The Khyber, Himalayan Resort & Spa Opens in Gulmarg

GULMARG: The Khyber, Himalayan Resort & Spa, Gulmarg’s first luxury resort was formally inaugurated on Thursday by the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

The opening of this much-awaited luxury resort breaks a new dawn for travellers to enjoy the legendary beauty of the picturesque Kashmir valley, which has seen a steady increase of tourists, a statement from the Khyber Group said. 

Located at an elevation of 8,825 ft in the Pir Panjal range of the majestic Himalayas, The Khyber, Himalayan Resort & Spa, Gulmarg, is spread over seven acres in a pristine pine valley. This international class, 85-key resort, clad in timber and stone, offers breathtaking views of snow capped Affarwat peaks.

“The awe-inspiring location of the resort combined with the unfolding drama of Gulmarg’s changing seasons will tempt guests to return again and again”, it read.

The resort is an easy walk from the Gulmarg Gondola, the highest ski lift in the world. It takes over 600 visitors and skiers per day to Kongdoori Mountain on the shoulder of Mount Affarwat, the highest ski point in the Himalayas at 13,780 feet.

“The Khyber will be the first resort in Gulmarg to offer comforts and facilities that a discerning international traveller seeks. We have attended to every detail to make this resort truly unique”, said Umar Tramboo, MD, Pinnacle Resorts Pvt Ltd, promoters of The Khyber. “Guests at the resort will experience luxury on a par with international standards and personalised service that hasn’t been seen in Gulmarg ” he added

All eighty rooms, four luxury cottages and the Presidential Cottage offer breathtaking panoramic views of the Affarwat peaks or of evergreen valleys. The interiors are designed with traditional materials and showcase fine Kashmiri crafts. Namdas of felted wool, silk carpets from local looms, furnishings embellished with crewel embroidery, carved walnut panelling, teakwood floors and papier-mâché accents draw upon Kashmir’s rich heritage of craftsmanship.

Premier Rooms (386 sq. ft.) with ceiling-height windows frame white peaks and sylvan valleys. Luxuriously furnished and decorated, these rooms are warm, welcoming spaces, designed to make you feel pampered.

Luxury Balcony Rooms (568 sq. ft.) with generous private balconies give you the space to sit and sip your morning tea as you catch the first rays of daybreak. Each room features a separate dressing area, leading to a plush bathroom with a sunken tub where large picture windows offer brilliant views.

The resort also offers Luxury Cottages — One Bedroom (648 sq. ft.) and Two Bedroom (1296 sq. ft.). A covered walkway leads to these intimate, private hideaways. The one bedroom cottage has a living room and a spacious bathroom with a separate dressing room, sunken bathtub and wall-length picture window and a balcony that looks out to astounding mountainscapes. The two-bedroom cottage has spacious bedrooms, en suite bathrooms with sunken bathtubs and picture windows, a full-service kitchen, a living room and a large balcony, which makes for a great place to sit and take in the drama of nature.

The Presidential Cottage (4227 sq. ft.) is a grand suite comprising a large master bedroom, two additional bedrooms each with a luxurious bathroom, a private heated plunge pool with a Jacuzzi, a living room, dining room, a full kitchen and a spacious private garden. The cottage offers superlative views of the Affarwat range and the verdant valley.

Guests at the resort will have ample choice of dining options. At Cloves, travel the world of cuisines at this elegant restaurant where food from across the globe is served up with panoramic views. Satisfy your pasta, mezze or dim sum cravings, or try the Wazwan, the plentiful feast served at Kashmiri weddings, in an atmosphere that captures the grandeur of the mountains.

The Chaikash Tea Lounge named after the Kashmiri word for soaked tea leaves, is a space as refined as the teas, coffees, tisanes and kahwah that may be enjoyed here. The Tea Lounge and Terrace is part elegant patisserie, part private club and wholly irresistible. Enjoy serene views, delectable finger food, and tea the way it is drunk in Kashmir and well beyond. The Tea Lounge opens on to a terrace which flows further down to a series of cascading terraces, ideal for al fresco dining and mountain-gazing. An abundance of fire pits adds warmth and charm to every level.

At Calabash, the cigar and sheesha lounge, you may light up a Partagas®, a Montecristo® or any other coveted brand carefully selected for the humidor. There is also an assortment of flavoured tobaccos in the sheesha. Calabash is a cosy nook in which to share your trekking tales and skiing stories and designed to encourage lounging for hours.

Nouf, the terrace restaurant offers spectacular views and is an ideal spot for guests to converge and relax over casual dining. In the evenings, the fragrance of pine from the forest mingles with aromas of freshly grilled meats, cooked just the way you like on traditional coal-fired barbecues. Nouf is ideal for catching a few rays by day, stargazing by night, reading, dozing or just partying with friends and family.

After a day of outdoor activity, skiing or sightseeing, guests can relax and rejuvenate at the world class Alaya Spa scheduled to open in the summer of 2013. With three single and two double treatment rooms, each with its own steam room, Alaya Spa is a place to unwind and be pampered. The menu runs the gamut of treatments from Ayurveda and aromatherapy to concentrated deep massages that ease sore muscles after a day of skiing or trekking. Besides the use of premium oils and the attentions of experienced certified therapists, there’s also a visual treat for our spa-loving guests – stunning views from the picture windows of each treatment room. Adjoining the Spa is a state of the art gym with the latest equipment and an impressive heated indoor pool offering dramatic views of the mountain ranges.

The sprawling resort includes the beautifully landscaped Paradeez gardens and an amphitheatre; retail outlets; ski shop; and more than 10,000 square feet of meeting, banquet and event space.

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