Few weeks ago, I spent my birthday at the Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa Gulmarg, currently the finest five-star hotel in Kashmir. I have to admit the property wowed me in a way that only few hotels do. Words cannot describe how tremendously impressed I was by the impeccable design, flawless setting, tastefully decorated rooms and variety of cuisines. The hotel is located around 2 hours away from Srinagar and has a magnificent historic building that echoes warmth and care for guests.
The impeccable color combinations, minimalist aesthetics, and understated furnishings do not detract from the beauty of the place and makes it feel impeccably elegant and timeless. Besides the Kashmir style elements, the place has gilded ceilings and stunning wall artifacts, which are a feast for the eyes.
Blending the tradition of Kashmir heritage with contemporary sophistication, the palatial building of The Khyber Gulmarg has a stylish ambience that creates an ultra-luxurious vibe.
The spectacular lobby has an impressive reception desk, concierge and a sprawling multi cuisine restaurant that throws open the spectacular scenic view of the now capped mountains. The lobby definitely makes a great first impression with its cozy interior and impeccable designing that is somewhat similar to the beauty of the paradise land. The staff is extremely friendly & helpful, and will go the extra mile to make your stay as memorable as possible. From the lobby, the plush carpeting takes you up to the luxury guest rooms and plush suites.
The design in all rooms brilliantly combines contemporary style with local accents. The rooms at Khyber are spacious, luxuriously decorated, and most of them have wide balconies to take in the views. During our 2 night visit to the hotel, we stayed in a luxury balcony room, which overlooked the stunning picturesque beauty of the mountains.It featured a magnificent carpeting, a large walk-in closet, a plush king bed, a wide sofa cum bed, tea and coffee sachets and flat-screen TV.
The rooms in Khyber Gulmarg are also really quiet and well insulated. The beds are spacious, and linens are of superior quality. There’s nothing quite like a luxury hotel that not only has great interiors, offers excellent service, and has crisp bed-linen you want to curl up in.
The marble bathroom had a wide mirror, sink, a separate rain shower and a deep-soaking bathtub. One of the best things about hotel stays are soaking in a tub filled with warm water. The Bathrooms feature luxurious bath amenities. The big windows with views offering a spectacular view of the mountains make you want to stay in the tub forever.
The Presidential suite @ The Khyber Gulmarg
The Presidential suite has furnishings that complement authentic silk wall coverings, chandeliers, wood paneling and ceilings painted in soft hues. Bedrooms are heavenly, temperature controlled and have all the luxury amenities. The suites are also equipped with kitchen, servant’s room and a balcony which offers a nice view of the mountains. Since Khyber is a luxury and expensive resort, one can get some discounts by using coupons from online travel sites like Goibibo.
Khyber has an exquisite multi-cuisine restaurant called Cloves that has authentic Kashmir cuisine and continental dishes that are served with warmth and hospitality. The Restaurant offers amazing views that you can soak in while dining. The best thing is that you can also order for room service in your own room as per your own convenience. The hotel also has a popular lounge called Chaikash at the farthest end that serves the most quintessentially coffee, tea and kahwa.
This place is one of the most desirable and enjoyable place in the hotel to sit and relax with a cup of hot coffee in your hands. The picturesque lounge opens up to an impressive view of the skyline with the majestic mountains in the background.
Calabash, their sheesha lounge, has fine carpets and seating, designed to invigorate lounging for hours on end and floor-length windows that look out to forests of fir and the Himalayas. This is indeed, a cosy nook, which gives you the much needed warmth after a chilly outing in the snow. The chefs are diligent and ensure the freshest food is served with a touch of innovation. We specially loved the continental treats like the grilled fish, lobster and crab cakes.
I would highly recommend the salmon to be tried. Also not to missed are their delectable buffet spreads that speak in volumes about the enormous variety and freshness. The breakfast buffed spreads are the most amazing ones and comprise of fresh juices, detox shots, salads, yoghurts, dips, variants of breads along with continental breakfast like sausages, hams and eggs. The Southern delicacies include dosas, idlis, vadas and uttapams.
The Indoor heated pool and Gym
The Indoor heated pool, which is surrounded by a phenomenal 360 degree view of the snow capped mountains look amazing and make you feel relaxed while soaking in the warm water of the pool. Heated to a comfortable temperature, you can take a leisurely dip or do laps to stay in shape. The gym is well equipped with the latest machines and helps you in exercising with the assistance of the in-house instructor. The steam, sauna and jacuzzi add to the pampering and should definitely be experienced.
I had booked for a luxury Aromatherapy massage during my stay at their luxurious L’Occitane Spa. I decided to head down early and take a dip in the pool – which is an experience of being totally immersed in soft lights – and later relax in the Jacuzzi followed by steam and sauna.
The L’Occitane Spa –
For my aromatherapy massage, the therapist ushered me to a quaint room and requested me to lie on the bed face down. She pours some warm oil in her hands and began the therapy. The oil is not fragrant but is definitely healing and helps to relax aching joints and muscles. The warm oil 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 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.
The hotel is a maze of gorgeous passageways. There is also a games room for kids called the Igloo and an interesting masterpiece called the Den which has an impressive setting of a Movie Lounge with comfortable recliners and a wide variety of the latest films to choose from. We were gifted a movie viewing experience on my birthday eve. The experience was phenomenal as we watched The Matrix with all the wonderful sound effects. The surround sound proved to be exceptionally fantastic.
Celebrations with a Difference
I loved my birthday experience and Diwali celebrations at the hotel. The staff was very kind to celebrate my birthday with the other guests with a cake from their side. The surprise was beautiful and we enjoyed the celebrations with the staff and guests at the hotel. It was also Diwali on the same day and the hotel ensured guests felt at home while burning crackers and lighting diyas.
Luckily the hotel is accessible to all the sports nearby. The Gulmarg Gondola is very near from the hotel and must not to be missed. You can indulge in a skiing or sledge experience with family or simply build a snowman. The experience is worth it. We were fortunate to witness the season’s first snowfall and had a great time playing with snow.
The well – trained staff at Khyber makes an incredible contribution to this exceptional property. The level of commitment and service is very professional and personalized.I don’t think there is any other hotel that can compete with this one. Khyber provides you a brilliant memory of Gulmarg at its finest.
Address: Hotel Khyber Rd, Forest Block, Jammu and Kashmir 193403
Phone: 099066 03272
Tarrif for one room : Above 16,999/