Overlooking one of Kashmir’s most prized gems, the Dal Lake, Vivanta by Taj Srinagar beckons you to indulge in a rare mix of luxury and nature in its unbridled beauty. A perfect setting for a quiet getaway, a romantic holiday or celebrating special occasions. The property was on my radar during a recent trip to Kashmir and I made the most of the experience by turning it into a quiet getaway meets romantic holiday on a special birthday outing. Perched on Kralsangri hill, Vivanta by Taj Srinagar – a contemporary space with Kashmir’s essence intricately woven in – comes close to a recreation of the fabled ‘paradise found’.
The Road to Vivanta by Taj Srinagar
The experience of awe begins long before you drive through the gates of Vivanta by Taj Srinagar. The winding road leading up to the property offers stunning views at every bend and turn. A bird’s eye view of the Tulip Gardens, – if you happen to visit during spring, you can take in the expansive sight of the magical bloom – snow-capped Zabarwan peaks in the distance and earthy hues of village homes in the valley with smoke billowing out of their chimneys. It takes every ounce of self-discipline to not have your gaze held by these transfixing scenes – a necessity, given the steep uphill drive.
When you are already at a place that has gone down in the travel books as heaven on earth, it’s difficult to ask for more. Even as a stay at the Dal Lake leaves you enchanted, you really wonder if there is more to the trip that could excite you. Vivanta by Taj Srinagar does that and more.
As one steers through the multiple security checks at the main entrance passage what welcomes you is a breathtakingly beautiful property. With views of Dal Lake and the majestic Zanskar range in the backdrop, you don’t mind walking all the way to your room from the reception area while your luggage arrives in a golf cart. The passage from reception to the rooms is also beautifully landscaped abounding in floral treats as almost every variety of the Mughal Garden blooms can be found here.
While each step is an opportunity for a photo op on its own, you manage to reach the room that has been perfectly designed to accentuate the heavenly environs around. The ‘Deluxe Delight Room with Lake View’ brings you the much-needed rest after you’ve had a fulfilling but tiring day exploring the many delights of Srinagar.
Vivanta by Taj Srinagar lives up to the promise of bespoke luxury and service. Even as coffee is poured on call as you sprawl on the lush green velvety grass or the comfortable garden furniture of your private lawn, a feeling of being in the lap of nature and of being a royal heir washes you over. Though many may agree that keeping the phone aside is the best thing you can do while on a heavenly holiday, for those driven by the need for instant Insta posts, the seamless wifi connectivity is an added advantage.
And after you’ve lazed around in your super comfortable king-sized bed, a quick splash in the swimming pool as the sun sets on the beautiful Dal is something that stays in your heart forever. Everything from beautifully wood carved bed rests to embroidered upholstery and little knick-knacks around your room leave you with nothing but an urge to plan a comeback soon.
The Food at Vivanta by Taj Srinagar
Needless to say, the food at Vivanta by Taj Srinagar is on point. The place has two in-house restaurants – Jade Dragon and Infinity – and a Tea Lounge. Kick start your stay at Vivanta by Taj Srinagar with some Kahwa from the Tea Lounge, as you wait for the check-in process to be completed.
Even though the rooms at Vivanta by Taj Srinagar are so tastefully done up and self-contained that you wouldn’t feel the need to step out, lunch at the outdoor decks of the Infinity restaurant is highly recommended. The panoramic views of the Dal Lake, the rolling hills and the wooden houses in the valley past the infinity pool are a sight that’ll stay with you for a long time to come. The Infinity is a multi-cuisine restaurant, but I strongly recommend the Wazwan experience here.
Give your taste palette a refreshing break from the rich experience of Kashmir’s cuisine with a meal at the Jade Dragon that specialises in Chinese Sichuan delicacies. The cream and golden hues juxtaposed with cherry blossom patterned rugs and cracked tinted mirror walls lend the place a cosy vibe. Lotus Stem in Honey Chilli Sauce and Jasmine Tea Sugar-free Mousse are a must try here.
Stay at the Dal Lake Houseboat
Waking up with to a soulful view of the morning sun from your houseboat terrace at Dal Lake is perhaps one of the most unforgettable travel memories. At the cost of sounding clichéd, a stay at the Dal Lake Houseboat is actually ‘nature meets luxury’ at its best. From walking bare feet on the beautifully embroidered carpets to the Kashmiri kadhai on curtains and bedspreads, every bit of the stay seems right out of a movie sequence being shot at an opulent film set from a royal era. From authentic cuisine to unmatched hospitality, customized to your lazy mornings, everything fills your heart with an unending urge to stay back forever.
Planning a trip to Kashmir? Don’t forget to explore the enchanting Vivanta by Taj Srinagar.
– With Inputs from Bhavneet Bhatti