This new resort near Srinagar makes a pitch for your next short break | Condé Nast Traveller India | InternationalJune 4, 2021
Spring brings many fine things to the Kashmir Valley. This year’s speciality is a luxury boutique resort that seems like a welcome antidote to months of cabin fever.
The resort is set on a three-acre sprawl, surrounded by apple orchards and poplar trees. All 33 sunlit rooms and suites have private balconies or sit-outs with stunning views of the Dal and Nigeen lakes. Sloping roofs, abundant use of pine and local timber and other thoughtful design elements add a touch of warmth to the space.
But it’s the location for which Rah Bagh scores big points. A short drive from the heart of Srinagar, you are never too far away from everything that’s on your list. The spectacular Shalimar Bagh is barely four kilometres away and the Nishat Bagh on the banks of the Dal Lake is about eight kilometres away. If the early morning tour of Dal’s floating markets is on your itinerary, the good news is that you can access the lake without having to enter the city. Just further along the road is The Royal Springs Golf course should you want to tee off in the crisp summer sun. And if you don’t mind working your legs a bit more, the staff will arrange a heritage walk through the Old City. Once you are done with the city sights, turn around and head the other way to experience the Valley’s natural wonders. The Zabarwan mountains form the backdrop of this resort, offering unlimited possibilities for R&R. For one, the Dachigam National Park is barely 10 minutes away. Ask the staff to pack you a picnic hamper and head out to spot the hangul, or the Kashmir Stag.
(Unlike most parks in India that shut during the monsoon, this one is open through the year—in fact, the best time to visit is between the months of April and August.) Further up, Sonamarg and Gulmarg are just a few hours drive away on either side. And if you time your visit to the end of autumn, you can head out to Pampore and watch the golden, fragrant buds of the famous Kashmir saffron pop out of their purple flowers.
But there are enough reasons to stay put. Start your day at Café Sky with stunning sunrise views and a hearty breakfast, lush orchards where you can settle with a book and a pot of kahwa. There’s the pool for a swim, the hot tub for a soak, and a spa with steam and sauna rooms. Wan Posh, the all-day multi-cuisine restaurant, can put out a lavish Kashmiri Wazwan to end your day on an indulgent note. There’s also the state-of-the-art gym, in case you want to burn off some of the pandemic fat. But with such beautiful trails all around, you may want to pack in those hiking boots.
Rah Bagh, Srinagar Harwan, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, 190025 (rahbagh.com; doubles from Rs12,000)