Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa is the shining star of Gulmarg’s hospitality industry. A revived tourism interest is encouraging hoteliers to launch new luxury hotels for tourists who love to come to Gulmarg from around the world and almost around the year. It would not be an exaggeration to say that they are one of the best hotels in this area that you can stay in. Last November, I got an opportunity to enjoy their hospitality and also explore the place for the first time.
Here is why you should choose to stay at this resort & spa in Gulmarg.
The Chaikash at Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa
This would be my biggest reason to return to Khyber. It is a quiet yet vibrant corner of what we would generally call a lobby. And churns out cups and cups of hot Kahwa that is just what you need in Gulmarg weather. It also serves you regular tea and coffee along with small nibbles. I loved their tea cake.
The view from the tall glass windows is that of the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas. Perfect place to sit and write but of course, the place is a hot favorite with resort guests and it is never ever quiet enough.
I thought Chaikash meant ‘sipping tea’ as smoking is also called taking a Kash in Urdu. The hotel literature tells me that it is a Kashmiri word for ‘leaves of Tea’. Whatever it means, it is a lovely word with a certain charm that can be best described by another Urdu word ‘Kashish’.
I also liked their traditional Kashmiri sitting area not too far from the Chaikash.
Read More: Kahwah – the Warmth of Kashmir
In-House Movie Theater
They have an in-house movie theater with a decent collection of Hollywood and Bollywood collections. It is a small intimate space that can be hired for small family and friends gatherings, and for late-night shows when you really cannot step out of the hotel in the cold of this region.
It can accommodate about 12 people and you need to book it in advance for a fee. We could not get a booking for all 3 days that we were there, so you know how popular it is with the guests.
Heated Swimming Pool surrounded by Snow
Imagine yourself in a heated swimming pool, looking at the snow all around you. Is this not what dreams are made of?
I am not aware of many heated indoor pools in India. In fact, I remember my friend Barbara Miller with whom I did all my Delhi Walking Tours, used to always complain about the fact that despite being a world-class city, Delhi does not have a heated pool. Not sure if she would be happy to know about this one in Gulmarg.
Khyber’s wellness area also hosts The Khyber Spa by L’OCCITANE & a state of the art Gym. I am not too much of a Spa person. I am one of those who enjoy it as long as it lasts but can hardly feel a difference later on. However, my other traveler friends who are experts at reviewing Spas vouch for the Spa there in the resort.
Himalayan view from the bathrooms
The rooms are great. The décor carries the essence of Kashmir in elements like its carpets, its wooden panels, and in the upholstery. Dry fruits are kept in wood-carved bowls to complete the appeal to all the senses. The private balcony that comes with each of the rooms again overlooks the Himalayas on one side and Gulmarg City on the other side of the room.
The high point is the sunken bath or a bathtub that lets you again sit in hot water and admire the snow-clad Himalayas. From a distance, it looks like a picture window – with a landscape picture posted on the glass. It takes a few minutes to realize that you are ‘Rubru’ or face-to-face with the real landscape.
Kashmiri Wazwan Meal
I can’t thank them enough for making a vegetarian version of Kashmiri Wazan for me. I know you really cannot have a vegetarian Wazwan, but Nadru Yakhni was lovely. Liked it so much that I asked for it the next day.
The Mallu general manager at the resort convinced me to try their Idlis for breakfast though I had all my doubts about fermenting the batter in that extreme cold. I would not recommend trying their south Indian fare, better to stick to what is available locally, and goes with the local weather.
Vital Stats of Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa
- It is a relatively new hotel, has opened in Dec 2012.
- There are 80 rooms, 4 cottages, and a Presidential cottage.
- Alcohol is not served there, which makes teetotalers like me very happy. For those of you who enjoy alcohol, please carry your own poison.
- Gulmarg Gondola’s boarding point is within walking distance from the resort.
- The resort can be used for business events with its fairly large banquet facilities.
- This Resort & Spa in Gulmarg won the Conde Nast Traveller India’s award for Favorite Indian Boutique Hotel in 2014.
PS: All pictures, not watermarked have been provided by the resort & spa.
Recommend you to read the following posts on the beautiful Himalayas on my travel blog.