Last Updated: Mar 31, 2017 

Darjeeling Hotels Guide

 
 
How to book a hotel in Darjeeling or Sikkim? 
In order to get the list of the prominent hotels in Darjeeling of various categories (budget to upscale), enter your check-in and check-out dates in the search box below and click the search button. 
 
Booking.com  
 
You can see hotels along with amenities, guest reviews &áscores, room rates etc. You can also change the location on the search box and see hotels in places like Gangtok, Kalimpong, Mirik or any other location. You can sort the hotel list by price, star ratings, review score etc (see the sort bar on top of the hotel list). Once you select a hotel, you can go on to book the hotel online at an attractive low rate. This service is provided by world's no.1 online hotel booking site. 
 
Watch out for... 
 
Hotels on lease! 
Irrespective of their category (i.e. budget or upscale), the best hotels are often run by the owners themselves and have traditionally been family run businesses. There are also lot many hotels that coexist and run on lease. While there are exceptions, management of most hotels that run on lease have the main objective of somehow making money so that they can pay back the lease amount to the main owner of the property and then start making good profits. 
 
I have been a long time traveler and visiting Darjeeling since past many years as a travel writer. During my many interactions with hotel owners, I have figured out that many hotels that are running on lease have a practice of holding on to several empty rooms during the high season while declining further booking to the travel agents or even to the incoming phone inquiries. But if you land up and ask for rooms, you will likely get it. So what's the story here? 
 
 
 
This is when and how they make opportunistic money. They know that there would be many flying visitors who land up in the hill town even during peak season and hope to get instant accommodations. This is when they charge several times the usual tariff. And I know of hotels in Darjeeling that even drop prior bookings to accommodate instant customers. 
 
So do you think such hotels can actually be great for tourists? If not, then the next question is how do you know which are the ones who do not indulge in such practices and rather focus on a long term pleasant experience to their guests. I'll answer that question later. But let me share a few more insights first. 
 
Room Heating in Darjeeling Hotels 
There is no central heating in the hotels in Darjeeling. The smaller hotels offer small heaters or blowers at an extra charge. The larger hotels have better heaters in the rooms including fireplaces in some. So pack your clothes accordingly particularly in the winter. In peak winter, look for hotels that have electrical bed warming system. Several hotels including a few budget hotels have started installing such beds in the rooms to offer real value to their guests. You can control the warmth and temperature of the bed all through the night and that can be very effective during the winter. 
 
Water Supply in Darjeeling hotels 
In Darjeeling almost all hotels of all types end up purchasing water for use in the bathrooms. The corporation water supply from Ghoom area is completely inadequate to meet the running demands of the hotels. Early in the morning, you will often see trucks unloading portable fiber water tanks at the hotels and picking up the empty ones. I was told by a hotel owner that he could lower his tariff by as much as 20% if he didn't have to purchase the water. Several hotels have stickers pasted on the bathroom doors saying "Please use water sparingly". 
 
Try to avoid drinking water supplied by the hotel even if it's filtered. The water quality in this hill town is not good and it can easily spoil your vacation. Try to buy and drink mineral or package drinking water even if that adds to your cost. 
 
Taxi limitations to reach hotels in Darjeeling 
In Darjeeling, taxis are not allowed in some areas that are designated pedestrian zones. For example, if you are taking up an accommodation in Chowrasta Mall area, you will need to leave your taxi at the stand below Nehru Road or near Gorkha Bhavan on Mall Road and walk for few minutes. You will get porters almost everywhere, so carrying your luggage is not a problem. Hotel staff also help carry the luggage. 
 
For hotels along Nehru Road and around Mall area, vehicles are not allowed to come up to the hotel entrance. The Mall is about 5 minutes uphill walk from the base of Nehru Road. If you are travelling light or have trolley bags, you may not even need porters. But you should be prepared to walk a bit. So while booking, check out with the hotel if a taxi can drop you right at the entrance of the hotel and pick you up. 
 
 
 
Combining meals with your stay 
Many hotels that have their own restaurants and particularly the upscale ones support various meal plans. Which means they can combine the meals as part of the rates. Here are some of the plans that you may get: 
 
EP (European Plan): Lodging only, i.e., rate does not include any food. 
CP (Continental Plan): Rate includes Continental breakfast only. 
AP (American Plan): Rate includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. 
MAP (Modified American Plan): Rate includes breakfast and one meal, usually dinner. 
 
So is it a good idea to go for rooms with meal plans in Darjeeling instead of lodging only option? Well combined rate is cheaper than what you would pay separately. But the meal plans will not only restrict you to set meals or limited choices, you won't have the option of eating out. And in Darjeeling, how can I let go an opportunity to take meals at heritage restaurants like Glenary's or Keventers? So I may be open to take CP plan or at the most MAP, because I am likely to be out during lunch for sightseeing, and may decide not to go out of hotel for breakfast and dinner. 
 
Should you book rooms directly or through agents? 
This is a tricky question because almost the whole world is moving on making hotel reservations through online or offline booking agencies. It is so convenient plus they offer rankings based on guest reviews, cost etc, and almost all agencies will claim to offer the lowest price as well as instant confirmation. Apparently it all looks great! But there can be several limitations if you book hotels through agencies and not directly. Here is why I am saying this: 
 
Do you think that you can ask for a view room when booking through an agency? I know that's a major consideration of many visitors. Who wouldn't want a sweeping view of the Kanchenjunga while sipping a cup of tea in the morning? Many hotels including budget ones offer views, but only from limited number of rooms and that too in some categories. How do you ensure one? Only if you talk to the owner or the Front Desk manager and book directly, you have a good chance of getting one unless you are ready to pay for the room with highest rate which normally would have views. 
 
 
 
Even today, the good hotels in Darjeeling follow the simple system of trust. Most hotels in Darjeeling will confirm booking with an advance of 1 or 2 nights which you can pay through bank transfers. Do you have that option through the travel sites? No. You will need to pay up in full. However in direct bookings, you should always take email confirmation of your room bookings. 
 
I have had numerous discussions with many hotel owners in Darjeeling and heard strange stories about both online and offline travel agencies. In short, very few of them keep current and up to date inventory (i.e. stock) of rooms. But they offer instant confirmations although the hotel may have already gone full. So when you land up, the hotel can't honor the booking. There can not be a more terrible situation than this, but this happens in high season. We don't come to know about such cases and the hotel owner under pressure tries to make some alternative arrangements for such guests. 
 
Another case... how often do you see online travel companies offering 30 to 50% discounts on some hotels and stamping them as "Lowest Rate Guarantee"? Well, what do you think is the story here? Sometimes they hike up the rate and then discount it heavily. As a result you seem to get a room of Rs. 5,000 at Rs. 2,500. Fantastic!!! But the actual room rate is perhaps Rs. 2,700. But having booked a room on such offer and with a feel of a lucky winner, you will surely expect a luxury room worth Rs. 5,000, won't you? 
 
Now imagine the position of the hotel manager or the owner. Can he ever satisfy you? He doesn't have a room worth Rs. 5,000/- in his hotel. So be careful of many such unscrupulous online booking agencies. There are of course few exceptions in booking sites who do a good job. In fact I personally go through the user reviews of one or two good ones before I approach a new hotel even today. 
 
Should you book hotel rooms in advance? 
If you are visiting Darjeeling during the high season (which is usually from April to mid June, and October to early January), you must book well in advance. These days the good hotels get full months in advance. For high season, ideally you should book about 3-4 months in advance if you are looking for a quality hotel in Darjeeling area. 
 
During off season (mid Jan to mid March, and July to early September), you can get rooms as you walk in. But in order to get the right room of your choice, you should always book in advance. In recent past I visited Darjeeling in March, and all good hotels were surprisingly running full. So tourist flow has certainly increased in recent time. 
Indicative rates by category 
Top of the line luxury hotels usually have fixed rate through out the year. Some hotels publish seasonal rates (i.e. separate rates for high, mid and low seasons). Others offer discounts on their standard published rates during the off season. The low or the off season in Darjeeling and Sikkim areas are the peak winter time (i.e. mid Jan through mid March) and the monsoon time (July to mid September). 
 
 
 
Another point, keep in mind that most hotels will add a 10% Service Charge to the room tariffs in addition to Government Service Tax. So the effective room charges you pay is actually 10% more than what you see in the declared rates. 
 
Category Low Budget: Rs. 1200 - Rs. 1,600 per night. 
Category Budget: áááááááRs. 1600 - Rs. 2,200 per night. 
Category 2 Star: ááááááááRs. 2,200 - Rs. 4,000 per night. 
Category 3 Star: ááááááááRs. 4,000 - Rs. 6,000 per night. 
Category 4 Star: ááááááááRs. 6,000 - 9,000 per night 
Category 5 Star: ááááááááRs. 9,000 upwards 
 
Reviews &áratings of hotels in Darjeeling 
Now back to the original question of how do you know which are the good and not so good hotels? Over the past many years in my search for quality accommodations in Darjeeling, I have gone around and stayed in numerous hotels and lodgings. While I must say that the exploration continues even today, I can share all my experience and findings to help you make the right judgement. 
 
 
 
Listed below are the hotels that I have explored personally. Look at my ratings and go through my detailed reviews, and you will know which is what... Good, Bad, Ugly?? And for more information about how to choose the right hotels, go through these questions &áanswers
 
Hotel
Rating
Category
Location
 
 
 
 
4.0/5
Budget
Gandhi Road, 6 mins walk to Mall
 
4.5/5
Budget
CR Das Rd, 3 mins walk to Mall
4.0/5
Budget
Zakir Hussain Rd, on a hill above town (15-18 mins walk to Mall)
3.5/5
Low Budget
Zakir Hussain Rd, 20 mins walk from Mall
4.5/5
Low 
Budget
Gandhi Road, 15 mins walk to Mall
3.5/5
Budget
Gandhi Road, 10 mins walk to Mall
3.5/5
Budget
Gandhi Rd Taxi Stand, 5 mins to Mall
3.5/5
Low Budget
H D Lama Rd, 5 mins walk to Mall
 
3.5/5
Budget
Gandhi Road, 10 mins walk to Mall
3.5/5
Budget
Zakir Hussain Rd, 15 mins walk to Mall
3.5/5
Budget
Coochbehar Rd, 15 mins walk to Mall
3.5/5
Budget
NB Sing Road, 5 mins walk to Mall
3.5/5
Budget
On Mall
4.0/5
Low Budget
On Mall Road (East), 6 minutes walk to Mall
2.5/5
Low Budget
Zakir Hussain Rd, 12 mins walk to Mall
Andy's Guesthouse
4.0/5
Low 
Budget
Zakir Hussain Road, 4 mins walk to Mall (No Indians, foreigners only)
 
3.0/5
Low Budget
Zakir Hussain Rd, 20 mins walk from Mall
3.5/5
Budget
Nehru Road, 2 mins walk to Mall
3.0/5
Budget
Gandhi Road, 10 mins walk to Mall
2.5/5
Budget
Nehru Road, Chowrasta Mall
3.0/5
Budget
Gandhi Road, 15 mins walk to Mall
2.5/5
Budget
Robertson Rd, near Gandhi Rd taxi stand
 
 
 
 
 
Hotel
Rating
Category
Location
 
 
 
 
4.0/5
2 Star
Gandhi Road, 1 min walk to Mall
4.0/5
2 Star
Gandhi Road, 10 mins walk to Mall
4.0/5
2 Star
Coochbehar Road (off Gandhi Road), 5 mins walk to Mall
4.0/5
2 Star
Lebong Cart Rd. 1km from bus stand. Lovely view of tea estate.
4.0/5
2 Star
Gandhi Road, 12 mins walk to Mall
4.0/5
2 Star
Bhanu Sarani, 7 mins walk to Mall
4.0/5
2 Star
AJC Bose Road, 15 mins walk to Mall
4.0/5
2 Star
Gandhi Road, 15 mins walk to Mall
4.0/5
2 Star
Robertson Road, 5 mins to Mall
3.5/5
2 Star
Gandhi Road, 5 mins walk to Mall
3.5/5
2 Star
On Mall
3.5/5
2 Star
Gandhi Road, 5 mins walk to Mall
3.5/5
2 Star
On Mall
3.0/5
2 Star
Gandhi Road, 15 mins walk to Mall
3.0/5
2 Star
Gandhi Road, 12 mins walk to Mall
3.5/5
2 Star
Gandhi Rd Taxi Stand, 5 mins to Mall
3.5/5
2 Star
3.5km from town on Gandhi Road
3.0/5
2 Star
On the Mall Road, near Governor House
3.0/5
2 Star
HD Lama Road, 10 mins walk to Mall
 
Hotel
Rating
Category
Location
 
 
 
 
4.0/5
3 Star
Gandhi Road, 12 mins walk to Mall
4.0/5
3 Star
Mall Road, 3-4 mins walk to Mall
4.0/5
3 Star
CR Das Road, 200 yards from Mall
4.0/5
3 Star
Near Raj Bhawan, 4-5 Mins to Mall
3.5/5
3 Star
Near Raj Bhawan, 4-5 Mins to Mall
4.0/5
3 Star
On Mall road, 1 min walk from Mall
3.5/5
3 Star
Located at Ghum (8kms from Darj)
 
 
 
 
4.5/5
4 Star
Zakir Hussain Rd, on a hill
4.5/5
4 Star
Gandhi Road, 6 mins walk to Mall
4.5/5
4 Star
HD Lama Road, 5 mins walk to Mall
4.0/5
4 Star
Robertson Road, 5 mins walk to mall
4.5/5
4 Star
Singtom Tea Estate, 25-30 mins drive from downtown (Clocktower area).
4.0/5
4 Star
HD Lama Road, at busy town center and 5 minute walk to chowrasta mall.
 
 
 
 
4.0/5
4 Star
Mall Road, 3-4 mins walk to Mall
4.5/5
4 Star
Mall Road, 2 mins walk to Mall
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Related Articles 
 
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3) Top Budget Hotels in Darjeeling: These are in my view the best of the cheap hotels in Darjeeling who really bring value for money on the table. 
 
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6) Cheap Holiday Homes in Darjeeling: If you are looking for even cheaper accommodations which are quite decent at the same time, then these may be just the right ones for you. 
 
7) Great hotels for kids &áFamilies: Here are some of the best hotels in Darjeeling which the kids &áchildrn will love and so will the family members. 
 
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9) Homestays in Darjeeling: Are you looking for home like environment where you are able to chat with the local families, understand the local culture and have home made food? 
 
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Visitors' Reviews/Comments 
 
Biplov Rai, Darjeeling 
Dear Sir, Greetings! It was a great joy surfing through your site. The suggestions are golden and really accurate. It is good to find someone who truly admires Darjeeling so much. Your effort isn't just helpful for the tourist but for the locals too. Some of the truthful statements regarding the rates of hotels and the misguidance done by the lease hoteliers are very true, your job is truly appreciated by me. Once again thank you for your selfless and bold steps. May God bless you and fulfill your hearts desire.