In Varanasi there are several hotels that are not expensive and have good facilities such as heating, phones in the rooms and restaurants. During December to early February it can get quite cold in the Varanasi area. During times such as the Karmapa visit to Sarnath, the guesthouses in Sarnath are booked. If the Sarnath guesthouses on this website are booked then it's an option to stay in Varanasi.

It's approx. 20 minutes by taxi to Sarnath from the Cantonement area where these hotels are located. The large groups visiting stay in these hotels.

Hotel Surya
Rates: Standard single $7.00 Deluxe A/C (heat) $10 double $11.00 $16
Phone: 0091-542-2508466/2500511

Hotel Vaibhav (next to Hotel India)
Standard single $10.00 Deluxe A/C $17.00 double $13.50 $20.00
Phone: 250-1359/250-1360

Hotel India
Standard Single $22.50 Executive: $34.00 Double 37.50 45.50 Suite - $86.00
All rooms have heaters.

There's also a five-star and three-star hotel:

Hotel Taj Gange - (5 star)

Clarks Tower of Varanasi - (3 star)
Phone: 0091-542-234-8501-10
Fax: 234-8186 (around $40-$50 per night. Discounted rate)

You can get a discount for stays longer than one week. All taxis from the airport know these hotels.