U can stay either near bus stand or main market or if u like peace then old Manali is better option...but bus stand will be far u have to take auto to reach bus stand...2-3 days are sufficient to explore manali....
You will need 3nights in manali to explore bear by places. 1 day for rohtang( which ll open after 15 may, 1 day for manali sightseen n one day for solang valley. reg stay.. there are many hotels available near mall road and far away from it. if you are looking for crowded place stay near mall road ( u can search booking.com for it) you can find many restaurants in mall road manali ( which are reasonable in price).
2- 3 days are sufficient. If you're in Manali then don't forget to visit German backery ! I prefer you that you should stay in Old Manali which is less crowded and you can feel the original culture there. You can visit national , hidimba devi Temple ! You can also go to Rohtang pass and return back to Manali within day however for that you've to take permit. Rohtang pass is generally opens during june to November. last but not the least solang valley where you can do some adventure sports. For stay in solang valley you've to loosen your pocket..!!
Hey , 1. The best place to stay in Manali differs range wise. like if you want to experience the luxurious stay then check out The Himalayan ,sunpark resort. but if you want some mid range and yet good hotels or stays then there are plenty of them like green fields , foghills cottage . 2. best places to eat in Manali : johnson , the corner House ,forno.