Finally, a perfect small hotel in Delhi

Red Maple Bed & Breakfast hotel in South Delhi India

A typical room at Red Maple.

An ideal stay for solo female travellers in South Delhi, India

It was desperation that drove me to Red Maple Bed & Breakfastin Delhi … but delight that kept me there! In January, I was staying with friends in Gurgaon, a huge, new suburban community south of Delhi, and the temperature kept dropping and dropping. One day, it hit a 50-year record low: high of 9 C. and low of 2 C. Now, you might be thinking, “She’s Canadian, what’s that to her?” And you’d be right: in my home city of Toronto, temperatures can drop to minus 25 C. in winter. But we have insulated houses, indoor heating, hot showers, continuous power, and so many other things that make living in a cold climate bearable, and even cosy. No such luck in Delhi, where the houses are built to keep the heat out, and floors are usually made of marble.

In short, it was bone-chilling at my friend’s place, and also far from my favoured stopping grounds, South Delhi. Yes, I am a South Delhi girl. I like frequent stops at Barista or Cafe Coffee Day. I shop at Fabindia in Khan Market and go for ice cream treats at The Big Chill. I meet my friends in Hauz Khas and get my mani-pedis done in Green Park. And my idea of a perfect market is GK1 N-Block. So, I reached out to Harminder Saini at the Red Maple Bed & Breakfast to find out if he had availability, and when he said yes, piled all my suitcases in a taxi for the long ride from Gurgaon.

Red Maple Bed & Breakfast hotel in South Delhi India

Me and Harminder Saini, owner of Red Maple Bed & Breakfast in South Delhi

I knew about the Red Maple from Canadian friends of mine who stayed there, including Janice Waugh of Solo Traveler. But it wasn’t until I got there and met owner Harminder that I fully understood the name of this charming small hotel is in homage to Canada: red and white are the colours of the Canadian flag, and the maple leaf is one of our symbols, if you don’t know. Canada has inspired the Red Maple in other ways, too. Harminder explained to me that he intentionally designed the small hotel so that the amenities are on par with the quality of creature comforts we are accustomed to in Canada. That means, powerful room heaters and full-pressure hot showers, lots of western food options on the menu, high-end furnishings, flat screen TVs, free WiFi, super comfortable beds, on-site laundry facilities, bottled water, air conditioning … and everything is spotlessly clean.

Red Maple Bed & Breakfast hotel in South Delhi India

Wedding procession on the street outside Red Maple.

After arriving, I put the heater on and jumped in the shower and felt I was in heaven! I was truly warm for the first time in a week. And it just got better and better. Even though it’s a small guest house, with only eight rooms, they offer a full menu of both Indian and continental cuisine, and much of it is available 24/7. My room was spacious, with a balcony overlooking the street. Breakfast was ample, buffet-style, and you can meet other travellers while eating in the shared breakfast area on the main floor.

Red Maple Bed & Breakfast hotel in South Delhi India

The hot shower!

I also liked the location in South Extension, only a short walk from the busy market. Unfortunately, there is no metro stop (yet) in South Extension, but you can easily get to one in an autorickshaw. The market itself has lots of shops, including a large bookstore and some of the best shoe stores in Delhi, and a few restaurants and cafes. And the residential area that surrounds the market is nice enough to feel safe and funky enough to feel exotic. There are ancient tombs nearby, and lots of street action: shortly after checking in, I heard the unmistakeable sounds of a wedding outside and ran out with my camera.

To me, Red Maple Bed & Breakfast is the perfect option in Delhi, especially for solo female travellers. It’s safe, clean, well-run, well-located and has everything you need. Plus, you feel that you are staying in a real residential neighbourhood, with local people. It really is the best of both worlds: the comfort of Canada and the colour of India. Also, owner Harminder Saini has a wealth of knowledge about travel in Delhi and India and can help with bookings. As he has spent a lot of time in the west, including in Canada — one of his favourite countries — he understands foreign travellers, and is a great resource and contact to have in India.

Red Maple Bed & Breakfast hotel in South Delhi India

Lobby / reception area of Red Maple.

As I usually stay with friends in Delhi, or as the guest of a five-star hotel like the fabulous ITC Maurya, I have not been able to personally recommend a mid-range option, until now. I’m very happy that I can now recommend the Red Maple without hesitation.

To contact Red Maple Bed & Breakfast


49, Amrit Nagar, South Extension Part-1, New Delhi, India 110 003

Phone:+91 11 24652474 Fax: +91 11 24625462 Mobile: +91 9871344256

Contact manager at  +91 9811505097
E-mail:, i[email protected]


Red Maple Bed & Breakfast hotel in South Delhi India

Buffet breakfast at Red Maple.

[NOTE: I was a guest of Red Maple Bed & Breakfast for the duration of my stay, but that does not alter or affect my opinion. I am truly thrilled to be able to recommend this place to people who are wary of Delhi or don’t know where to stay or want to avoid Pahar Ganj. Word.]

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16 Responses to Finally, a perfect small hotel in Delhi

  1. Laura February 28, 2013 at 11:35 am #

    No apology for explanation for the South Delhi love! One of the things that annoys me about many people who are either nomadic or travel frequently is a need to boast about their extremely cheap rooms with horrible conditions and dodgy districts or neighborhoods. I can’t tell you the number of articles I read by travelers sniffing at the idea of staying in South Delhi because it is too “posh” and “not Indian enough.” As if putting off comfort is a moral imperative for a purist travel experience. So the rest of us feel we must apologize that we passed on the $20 room in favor of the $60 bed and breakfast. There is nothing wrong with trading out a backpackers ghetto for a middle class enclave, especially if you are a woman traveling independently.
    Laura recently posted..My Brush with Ayurvedic TreatmentsMy Profile

  2. Mariellen Ward February 28, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    Thanks Laura, I agree with you — I’m not into that particular “pissing contest” (excuse my French) at all. I think it’s a joke to believe that Pahar Ganj is more “Indian” than South Delhi. Ha. Most of the time in Delhi I lived with a Punjabi family in South Delhi who had never stepped foot in Pahar Ganj. I’m sure they would be very amused to hear a backpackers ghetto was more Indian than their house.

    In fact, I feel the opposite. I think those backpacker ghettos morph real Indian culture into something strange, seedy and unpleasant. There is nothing “authentic” about it. Impoverished Indians chase foreign dollars — knowing full well that unwashed hippies come from wealthy nations — and foreigners allow themselves to be hypnotized by the “exotic” sights, sounds and smells.

    Most Indians would give ANYTHING to be able to stay in a place like Red Maple. In my opinion, it is disrespectful and insulting to have the money and to slum it, pretending you don’t. If you notice, even the most humble Indian person is usually immaculately clean and well-turned out.

    • Sandy Seale March 1, 2013 at 11:32 am #

      You are exactly right. That was one of the things that so impressed me on my first trip to India last Nov. It didn’t matter where you were or the financial situation of those you passed, they were always beautifully dressed & immaculately clean. I think because they are a very proud & proper culture. Even while driving past slums you’d see brightly colored saris. I often wondered how they could provide such beautiful clothing in such conditions. I think the bright colors of India help raise one’s sense of pride & happiness…..they seem content with what they have regardless of what that might be. I’m not saying those in the slums are happy to be there or wouldn’t prefer to be able to live in better conditions; but they are always smiling, offering whatever they have even to strangers. Most Indians only want to serve you & be hospitable; treat you like a rock star. But I would also say that India isn’t for everyone. There are definitely certain types of travelers that I would not recommend it to as I don’t think they’d see past some things or appreciate others. I personally took in everything that is India. Why would someone want to go half a world away & still want things to be like they are at home? PS I put this article in my Favorites & hopefully will have the opportunity to return to India & spend more time in Delhi/Old Delhi & this sounds like the perfect oasis to enjoy while there. Thanks again for awesome advice. You rock!

      • Mariellen Ward March 1, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

        Thanks for your comment Sandy. I agree about the overall happiness and contentment that people in India seem to feel; a rebuttal to the consumerism and materialism of the west. We are brought up to believe that “stuff” makes you happy, and it’s just not so
        Mariellen Ward recently posted..Travel with “Me to We” to India on a life-changing tripMy Profile

  3. Louisa March 1, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    Mariellen – I second your glowing review of Red Maple! Harminder and his staff do a wonderful job of being welcoming, helpful and supportive without smothering, making it perfect for a solo traveller. And on those days when you just can’t roust yourself to get out for dinner, their chef will make just about anything to order (delicious pakoras included). It was a great home base during my trip.

  4. Shalu Sharma March 1, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    Seems like a nice little cosy hotel. There’s nothing wrong with staying in any hotel be it in South Delhi or Paharganj. In fact, money from your country can go a long way in India making it affordable.

    But Paharganj has hotels to suit all taste. There are some very good hotels there as well. It all depends what you are after. I agree with the previous commentator, Sandy that if you travel half way round the world and still want things to be like home, then why come to India at all. But I understand that India can be a tiring place so you want to stay in a place where you can forget about India at least for the night.

    But lets face it Paharganj is the real India. Most towns and villages of India resemble Paharganj and not South Delhi.

    I disagree when you say “most Indians would give ANYTHING to be able to stay in a place like Red Maple”. This is untrue, where did this come from? One reason India seems attractive to the West is that India and Indians are less materialist and provides the perfect getaway for them.
    Shalu Sharma recently posted..11 reasons to visit IndiaMy Profile

    • Mariellen Ward March 1, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

      Thanks for your comment, Shalu, and you’re right … I usually never make claims about what other people might want or not want … it’s actually not like me to write that way. I was just over-excited about this whole idea of backpackers thinking their little ghettoes are the real India. It’s all real of course.

      But I don’t agree that the rest of India is like Pahar Ganj. Most of India is not swarming with foreign backpackers, and filled with stalls that sell banana pancakes and “harem pants” and bongs and rafting tours in Rishikesh.

      But I do agree that, overall, Indians are less materialistic than westerners … blessed India …
      Mariellen Ward recently posted..Travel with “Me to We” to India on a life-changing tripMy Profile

  5. Vinayakan Aiyer March 6, 2013 at 10:21 pm #

    Hi Mariellen,

    I enjoyed reading this write-up for the kind of comments/discussion it has triggered. When I travel to any of the western countries…I certainly feel the onslaught of consumerism. I feel it in shopping malls in India as well. East or west – the consumerism is a little too much for a south Indian village boy to digest. That said, as a traveler, I just take all of that experience in.

    But I just don’t understand why anyone would want to hang out at Paharganj and call it “authentic” India experience. Bizarre!

    India is cradle of civilization whereas Paharganj is cradle of filth (for the most part).

    More power to Red Maple B&B!

    Thanks, Vinayakan
    Vinayakan Aiyer recently posted..Chronicles of Vinayakan – IIMy Profile

  6. Joana March 18, 2013 at 2:16 am #

    Hello ! I bumped into your webside through twitter (don’t remember how though) and I really like it, I found the few articles I’ve read perflectly well balanced between “India is an amazing country” and “but India is nothing like home so watch yourself”.

    Plus, currently living in Green Park, I can only relate to your “South Delhi love” 🙂 (Although I lived one year in North Delhi and I loved it as well)

    I’ll keep reading you for sure !

    Joana recently posted..Photo de la semaine [1].My Profile

  7. Zara @ Backpack ME May 6, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

    This place looks really nice!
    I had to do MASSIVE research of hotels and B&B to accommodate my family and friends early this year for our wedding in Delhi.. we ended up going for an Airbnb rental as we couldn’t find something mid-budget that was truly welcoming and available on the dates.
    But this place looks great.. next time I’ll look into it!
    Zara @ Backpack ME recently posted..Roadrunner.. The Coyote’s After You!My Profile

  8. Neil July 17, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about hotel. Regards
    Neil recently posted..NeilMy Profile

  9. Jane August 15, 2013 at 5:15 am #

    Namaste! I came across your blog after a friend sent me a link to the story The RIver which I thoroughly enjoyed. I will certainly be exploring here further as I also live in India part of each year. This place of course looks wonderful, and know the feeling of being cold in North Indian winters…living through several winters in Rishikesh. Wish I had the money to allow myself a beautiful place like this. But I have a simple room for myself, where I can also cook, have 24 hour a day hot water and a small electric heater which is enough for the room, as well as a hot water bottle which I take to bed with me, and I am fine. My budget is closer to 400 rupees per night!! Perhaps one day I will be able to splurge on a place like this. But will certainly recommend it from now on to the many people who come to me for advice and assistance before heading off to India for a few weeks. I DO usually send them to Paharganj because there are a few “nicer” hotels there as well…but this will certainly be a wonderful alternative to those seeking something a little higher class. And South Extension is truly a lovely part of Delhi. Looking forward to reading lots more here.
    with love light and JOY
    Jane recently posted..On My Way Back!!My Profile

  10. Evading Photographer January 2, 2014 at 8:18 am #

    That looks awesome! In Europe this hotel would fit into the “elite category”!
    I see their prices are very cheap. Will keep this on file – just in case I pay a visit to Delhi!

  11. Sharmeela Kazerouni June 11, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

    I have lived in Bombay all my life. As a child we visited Delhi many a times. But my kids have never been to Delhi and Agra and now they study and work in the US of A. They decided they wanted a quick trip to the Taj, and so we are staying in Delhi for day.
    The point is, somehow I came across article and tomorrow morning I’m going to call them and book.
    After reading what Mariellen had to say, I just cannot get myself to book anywhere else.

    BTW just returned from Toronto where my family lives and went for a day out at Dandas Trail. Lovely place, Toronto 🙂


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