Rishikesh is spread out over a number of areas, which is important when deciding where to stay. The most happening areas, Swag Ashram (the main center for spiritual seekers, where Parmarth Niketan is located) and Laxman Jhula (a lively traveler's area with lots of cafes), on the eastern bank are not readily accessible by vehicle. If carrying your luggage around is an issue, a stay on the western bank is preferable. The High Bank traveler's enclave is located on a hill between Ram Jhula and Laxman Jhula. Tapovan is a little further up from Laxman Jhula, and is quieter.
These five Rishikesh hotels and guesthouses offer excellent accommodations for those visiting Rishikesh on a budget. Do ask for a discount during non-peak times! For other smaller guesthouses which are many, it's best to just turn up.
Seventh Heaven Inn is a new and hugely popular boutique hotel in the Tapovan area of Rishikesh. Run by an Indian and his English partner, service standards are high and the rooms are light and spacious -- and beautifully furnished in a way that blends Indian and European styles. Each room has a balcony with a forest and mountain view. There's a fabulous rooftop restaurant as well. You won't want to leave! Expect to pay 1,500-2,000 rupees for a single and 2,000-2,500 rupees for a double, per night.
Ganga Vatika Guest House is a little different in that it offers guests rooms in European style apartments. The apartment complex is attached to Yogalaya Ashram and situated near Ram Jhula. Guests can attend yoga classes as well as meditation, mantra recitation, kirtan, and satsang. Tasty vegetarian sattvick food is provided. Do note that smoking an alcohol isn't allowed. Rooms rates start from 1,200 rupees for a single with a shared bathroom and go up to 3,000 rupees for a double with a private bathroom. There are also options to book a whole apartment.
Located in the Swag Ashram area near Parmarth Niketan Ashram, this contemporary yet tranquil upmarket budget hotel is newly constructed and decorated. It's actually a tall house that's been turned into a hotel, complete with in-house Ayurvedic spa and Kundalini yoga classes. It also has a restaurant that serves tasty Indian and Continental food. Room rates start from 2,500 rupees for a double, per night. The premium rooms on the third and fourth floors offer delightful views from their balconies.
A favorite with those looking for inexpensive long term accommodations and a friendly traveler's environment, family-run Staywell cottage is located in the High Bank area of Rishikesh. It has 12 clean rooms with hot water, and there's a terrace for yoga (or just relaxing and getting a bit of sun) as well. Rates range from 200-600 rupees a day, with attached bathrooms. Long stays are preferred.
If you want to stay in the Swag Ashram area and are looking for an economical guest house, Vashist is possibly the top pick. It's a small and intimate family operated place with only nine rooms, located just past Parmarth Niketan ashram. The rooms are really bright and clean, with rates starting from 350 rupees for a single, per night. There's even a deluxe double with an equipped kitchen for 700 rupees per night. Air conditioning is available in some rooms for 300 rupees extra a night. All rooms have hot water and attached bathroom.