As months of atrocious summer arrive, most of us are already exploring our options for a soothing retreat. With snow melting to make way for an all-new cover of greens, trees in full bloom and rivers and stream infused with a fresh lease of life, what could be a better way to beat the summer heat than a getaway to the pristine, hypnotic beauty of Kashmir. Here are some top accommodation choices to suit every budget for a relaxing, memorable stay in Kashmir:
If your idea of a holiday entails being pampered endlessly, these top luxury hotels from around the region are worth checking out:
The Khyber Himalaya Resort & Spa, Gulmarg
Built with pine wood and slate, the Khyber Himalaya Resort & Spa is a tribute to the architectural heritage of Kashmir. The spectacular beauty of the resort structure is further accentuated by its vantage location that offers a panoramic view of the slopes of Gulmarg. The resort’s location also makes it easy to access all prime local attractions, be it the Gulmarg Gondola, meadows or hiking trails in the thick of forests. The property brims with myriad avenues to soak up the feeling of being spoilt with pampering during the time spent indoors. From a well-appointed lounge to spa centre, heated swimming pool, children’s club called Igloo stocked with gaming consoles and board games that even adults will find hard to resist, a mini theatre, four speciality restaurants, the resort has it all. You can choose to stay in any one of the luxuriously done-up rooms or book a cottage as your private hideaway in the midst of Gulmarg’s stunning landscape.
Tariff: INR 20,600 per night (approx)
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The Zen Ladakh
Imagine relaxing in your own private Jacuzzi while gazing at the Trans Himalayan ranges, perhaps with a bottle of wine to keep you company. That’s the kind of bespoke luxury awaiting you at the The Zen Ladakh. Set inside an erstwhile royal palace, this hotel is the perfect destination for indulging in some regal pampering in the lap of nature. Situated on the outskirts of Leh, The Zen offers you a cocoon away from the humdrum of tourist activities, but with easy access to all key attractions that you’d want to explore on your vacation.
Tariff: INR 7,241 per night (approx)
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The Grand Dragon, Leh
Adding a luxurious twist to your time at the roof of the world, the Grand Dragon is one of finest examples of opulent hospitality. Situated in the heart of ancient part of Leh, this hotel is a perfect representation of the rich and exotic Ladakhi culture. Start your day with a rejuvenating meditation session organised by experts from Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre, follow it up with a glimpse up close at the local culture through film screenings, art shows, exhibitions and workshops on local crafts, and wind up with a heart-warming bonfire and barbeque on the lush green lawns. The Grand Dragon isn’t just another hotel, it is an experience unto itself. An experience laced with luxury and indulgence.
Tariff: INR 14,440 per night (approx)
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Medium Range Hotels
These hotels make the cut for those who want a restful stay without making a big splurge:
Jamal Resorts, Srinagar
Born out a quest to offer the discerning tourist top-notch accommodation facilities, Jamal Resorts in Srinagar is designed to accord a ‘genuine resort’ experience. The most striking feature about this property is its refreshingly warm architecture flanked by sprawling lawns and lush green surrounding. Offering a view of the mystical Dal Lake and situated in close proximity to all key tourist attractions, Jamal Resorts is ideal for those who want to mix hectic sightseeing with a laidback stay. The resort is equipped with all modern amenities and brings you some interesting activities such as bonfires, on-demand golfing sessions, shopping at its in-house souvenir shop stocked with Kashmiri handicrafts, Pashmina and more.
Tariff: INR 2,727 per night (approx)
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Hotel PACIFIC- A Boutique Hotel, Srinagar
Hotel Pacific is a cosy boutique property sitting on the banks of Dal Lake, offering expansive views of single most sought after tourist attraction in all of Kashmir. Apart from the Dal Lake, the hotel also offers clear views of several other tourist attractions in Srinagar such the Cultural and Heritage Park and the Chinar Gardens. This vantage location is also one of the biggest draw cards for tourists. It is a small but well-appointed hotel, tastefully done up in earthy hues to recreate that close-to-nature feeling. The hotel also arranges guided sightseeing tours, taxis and transfer arrangements for guests on special requests, so that you can enjoy your vacation without having to worry about the logistics.
Tariff: INR 1,799 per night (approx)
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Hotel Asian Park, Srinagar
With its imposing structure, wood panelled walls, carpeted floors, 69 well-appointed rooms and six suites, Hotel Asian Park is a medium-range hotel with a luxury appeal to it. The property boasts of a distinct character that reflects through the unique design and aesthetics of every room and common areas housed indoors. From the outside, the hotel exudes an endearing European charm. The in-house restaurant here offers a multi-cuisine experience, but it is their preparation of authentic Kashmiri food that will stay with you for a very long time. Situated in the heart of Srinagar, it offers the perfect opportunity to witness the local culture and way of life up close.
Tariff: INR 2,160 per night (approx)
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Best Hotels in Leh: 3 for Every Budget
There is no dearth of options even for those travelling on a shoe-string budget. These economy hotels have everything you need for a basic but comfortable stay:
Hotel Sadaf is a secluded getaway from the hustle of the main City Centre, yet well-connected to all the key tourist attractions. It is ideal for anyone who wants to enjoy true Kashmiri hospitality in an absolutely serene setting. If you are out on a leisurely trip minus the rush of checking boxes on your to-do list, this place has just the right kind of laidback vibe. The cosy interiors are a scene straight out of a typical Kashmiri home, where wood panelling, false ceilings and wall-to-wall carpeting are used as buffer against weather elements. The pure vegetarian restaurant here is a big draw card for vegetarians caught in an otherwise meat-heavy food scene of Kashmir.
Tariff: INR 918 per night (approx)
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Hotel Centre Point Srinagar
It is one of the most popular budget hotels in Srinagar, known for its warm and inviting ambience. Just a short walk from Dal Lake, the hotel has been tastefully designed to blend in with its natural surroundings and offer guests all basic modern amenities. All 32 rooms in this property have been done up to stoke a sense of calm and leisure. You get your own refrigerator and LCD TV in the rooms that have been furnished with locally sourced carved wood furniture. There is an in-house restaurant, 24-hour room service and transfer facilities. Pretty perfect for a budget hotel.
Tariff: INR 1,152 per night (approx)
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Hotel Taj Residency
With clear sights of the towering Zabarwan ranges on one side and the tranquil Dal Lake on the other, Hotel Taj Residency is your budget hotel with a view. The rooms sport a vibrant design with floral wallpapers and animated lighting, with colourful curtains completing the look. With a lawn in front, in-house restaurant serving culinary delights made from locally sourced organic produce and well-appointed suites, Hotel Taj Residency has everything you need for a comfortable stay and then some.
Tariff: INR 1,080 per night (approx)
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Read more: Shopping in Kashmir- A List of Must-buys for Every Tourist
Found your perfect hotel? Figure out your travel dates and make bookings in time to beat the tourist rush.