Kashmir is rightly called the paradise on Heaven. The majestic sceneries, gigantic mountains, clean fresh air and water, clean surroundings, great food and friendly people complete the definition of this beautiful city. We were lucky to catch the season’s first snowfall on our recent trip to the paradise on Earth. The partner to our beautiful experience was the WelcomHotel Pine n Peak, Pehelgam.
As our flight landed at the Srinagar airport, we were welcomed by chilly winds caressing the face. The flight assistant smiled and ushered us to move towards the airport terminal. As we took the first breathe in this clean city, we thanked the almighty to introduce us to heaven. The drive from the airport to Pehelgam was the most pleasant ride of my life. The cab driver, a warm friendly Kashmir man helped us being more acquainted to the city while taking about its culture. The sight everywhere was divine, as there was a light drizzle a day before. The trees swayed and welcomed us as we were moving towards our destination. The sky seemed clear and enchanting while the mountains gleamed and smiled at us. The beautiful scenery was a sight I have treasured till now.
We reached the hotel by lunch time and were welcomed by the General Manger, Mr. Roop, a diligent man who ensures the hotel runs efficiently.The staff of the hotel is extremely friendly, and are always smiling in any weather condition. The cozy entrance and the warm lobby made us feel comfortable while the warm kehwa tea served was blissful.
WelcomHotel Pine n Peak -Luxury at par
This Hotel is the first luxurious property in Pehelgam, maintained under the ITC luxury brand. With their Kashmir’s outpost, the ultra luxury hotel chain has taken contemporary sophistication to new heights in the paradise city. The hotel enjoys a terrific location in one of the city’s most gorgeous landscapes. You do not need to venture far for dining and entertainment, as the in-house restaurants offer a fabulous array of continental, Indian and authentic Kashmir cuisines. The City and capital’s major tourist attractions are not far either, making it is an ideal base for both business and sightseeing.
Intricate designing –
The WelcomHotel Pine n Peak is housed in a flamboyant and sensitively renovated hotel that was a part of the AHAD hotels. The subsequent transformation of this building into a luxury hotel was carried out keeping in mind the ITC brand, with preservation of the hotel’s significant heritage features such as the principal facades, the interiors of lobby and the tastefully decorated restaurants.
Arrival at the hotel is quite stunning: the magnificent frontage, which is the hotel’s main entrance, leads to the grand cozy lounge. WelcomHotel Pine n Peak provides a little oasis of tranquility. A dramatic corridor with walnut finish wooden furniture and exquisite handicrafts enlivens the hotel lobby. The lobby itself is rich and luxurious in every detail, comprising beige mosaic flooring, stunning oak armoires and a lively reception desk. The walls are adorned by painting by world-renowned artists, displaying the culture and heritage of Kashmir. You can make your way up to the rooms and suites using the amazing marble staircase.The rooms and suites are among the largest accommodations in Pehelgam and reflect the style of a culturally rich Kashmir bungalow rather than a hotel.
The hotel had upgraded us to two exquisite super luxury rooms. The very spacious rooms comprised a wide space with floor to ceiling windows with a view to die for, sofa set to glide into, a desk with stationary and a super comfortable bed that has the softest sheets. The pampering extends to the spacious bathroom that has Italian marble, a large washbasin, huge mirror and amenities from Biotique. The wooden almirah also had a safe, dressing gown and soft slippers to slip into. Besides the fruit bowl and scrumptious cookies on the table, there were tea and coffee sachets.The minibar in the suite was well stocked, with snacks and non-alcoholic beverages.
Hamaam – The Spa
WelcomHotel Pine n Peak’s spa called the Hamaam is located on the ground floor of the property. The spa features beige walls, soft lighting and wooden walkways. Facilities include two treatment rooms with dry heat steam and saunas.
The Experience –
We opted for two massages, one for me and the one for my daughter. The therapist, a warm and friendly young girl suggested we tried the aroma therapy. I was asked to lie face down on the wooden bed and relax while keeping my eyes closed gently.
The therapy began with some warm oil that soothed my lower back almost instantly. The masseur worked up the magic of her hands in a circular motion that helped me to relax and fall asleep. I was transcended in a different world.
The oil was magical and I could feel relaxed instantly. The massage on the other parts of the body was also gentle. The thing I loved about the massage was the subtle yet powerful massage from the ankle to the calves. Later, she also massaged my head. The oil made its way deeper in the root follicles and made me relax immediately. She then applied pressure points on the head and temple that helped me to relax further.
This was followed by a steam bath where the skin absorbs the oil profusely and makes it more supple and soft. After fifteen minutes, I felt relaxed and rejuvenated. Post the treatment, I was offered some calming herbal tea with honey. I loved my treatment and my daughter found it amazing. She had opted for the similar therapy and felt relaxed after the massage.
Food for the soul
The hotel has two excellent restaurants, both of them featuring creative, well executed, and refined food, albeit in a somewhat different setting.
The Café cum Dining Room called Saahil with its oak furnishings, antique handicraft and opulent upholstery, is a bustling brasserie with a menu of dishes that are sourced from local ingredients.
Besides the eye soothing vistas from their wide windows, the restaurant has a delectable aroma of freshly brewed coffee with a variety of cakes and soft breads that reverberates the mind, body and soul.
The atmosphere evokes a convivial atmosphere with a roaring fire at one end that warms the room temperature and makes it cozier. Inspired by the atmosphere of a drawing room and the sophistication of a gentleman’s club, it features a collection of cozy velvet armchairs and shelves filled with antique books.
The exquisitely designed and more formal Lolaab Dining Room, features low lighting, walnut finish woodwork, fresh flowers everywhere, lounge seating, and offers fine-dining cuisine in the evening and a sumptuous buffet breakfast in the morning.
The view of the mountains are an add on to the beautiful restaurant. If you stay at the hotel in the weekend, be sure not to miss the grandiose Sunday brunch here. The brunch we had here must have been the most spectacular and best tasting brunch that I ever had during my extensive travels in India. Ingredients are carefully selected, that respect the tradition of sustainable, local, organic and wholesome produce.
There are several main courses to choose from in the breakfast buffets like breads, salads, juices, Indian and continental dishes and a vast array of desserts. Highly recommended food : try their authentic mutton dishes straight from the kitchens of Kashmir and also their guchhii pulav.
The continental dishes include grilled fish, soups, pizzas, sandwiches. Don’t forget to indulge in their desserts like cheesecake, brownies and chocolate cake made in their in house bakery.
The hotel has recreation amenities that ensure guests enjoy their stay. You can indulge in indoor games like table tennis, carom or even shop at their handicraft shop that displays hand woven shawls, stoles, shoes, decorative items and handicraft material to adorn your homes. I loved their collection of pure pashmina shawls and even bought one for myself.
The hotel has amazing views to feast the eyes and we were lucky to witness the first snowfall of the season. The day we checked in, there was a light snowfall which turned the place all white. We woke up to the beautiful sight of snow covered trees that looked spectacular. The ground was all covered with a soft layer of snow that invited us to play with it. Lucky for us, we had purchased rubber shoes from the nearby market that made it easy for us to walk on the snow. The valley was all covered in snow so we got a chance to make a cute little snowman with the help of their
friendly sales representative Mr. Naseer.
I was extremely impressed with the staff that provides impeccable service with a friendly, welcoming smile, as you would expect from a luxury hotel of this caliber. The Hotel’s exterior, interior, and rooms all capture and celebrate the historic character and grandeur of Kashmir and represent the ultimate experience of the paradise land.
How to get there
Pehelgam can easily be reached by plane. The Srinagar Airport is the primary airport serving. A drive toward the hotel takes about two and a half hours.
Aru Road, Near Amusement Park, Pahalgam,
Jammu & Kashmir- 192126,