Sunday, September 23, 2012

Khyber Mountain Resort & Spa - Gulmarg, Kashmir, India

We are getting close..........very the opening of what I consider to be the finest hotel in the Himalayan region - Khyber Mountain Resort & Spa.

Khyber Mountain Resort Exterior in Winter
For the past three years I have been making trips to Kashmir to see the resort rise from its foundation to what it is today.......and in just 3 short months we will be launching this magnificent project for the world to enjoy.

My first trip to Gulmarg is unforgettable simply for the reason that when I stepped onto the property for the first time, I immediately understood how special "this place"........the hotel and Gulmarg truly was more than I ever imagined, and as a hotelier, the opportunity to be part of such a special project had my mind racing as to its potential.

Towering Trees and Fresh Crisp Air Winter
The setting was idyllic.........perched in the foothills of the Himalayas, with commanding views of the white capped peaks........surrounded by towering trees and the lobby overlooking a beautiful lush green valley, and perfectly located next to the area’s most world notable attractions.....the tallest Gondola in the world and a Golf Course at the highest elevation in the world……the location is a dream!

Lovely Scent of Pine in the Summer Air
I have literally watched Khyber Mountain Resort & Spa come to life.........and on this most recent visit, I am finally able to see past the construction and witnessed for the first time the hotels "personality" coming through.

Kashmir is an area of India notable for many things; saffron production, pashmina's, cashmere wool, some of the finest handmade carpets, kawah tea (more later), and papier-mâché and hand carved items from some of the most beautiful walnut wood.

Hand Carved Wooden Ceiling in Lobby Tea Lounge

Not surprisingly, the architect and interior designer along with the vision of the owner have done a remarkable job to incorporate all things that make Kashmir special into the look and feel of the hotel. The attention to detail and Kashmiri influence can be seen throughout the resort and in its guestrooms.

Wall Sconce in Guestroom Corridor - Hand Painted Papier-Mâché over Copper
So I thought I would provide you with some pre opening peeks into what is taking place right now as we begin to breathe life into this magnificent hotel.

Khyber Mountain Resort & Spa Exterior work  under way
There is no doubt that at the end of the short drive from Srinagar, we will be greeting each guest with a nice warm offering of Kawah Tea........while I am not much of a "chai man", this tea is one of the most delicious warm drinks I have ever tasted. It is made with the following ingredients; saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, sugar and noon chai leaves. Slivers of fresh almond are placed in the tea just before serving. The result of this infusion of flavors is simply one of the most amazing creations from this region of the world......yum!

Warm Cup of Kawah Tea Upon Arrival

As our guests walk into the cathedral like lobby, they will be standing under the hand painted papier-mâché ceiling that was most recently installed in the reception area of the lobby.......yes, hand painted.......and while my photographs simply cannot do justice to this beautiful work of art, once the lighting is complete and the construction dust is removed, the ceiling will truly provide the perfect setting for our guests to be welcomed.

Hand Painted Papier-Mâché over Carved Wood Ceiling in Lobby
At the opposite end of the lobby is the Tea Lounge with its magnificent views of the mountain peaks and the valley.......whether the valley is covered in a blanket of fresh white snow or during spring and summer when the lush green carpet is laced with the various colors of the natural flowers that grow during these times of the year, I envision guests just enjoying the view for hours at a time.......enjoying a cup of Kawah made and served in an authentic Samovar.

Authentic Kashmiri Samovar for serving Kawah

A samovar is a traditional Kashmiri kettle used to brew, boil and serve tea. Kashmiri samovars are made of copperware with engraved or embossed calligraphic motifs. Inside a samovar there is a fire-container in which charcoal and live coals are placed. Around the fire-container there is a space for water to boil. Tea leaves, sugar, cardamom, and cinnamon are put into the water and the result is simply indescribable.

View from Lobby Tea Lounge - Summer
On the left side of the lobby is the main restaurant.......and on the right is the Hookah and Cigar Bar............upstairs just over the tea lounge is a covered open air gallery, a one of a kind for Kashmir, and a place to be enjoyed all year long by our guests. In winters, our guests can enjoy watching the falling snow and the skiers and snowboarders make their way down the slopes.........a billiards room is also on the same level.

View from Lobby Tea Lounge - Winter
The resort is indoor swimming pool with floor to ceiling windows offering some of the most breathtaking views one could imagine......picture yourself in winter, swimming in a nice heated pool while just outside snow is falling and the temperature are minus 10 Celsius or lower.
Then take a moment to relax in the areas world class spa.....with treatments designed to help you relax or rejuvenate after skiing, trekking, sledging, yoga, fishing, ice skating, white water rafting, horseback riding, a work out in the fully equipped fitness center or simply after taking a ride on the world’s tallest gondola to take in the views of the Himalaya's.

Sledging in Gulmarg - Winter Activity
Khyber Mountain Resort & Spa has left nothing to chance. Multiple places for Food and Beverages, outdoor activities year round and a fully equipped and staffed children’s activity center to keep young guests and teens alike entertained while parents enjoy other areas of the resort. There is even a movie theater that will show past and current favorites throughout the day and evenings. An amphitheatre, tiered gardens, relaxing terraces, outdoor dining areas, indoor and outdoor banqueting spaces, and on and on!

Guestrooms? Yes............the finest...........the only.....ONLY resort in the area at which customers can control the temperature of their rooms with central heat and air. Trust me, while this may seem like a "standard" for hotels throughout the is not so for this area of the world......relax in an oversized tub......maybe a bubble bath with scented bath salts while enjoying the breathtaking views just outside the window.

View from Relaxing Soaking Tub - Winter
Deluxe Rooms with balconies that can be enjoyed all year round....the perfect place to enjoy a private breakfast while taking in the gorgeous view or just enjoying the fresh, crisp scented air of the pine trees. Private cottages with multiple bedrooms.......kitchens for those who travel with their own chef or perhaps you would like to have us provide a chef for you to cook customized dishes for you and your family and friends........anything can be arranged.

Khyber Mountain Resort & Spa - Deluxe Balcony Room - Summer
More?.........yes I will be writing more about Khyber Mountain Resort & Spa over the next few months.......and I will share more photographs with you as I take you through the "unveiling" of this truly world class resort in one of the most remarkable and beautiful places on earth!

View From Balcony of Delue Room - Winter
For inquiries and reservations, please do not hesitate to leave a comment........I will be quick to respond.


Ashutosh said...

Thank you very much for sharing useful information about india.
Do you love lot of fun during your trip then visit to leh ladakh, India. ladakh is perfect tourist destination in India for adventure trip. ladakh river rafting is one of them.


Cynthia Singh said...

Did you build your hotel using insulation? I miss weather proof housing.