Budget Stays in Delhi
Credit: Courtesy The Rose

My favorite uncle and aunt have told me that the reason they can travel for three months a year is because they don’t blow their budget on fancy accommodations (and especially won’t be seen checking into any hotel that has a conference room, when that’s the last thing they need). Indeed, having a budget need not slow you down when you are choosing a hotel in Delhi—but some options may be too bare-bones for you, depending on what amenities you really cherish and which you can do without. Despite looking for the basics—a soft, clean bed and hot running water—I usually can’t help mentally seeking a television screen and some access to a minibar or room service. Delhi has got a phenomenal number of affordable guesthouses and inns, but if you’re looking someplace that actually makes you look forward to coming back after a long day, here are my five favorites.

Bloom Rooms

The clever folks behind Bloom Rooms took away all the extraneous hotel stuff—conference halls, swimming pools, ballrooms—that so many of us don’t use, especially in a city hotel, and focused all their energy on making things just right in their supremely neat rooms. Free Wi-Fi and the TV/computer lounge are great for people looking for distraction; highlights at both locations include the fresh, white-and-lemon-yellow palette, nice showers and even nicer bath products.

The Rose

You could call it urban chic, or you could say it’s boutique—but we in Delhi know that The Rose, known by any other name, would still be pretty sweet. And in how many ways do we love thee? Let's start with the whitewashed walls, contemporary art, funky floor lamps, carefully strewn poufs, a restaurant that holds its own, and live jazz music on weekends.

Bed & Chai

The two guesthouses under the Bed & Chai banner are run by two French ladies who have made India home. The rooms are done with elegance: simple, but with an ethnic touch, including tea kettles found in unexpected places. Breakfast and Wi-Fi are both included in your rate; highlights include the terraces and common areas, conducive to mingling with like-minded travelers over chai.

The Visaya

Located in Panschila Park, Visaya does all the usual stuff hotels do, but with a distinct ethos. Inspired by ancient, Vedic aesthetics, the hotel feels almost spa-like in the common areas. When you retreat to your room, however, you can expect all the good things you would in a hotel with a much higher price—like turndown service.

Colonel’s Retreat

Think of the most tasteful friend you have, and you’ll have a sense of the ambience at this cozy hotel that feels like a home. We love the family feel of the common areas, as well as home-cooked, healthy and delicious meals on request. That said, you still get a mini fridge, electronic safe and free Wi-Fi.