Jammu and Kashmir recently reopened its doors to welcome travellers into its heavenly abode, albeit only by air. These picturesque boutique properties in the valley are ideal to break away from your lockdown blues. By Bayar Jain

A tweet by ANI detailing the guidelines of the UT’s phased reopening states that travellers entering the region can only do so by air. Not only will all arrivals be mandatorily tested using an RTPCR, but they must also have the Aarogya Setu app compulsorily downloaded on their phones, and expected to isolate in their hotels till a negative COVID-19 report is furnished. They must also have a confirmed return ticket and a valid hotel booking. Here are some hotels that you can consider checking into for your heavenly escapade to this mountainous beauty.

1. Highlands Park, Gulmarg

Boutique Hotels Jammu And Kashmir
Photo Courtesy: Hotel Highlands Park/ Facebook

Situated centrally in Gulmarg, Hotel Highlands Park dates back to the early 1960s. Donning golfing paraphernalia and traditional Kashmiri wall hangings in its every corner, this escapade takes you back to the region’s yesteryears – a time when the valley first gained recognition as a summer getaway. When here, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the peaks of the Apharwat range and sweeping views of the Himalayas. Spread over eight acres of exquisite gardens, this premier hotel has housed the best of guests (think, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan), and has even served as a backdrop in many films (such as Bobby). 

2. The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa, Gulmarg


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Nestled in the Pir Panjal ranges of the Himalayas, this seven-acred resort offers sweeping views of the Affarwat range and coniferous forests. Draped in a blanket of luxury, Khyber is designed to pamper you in every way. Built to pay homage to Jammu and Kashmir’s architectural heritage, the resort is situated close to Asia’s finest ski slope and the world’s highest ski lift, the Gulmarg Gondola.

3. The Chinar Resort and Spa, Pahalgam


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Located at the quieter end of the valley and devoid of tourists’ hustle-bustle, the Chinar Resort and Spa echoes with the gentle music of the nearby river Lidder. Crafted with modern architectures and interiors, this calm resort is ideal to soothe your mind and help you segue into a life of normalcy post the pandemic. When here, the lavish furnishings will give you the comfort you need, while views of Batakoot mountains beyond the large picture windows will bring you another inch closer to nature.

4. The Orchard Retreat & Spa, Srinagar


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A trip to this Himalayan beauty is incomplete without a view of apple orchards and flower blooms, and this retreat facilitates just that. The Orchard Retreat & Spa – spread over four acres – is situated 1,600 meters above sea level. This height enables guests staying at the hotel to get uninterrupted views of the breath-taking Zabarwan Hills and Mount Mahadev.

5. The Vintage Gulmarg


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A luxury hotel nestled in the Himalayas, The Vintage Gulmarg is the ideal blend of luxurious modernity and spectacular views. Designed to redefine traditional concepts of lavish, here, guests can pamper themselves with magnificent mountain views and bespoke hospitality. Oakwood panelling, stonework, and other such timeless classics surround you here, while meadow-views take it to fantastical levels.

Related: The Valley Is Calling! Jammu & Kashmir Will Soon Welcome Tourists Again