The choice varies greatly depending on your budget and location. Cheap travel hotels are plentiful in big cities, where you can get a room for less than ₹ 450. Rooms in guesthouses with a double bed (and often a bathroom) can be found in many tourist locations for ₹150-200. Good budget hotels are not hard to find in India. You can find accommodation in clean dormitories in many Indian districts for as little as ₹50.
Most Indian stations have rooms or dormitories, are cheap, relatively well maintained (the beds, bedding, not the showers), and safe. There is also the added bonus of not being harassed by the rickshaw mafia, getting rid of your bag quickly, and for the adventurous, you are very likely to be able to hop on a cheap public bus back to the station, just ask. Remember that you must have an arrival or departure ticket for the station you want to stay at and there might be a limit to the number of nights you can stay.
Mid-range hotels are plentiful in the larger cities and are also expanding rapidly into second-tier towns. Reliable local chains include Country Inns, Ginger, and Neemrana, and prices vary from 1,000 to 4,000 euros per night. Local unbranded hotels can be found in every city, but the quality varies greatly.
For those who have the budget to afford it, you could try staying at the Grand Palace in Udaipur or at one of the modern 5-star hotels now available almost everywhere in the country. The pinnacle of Indian luxury lies with The Oberoi, Taj, and ITCWelcomgroup hotel chains, which operate hotels in all major cities and throughout Rajasthan. The usual international chains also operate large 5-star hotels in most major Indian cities, but due to India’s economic boom, availability is scarce and prices can be crazy: it’s not uncommon to pay over US$300 a night for what would be a very ordinary business hotel for a third of the price elsewhere. Note also that some jurisdictions, which include Delhi and Bangalore, impose a stiff luxury tax on house prices, which may result in unpleasant surprises when you check out.
Two important factors to consider when choosing accommodation are 1) safety and 2) cleanliness. Malaria is very common in certain areas of India – one of the best ways to combat malaria is to choose accommodation with air conditioning and sealed windows. An insect repellent spray containing DEET is also helpful.
Dak bungalows are found in many areas. These were built by the British to accommodate traveling officials and are now used by the Indian and state governments for the same purpose. If they have space, most will take tourists for a moderate fee. They are basic – ceiling fans instead of air-conditioning, shower but no bath – but clean, comfortable, and usually in good locations. The staff usually includes a retired soldier as a night watchman and perhaps another as a gardener; often the gardens are beautiful. Sometimes there is also a cook. One gets to know interesting Indian travelers this way.
Don’t rely on a reliable power supply unless you are staying in an upscale hotel. Power outages are common and many buildings have unsafe wiring.
Be sure to bring your passport, as most hotels will not rent out rooms without a valid passport.