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About Us

THE UNHOTEL & HOW IT ALL STARTED

The Unhotel Company is a new age ‘Experiences’ company that does hand-picked accommodation, offbeat trips & treks and some very cool events.
 

 

 

All our 50-odd unhotels have been referred to us by friends or experts in the travel trade. We have been to each one of them. Spent time with the hosts. Sampled the food and snooped around the local area. Led trips to many of our unhotels. No, we are not yet-another-list-&-book-site.

 

 

Our experiences range from – wellness & yoga retreats, adventure trips, wildlife safaris, mountain treks, food trails, cultural and music events. These are all curated by domain experts and special interest groups.
At the Unhotel Company we do both fixed date departures (that’s how they say in the travel trade) as well as bespoke trips and experiences. And refrain from giving cookie-cutter travel solutions. So, in the odd event that you come to us looking for the best deal, we are not the right place!

 

 

Our focus is to offer authentic and local experiences in all parts of India.
Don’t club us with the regular travel company. Given our corporate background with people-facing jobs, we know the mind of the new age traveller better than most.
We are often asked this question – How did it all start, why is it called ‘Unhotel’? So here’s our story…

 

 

In 2009, we (Shilpi, me and our 6 year old son Neo) moved from Bombay to Gurgaon. An adman, with an HR wife looking for a house in a depressed realty market. We had a surfeit of choices. Found a largish villa that became the first of the Unhotels – ‘Cinnamon Stays’ – a bed & breakfast in concrete Gurgaon and a haven to indulge my artistic self; but most importantly a place where ‘strangers become friends’. In 2014 – Cinnamon was ranked 15th amongst all homestays in India by Tripadvisor.
That year we also started Granny’s Inn – a small inn run by my fiesty mother-in-law in one of the most ancient, spiritual and chaotic cities of the planet – Varanasi. Granny’s inn was nominated for the Outlook Responsible Tourism awards in 2018.

 

 

In the middle of 2016, while doing a workshop on Krishna Consciousness we decided to become a Travel Company instead of merely running homestays. And the Unhotel which had been an ‘idea-in-the-head’ for the longest time began taking shape. The Unhotel (unlike-a-hotel) to us is a warm, friendly accommodation with loads of character and creativity. Along the way, we decided we would create a chain that cares for the planet more than profits. And is focussed on people rather than just an ROI number!

 

 

Today, we are a growing business, with a few dedicated verticals. #reclaimyspace – where we focus on trips and treks specially designed for women. Unlearn is our playful and outdoorsy learning vertical. It’s here that we mash up travel and learning – outside the rigid boundaries of a classroom or a corporate boardroom. And finally Unbound – our cause and give-back-to-the-planet vertical – here we do voluntourism, work with NGOs, companies, individuals and families similar in ethos to us.
Today, we work with almost 50 unhotel partners, dozens of corporates, freelance artists, Sahpathi – an early childhood and primary education program, that envisions to bridge the learning deficit in India and StriveOn – a mobile app based company that creates location aware interactive engagements!

 

This Is Who We Are

We are a Story led Experiences company. Providing hand-picked accommodation, tailor-made journeys & creative experiences to a discerning audience. Quality, integrity and creativity in our products and services matter most to us.

 

 

Our Core Values:

  1. The Fun is in the ‘Un’ – always a Creative take on the familiar – unhotels, unlearning, unplanned, unbound possibilities
  2. Through our products and services we help ‘strangers become friends’
  3. We believe in the power of Stories – of people, places, culture and art.
  4. We love to Collaborate – everyone we will ever meet knows something we don’t.
  5. Make Promises we can Keep.
  6. We aim to be a Planet Positive company. Everything that we do should add back more to the planet than we take away.

THE UNHOTELIERS

ARE A SMALL BAND OF CORPORATE RENEGADES. MAY THEIR TRIBE INCREASE



Manish Sinha
FOUNDER, CEO

A passionate adman, Manish spent over 2 decades in the advertising industry where he helped build digital marketing & communication strategies for the likes of Airtel, Samsung and Nokia. Stints at JWT, Ogilvy, Leo Burnett, Mudra and finally as Chief Strategy Officer at Digitas.

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He took the road less traveled and forayed into entrepreneurship as Co-founder of Oravel.com (now Oyo Rooms) and later as Founder of Cinnamon Stays and Granny’s Inn. He is the National Entrepreneurship Winner – ET Lufthansa 2013. Manish dabbles in copy-writing, storytelling, entrepreneur mentoring, social causes and some serious traveling!


Shilpi Singh
CO-FOUNDER

A Leadership Coach and a Diversity Champion with 15 years of active HR corporate experience in companies like Ogilvy and IMG, Shilpi is now engaged with Women Leadership. She is the Managing Partner & Head – Coaching Practice of Biz Divas India and is in the Top 100 HR influencer List on Twitter.

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Shilpi loves to connect with people especially from the area of traveling and is an active blogger.


Shalini Mishra
Travel Expert

With an enriched experience in the travel industry spanning over 12 years , Shalini believes in learning something new everyday. An energetic multi-tasker and a thorough executor of plans, she is an eternal optimist who likes to travel to new places.

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When she is not making travel plans for her guests, you can find her playing with her rescued dog . She enjoys singing, acting and dancing - quite a Heroine in the Unhotel family!


THE UNHOTEL STAYS HAVE A STORY. OF THEIR OWNERS, THE HOSTS, OR OF THE PLACE. THE LOCAL ECOSYSTEM. AND WILL MAKE YOU REMINISCE, “IT WAS SO UNLIKE-A-HOTEL”.
— MANISH SINHA

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the Unhotel?

We are a collection of hand-picked cottages, heritage homes, luxury camps, jungle lodges, the best of homestays, beach villas and other non-hotel like accommodation. The Unhotel is not a destination or a single property. It’s a collective of ‘home-inside-a-hotel’ kind of places and their proud owners.

Who is it for?

For anyone who is bored with the cookie cutter hotels and is looking for a more offbeat, creative, bespoke accommodation. The Unhotel is the place to select and book their next holiday experience. For explorers, creative folks and guests looking for comfort-with-character. The seekers of authentic, luxury and the local. The eco-conscious and the lovers of stumbleupon and quirkiness.

Who should avoid us?

People looking ONLY for hotel-like luxury or comfort, the standard regular fare, always a resort with a swimming pool and a gym. Travelers who always like to be close to places of entertainment and shopping. Then our Unhotels are definitely not for you!

Is the Unhotel an OTA ( Online Travel Agent) ?

No we are NOT an OTA. We are curators of boutique non-hotel accommodation and experiences.
We help discerning travellers like you discover ‘Unhotel’ places, trips and treks. And only recommend places that we have checked out ourselves and hand-picked for you.
Yes we also sell rooms. But together with an experience. And help maintain service quality standards.
We are not a warehouse of hotel rooms. We are the storytellers and curators of hidden gems in travel.

Will I get the Best Price if I book through the Unhotel?

We have a good rapport and relationship with all our ‘Unhotel’ owners. So unless a travel company or OTA discounts their rates. We offer the best price.
However, we are not in the business of discounted rooms. Please don’t come to us if all you are seeking is cheaper room nights. Come to us for the best experiences and memories. For the romance of travel and tailor-made journeys.

Why should I book through the Unhotel?

There are five main reasons
 
– Many of our Unhotels are not listed on different travel websites. The owners like you are tired of the mass marketing of hospitality. So, you will only find these places here.
 
– We will help you maximise your stay with tips and trivia. At least one Unhotel member has been to each of these places. So, we can advise on the stay, food, treks, things to do, photography, flora and fauna.
 
– We do regular events and retreats at the Unhotels. These are unique experiences – from creativity and innovation workshops, to yoga and meditation, to pottery and the arts. You may not find these creative options elsewhere.
 
– We do quality audits to maintain great service standards at all our Unhotels. We only pick-up places that have consistently high guest reviews and ratings.
 
– We have an awesome ‘Club Unhotel’. Once you are part of this inner circle, you get regular updates on new experiences and Unhotels. The more you stay with us, the more value you get out of the Unhotel Club.