Beyond traditional ideas of the Himalayas as perhaps a place for the most intrepid explorers, the Himalayas has something very special to offer those looking for the best luxury and everything in between.

Referred to by Hindus as devatma, or guardian angel, the world’s most notorious mountain range is much more to the people of India than simply a place of adventure and preeminent mountain scenery. The Indian Himalayas provide water and life to much of India – even the Holy Ganges has its sources in the Himalayas. It’s not difficult to see how the Himalayas earned the title devatma; the range is responsible for carrying fertile soil from the mountains to the plains and forming a natural climactic barrier against cold winds.

Not only are they one of Mother Earth’s more awe-inspiring phenomena but there’s also a variety of incredible hotels to visit on the Himalayan journey. In this blog, we go through just a small handful of the excellent places to stay in the midst of this mighty mountain range.

Best for Adventurers

Atali Ganga

This is really the perfect place for someone looking for adventure, excitement and adrenaline. Atali Ganga is located 30km north of Rishikesh at Atali Dogi in the valley of the Upper Ganges; ideally positioned to explore the Himalayas and the Holy Hindu city of Rishikesh, the so-called Yoga Capital of the World.

There’s a lot of high-octane, challenging activities at Atali Ganga, such as river rafting on the Ganges or kayaking with the Aquaterra Adventure Kayak school. There’s also Himalayan mountain biking, a high ropes course, wall climbing and Yoga, so it’s basically guaranteed there’ll be adventure for all the family. Paradoxically, it’s also a uniquely peaceful place, with 22 private cottages overlooking the Ganges valley set amidst a reserved forest, you can be sure to find tranquillity here, or in the on-site spa and library. Read more about trekking in the Himalayas in our blog here. 

Best for 7-star luxury

Wildflower Hall: An Oberoi Resort

Offering one of the most striking locations of any hotel in the world at over 8200 feet up, Wildflower Hall gives ample opportunity to immerse yourself in the mountain scenery while enjoying the luxury service that has made this hotel iconic across the world. The former residence of Lord Kitchener, commander in chief of the British army in the nineteenth century, the hotel truly embodies the aura of an opulent stately home.

Yet, with a hot tub and pool looking out over the mountains, Wildflower Hall offers something that other similarly luxurious hotels cannot, and so it is not difficult to see why Wildflower Hall placed in the top ten luxury hotels in the world (TripAdvisor Travelers Choice Awards, 2019). Children under twelve are not allowed, ensuring that your experience here will be a peaceful one.

Beyond what one would expect from a luxury hotel, Wildflower hall offers unique experiences; a private nature walk followed by a picnic hamper on the grounds of a 19th bungalow, overlooking the Himalayas. If you’re looking for something more active, see the wonders of the Himalayas at pace on a mountain biking tour. Alternatively, you can take the opportunity to utterly recharge through a 3-hour traditional Indian spa experience with your partner.

The Oberoi Sukhvilas

The Oberoi name is more or less synonymous with quality; still, the Sukhvilas Spa Resort in New Chandigarh is a pretty special offering from Oberoi. This resort hides in the foothills of the outer Himalayas, surrounded by 8,000 acres of protected natural forest, so ‘secluded’ seems like an understatement.

The Oberoi Sukhvilas was named ‘One of the World’s Greatest Places’ by Time Magazine in 2018 for good reason, since this an extraordinary place to connect with spirit. The philosophy of the Spa centres around the concept of Sukh, a Sanskrit word meaning inner sense of happiness and contentment, where your inner beauty is realized and radiates outwards into the world. They offer a range of Spa treatments and experiences with ALQVIMIA, using purely natural products and methods based on ancient alchemical wisdom, to encourage the development of spirit and well-being. One of their particularly special offerings is Ayuverda, a time-honoured system of Indian medicine to restore bodily vitality and spiritual balance, as well as removing physical ailments.

There’s also a striking range of experiences for the whole family to enjoy, to name but a view; a private helicopter tour of Amritsar, mountain biking in the Siswan forest, forest bathing, golfing in Chandigarh and private Yoga sessions. Your children surely won’t get bored at Sukhvillas- electric bikes offer a fun mode of transport around the vast resort, with swimming lessons, archery and a huge range of activities on offer which are fully supervised.

Best for cultural tourists

Taj Rishikesh Resort & Spa, Uttarakhand

We bring to you the Taj Rishikesh Resort and Spa. This resort is again located close to Rishikesh (though at 30km, far enough away to be free of the bustle of the city) and sits on the banks of the Ganges. A particularly special experience is a visit to the Devprayag, a place of profoundly mystical significance. Devprayag is one of the Panch Prayag, that is, one of the five sacred river confluences in the state of Uttarakhand or Deva Bhumi, the land of Gods. Devaprayaga means ‘divine confluence’ and, according to Hindu scriptures, it is the sacred merging of two heavenly rivers Alakananda and Bhagirathi to form the Holy Ganges – indeed, according to Hindu myth, there is a third underground river that belongs to this confluence, Saraswati. According to mythology, the name gets its place from Deva Sharma who performed such austere religious devotions at the confluence that it was blessed by Rama, incarnation of Vishnu. The experience involves a holy bath at the Sangam (the confluence itself) followed by a Sattvic lunch.

Surrounded by rivers, mountain and wildlife the resort’s peacefulness is supplemented by the Jiva Spa, a wellness sanctuary influenced the energy, strength and generosity of the Ganges. Raj Rishikesh is a particularly good location for Yoga and Meditation and also offers camping experiences, Himalayan Mountain Drives and Treks and Ganga Aarti ceremonies.

Best Darjeeling offering

The notorious summer destination of the British during India’s colonial period, Darjeeling offers charming greenery and tea estates amongst the mountains. Embodying this history, Glenburn Tea Estates was started in 1859 by a Scottish tea company, and then taken over by the ‘Chaiwala’ family- which translates literally to ‘tea-planters’.

Today, Glenburn is still a fully functional tea estate, and a boutique hotel set within 1000 acres of private forest, with two rivers running through it. With the opportunity to experience the tea harvesting process and tasting, Glenburn offers a unique mix of history within an extremely peaceful and scenic environment. Conde Nast Traveller described Glenburn as a ‘corner of heaven’, which gives its guests classic elegance and luxury with history and compelling experiences.

Read about the striking and rare snow leopards of the Himalayas in our blog.