private
  • Very friendly and helpful owners and staff
  • Close to the popular Beau Vallon beach
  • Ocean view from the front lawn
  • Nearby provision store for groceries

Cons

  • Though the beach is across the road, access is 10 minutes’ walk further down

More about our trip: Six amazing discoveries we made in the Seychelles

Choice Villa, Mahe, Seychelles - Great places to stay
The view from the verandah
Choice Villa, Mahe, Seychelles - Great places to stay
The view from our bedroom window

2. Bird Island Lodge, Bird Island

Bird Island Lodge has probably been the most expensive place we’ve ever stayed in. But the incredible memories we took away from tiny Bird Island were worth every penny!

Bird Island Lodge, Seychelles - Great places to stay
Our cottage amidst the swaying palm(s)

What it is: Resort

Where it’s located: Bird Island

When we visited: 2012

What other people think, and how to book: Bird Island Lodge on TripAdvisor

Pros

  • The only resort on the entire tiny island
  • Very private
  • Large, airy cottages along the beach
  • The island is in a conservation zone, so many species of birds and turtles can be seen from very close
  • Highlight: Watching sea turtle hatchlings make their way down the beach and into the water
  • Brilliant blue water and pristine white beaches
  • Nice snorkelling just off the beach
  • Rates include all meals

Cons

  • Very pricey
  • Charges for the flight to and from Mahe island are extra, and steep (they used to be included in the room rate)
  • Rafts of seaweed floating around the island can sometimes make snorkelling difficult

More about our trip: Six amazing discoveries we made in the Seychelles

Bird Island Lodge, Seychelles - Great places to stay
The brilliant white and blue of the beach in front of our cottage
Bird Island Lodge, Seychelles
Sea turtle hatchlings scuttling down the beach

Uganda

1. The Haven, Jinja

We had a cup of tea at The Haven during our first visit to Jinja, and resolved we would come back and spend a night in that lovely place. And we did.

The Haven, Jinja, Uganda - Great places to stay
The view of the river from inside our cottage

What it is: Resort

Where it’s located: Overlooking Busowoko Falls

When we visited: 2018

What other people think, and how to book: The Haven on TripAdvisor

Pros

  • Tents, rooms and family cottages of various sizes
  • Even mid-range rooms are large and tastefully decorated
  • Spectacular view of the rapids on the White Nile river from the cottages and open dining area
  • Very good food, with generous portions
  • Reasonably eco-friendly, with electricity generated from solar panels

Cons

  • A little pricey
  • The pre-plated meals are so large that you’ll inevitably waste some food
  • Somewhat far out of Jinja, and very far from Kampala

More about our trip: An adrenaline rush on the White Nile in Jinja

The Haven, Jinja, Uganda - Great places to stay
Driving into The Haven
The Haven, Jinja, Uganda - Great places to stay
Yours truly trying to take some footage of the rapids from the dining deck

And there you have it. We’ve discovered a whole bunch of great places to stay in all the years we’ve been travelling (even though there are a few that we only wish we could’ve stayed in). I’m sure we’ll keep discovering new awesome places to stay in the coming years. And when we do, I’ll try and update this list as we go along.


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2 thoughts on “29 interesting, off-beat and overall great places to stay we’ve discovered while travelling

  1. This is an awesome resource! Nothing is better than a recommendation from a fellow traveller.have severe wanderlust to get ourselves back to India and stay in these cool places! Bookmarked this one for the future!Thanks so much!

    1. Thanks so much, Oli and Geoffo! So glad you think it’ll be useful to you on your travels 😊 If you do get to stay in one of these places, let me know how it goes.

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