DELHI IS A VAST, teeming megalopolis. It’s the capital of the world’s largest democracy, India, and one of the most historical cities on earth. Old Delhi is a warren of bazaars, New Delhi is a planned city on a grand scale, and suburbs like Gurgaon and Noida sprawl in every direction. Delhi is a city that is daunting to most visitors, and for good reason: it’s huge, traffic-clogged, noisy, polluted … and one of the most interesting and exciting cities you will ever visit.
Love it or hate it, Delhi is where many visitors to India land. Some see Delhi as a necessary evil, but others — like me — have learned to love the city. In my blog post Delhi Guide: My top tips, I pointed out that location really is everything. If you stay in Connaught Place, Pahar Ganj or Karol Bagh — where most of the budget hotels are — you are 14* times less likely to love Delhi than if you stay in a more salubrious area. Keep reading for my top choices for hotels in Delhi.
On the roof at The Rose in Hauz Khas Village
Hotels in Delhi
In a post I wrote about Delhi My top tips, I wrote: “My top Delhi tip is to stay away from the hustle and bustle. Stay instead in the leafy, upscale neighbourhoods of central New Delhi, South Delhi, or Mehrauli. Look for accommodation in home stays, guesthouses, or small boutique hotels. There are lots to choose from and more coming up every day.”
I took my own advice in Delhi over the past year and stayed in several accommodations located in South Delhi that I would recommend to anyone — and that includes solo female travelers.
I recommend searching these neighbourhoods: Hauz Khas, Green Park, Greater Kailash and Kailash Colony, Panchsheel, Lodhi, Jorbagh, Safdarjung Enclave, South Extension, Sunder Nagar, Malvya Nagar, Saket, Vasant Vihar, Vasant Kunj, Mehrauli, Defence Colony, Lajpat Nagar, New Friends Colony.
Back garden entrance to my lovely flat in South Delhi
FlipKey: A room of my own
Over the past nine years that I have been traveling to India, I have stayed with friends — a Punjabi family — in their home in South Delhi. But this year due to changing circumstances, I stayed in a number of different places, and in self-contained apartments.
“Find the perfect place to stay for your trip, and get great value along with the space, privacy and amenities of home.”
Loved making tea in my flat
Veg stand outside my Airbnb apartment in South Delhi
Airbnb: All the comforts of home
Airbnb is another great choice for booking unique accommodations with all the comforts of home. In Delhi there are more than 1,000 listings, from a room to an entire house (and lots more listings all over India, especially Goa).
On Airbnb, you can search using many different criteria, from a map to room type to price, and you can also check availability. You can contact the host, and check out their profiles, and make sure they are verified; and you can read reviews by other guests — which I highly recommend!
The rooftop of my Airbnb apartment in South Delhi
You stay in a real person’s home, and if you connect with the person, you make a friend. Having a friend in a foreign city — especially a city like Delhi, that is so big and overwhelming — is worth its weight in gold.
My lovely living room at The Rose
The Rose: Perfect by any other name
The Rose is an inside secret and I am loathe to tell anyone about it … but I must as it deserves good business. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind place, in a superb location.
The Rose is a guest house with 12 rooms, designed by a French man with exquisite taste, and right smack inside trendy Hauz Khas Village. All of the rooms overlook the forest behind Hauz Khas Village, so you get to wake up to greenery, birds and the sound of a cricket bat as local children play in the forest.
Tastefully designed bedroom at The Rose
I stayed at The Rose for two blissful days at the end of my recent seventh-month trip to India. After all the running around, staying with friends, travelling, hustle and bustle of Delhi … I just needed some peace and quiet, some down time, some me time. And I got it at The Rose.
The rooftop of The Rose in Hauz Khas Village
There is something very light, feminine and intimate about The Rose. I’m not surprised it is a favourite of women and solo female travelers. There are four categories of room, all good, but different sizes. I had the second-highest category and I loved my suite. It had a large living room, a luxurious bathroom and a separate walk-in closet, which is basically unheard of in a guesthouse.
There’s also a charming ground-floor restaurant and of course, right when you walk out the door, you’re in Hauz Khas with all it’s charming, twisty lanes chock-a-block with bistros, bars and boutiques.
Common areas at Thikana are anything but common
Thikana: Delhi’s ideal guesthouse
I wrote about Thikana before, without doubt one of the leading guesthouses in Delhi, in every way. Beautifully decorated, well located, safe, clean and run by friendly, helpful and efficient people — what more could you ask for? Thikana is located in a very posh area — Gulmohar Park, near Hauz Khas and Green Park in South Delhi — and it’s lovely.
Thikana owners Sheetal and Atul are not only friendly and helpful, they have done a masterful job turning a large, elegant family home into a luxurious and comfortable guesthouse. There are many good reasons to stay here, but the best one is that you become part of the family.
The park across the street from my flat
The City’s Best Hotels
Delhi has more outstanding 5-star hotels than any city in India, and this is the place to splash out. Even if you take overnight trains, stay in small guest houses and rough it on the road, Delhi is the place to seek some comfort and luxury, if only for a night or two. These are some of my top choices for providing a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle. Your body and spirit will revive!
- ITC Maurya is where world leaders like Barack Obama stay when in Delhi, and Bukhara, one of the hotel’s restaurants, is regularly voted the best restaurant in India. Is that enough reason for you? I wrote about my stay at ITC Maurya in 24 hours in hotel heaven.
- Red Maple is a cross between a guest house and a small boutique hotel. It is very comfortable, with very high standards of cleanliness and amenities.
- The Imperial is a grand, old Raj-era hotel that has been completely refurbished, and gleams and shines like new. It’s location on Janpath near Connaught Place is ideal, and one of the hotel’s restaurants, Spice Route, is superb: it has been voted one of the world’s most beautiful restaurants. I always stop for tea at least once while in Delhi, to soak up the atmosphere.
- Claridges is a good, comfortable choice if you are on a stricter budget. It’s located in South Delhi, has expansive grounds and lots of amenities including good restaurants.
- The Park is centrally located and very sleek. Fun place for a night out.
- Hyatt Regency is another favourite, I love the pool and the expansive lobby.
- Taj Hotels and Oberoi are always good of course, you can’t go wrong. I especially like the Taj Mansingh, which is in central Delhi and is known for its elegant coffee shop.