A luxurious Prince of Kashmir Group of Houseboats is sited at the picturesque Dal Lake, with a warm, experienced and highly hospitable staff. The Prince of Kashmir Group of Houseboats is known for its affordable accommodation options, well kept rooms and extremely compliant services.View More
A luxurious Prince of Kashmir Group of Houseboats is sited at the picturesque Dal Lake, with a warm, experienced and highly hospitable staff. The Prince of Kashmir Group of Houseboats is known for its affordable accommodation options, well kept rooms and extremely compliant services.
priyasen2017 on 30/04/2017 19:49
We visited Kashmir from April 19 and April 29 of 2017. We loved Kashmir, it is indeed beautiful, and we had a wonderful time there. What added to our enjoyment was the experience of staying in a houseboat. We had booked through Club Mahindra and it was a premium houseboat on Dal Lake. It was in an excellent location, Ghat 13, facing the Shankaracharya hills, just a five-minute skihara ride from the shore. Dal Lake itself is surrounded by mountain ranges and offers a fantastic view from the numerous houseboats that are moored at the inside edges of the lake.
We put up in a houseboat called Prince of Kashmir in Dal Lake, it is affiliated to Club Mahindra. The houseboat was beautiful though minus many of the usual Club Mahindra standards. So we did not get the shower caps (at least not at first), moisturizers and elaborate meals. Also, every single day there were power cuts during the night and sometimes during the day as well. And when there were power cuts, there was no wifi and the genset provided very limited lighting.
But the novelty of living in a houseboat, the serenity of Dal Lake and the beauty of the surroundings made up for all these minuses. Our initial plan was to spend a night each at Gulmarg, Sonmarg and Pahalgam but we liked living on the houseboat so much that every single day we preferred to return to the sanctuary of our houseboat. Given a choice between any of the scores of hotels lining the Dal Lake boulevard and a houseboat, we would choose houseboat every time. It was a unique and out-of-this-world experience.
Houseboat: The houseboat is nearly 50 years old. It has a well appointed balcony where you can sit and enjoy the beauty of the place at any time of the day, especially in the morning sipping the warm kashmiri kahwa tea while watching the cool snow-covered mountains on the right, the Dal Lake in the front and the green Zabarwan mountains on the left. Prince of Kashmir is a luxury houseboat and lives up to its name. It has intricately carved wood paneling, fine furniture made of walnut wood, and is well decorated with expensive Kashmiri carpets, paper mache items and antique pieces. The houseboat has a beautiful common living room with plenty of sitting places and a kangri, a common dining room with hundred-year old antiques around the dining table, a common pantry with a fridge, microwave, griller, which I think can be used even to barbeque, and four bedrooms. The houseboat is completely made of wood, devdar wood, and moored.
The bedrooms are well furnished with three beds, a dressing table, a chest of drawers, a TV unit with a TV on the wall, a couch, a chair, wall-to-wall carpet so warm that you feel comfortable even barefoot and long heavy curtains to keep out both the cold and the light as well as to offer privacy. In fact, the entire houseboat has wall-to-wall carpeting which gives it a grand and cozy appearance and makes it soft and warm underfoot. Each of the bedrooms has a cupboard with sufficient storage space, though ours was rather dusty, had some old musty smelling clothes hanging and could do with some cleaning. Each bedroom also has an attached bathroom, with all modern fittings including a bathtub and a shower unit. The pantry is used mainly to heat food, the meals are cooked in a separate unit outside the houseboat and served on fine china, although the meals are not so fine.
The roof of the houseboat, though dilapidated, offers a fantastic view of the surrounding mountains and the lake itself and Club Mahindra will do well to repair it and develop it as a key attraction of the houseboat.
Ease of access: Of all the Club Mahindra destinations we have visited so far, the houseboat in Srinagar was easiest to reach. We had booked a Spicejet flight from Mumbai to Srinagar via Amritsar and it took us 3 hours 45 minutes to reach Srinagar from Mumbai and another 30 minutes to reach the houseboat. Our return flight was also similar, booked with Spicejet. We reached Mumbai in 4 hours 40 minutes. We had booked a Mumbai-Srinagar return flight through Cleartrip and it was hassle-free, so we feel we got a good deal.
Local transport: Club Mahindra had arranged for our transport for the entire stay at a cost of Rs2,000 per day. So we were picked up from the airport in a Tavera by Mohammad Shahid Wani (9906855615), who also became our driver-cum-guide during the trip. He was polite, friendly, well informed and very helpful. He advised us on the weather, restaurants etc, did not crib and even got us homemade delicious “saag cooked with meat” on the last day. Typically, we would start by 9am and return to our houseboat by 9pm.
To go anywhere, we had to first go from the houseboat to the shore (the numbered ghats) and the mode of transport was the shikara. One pick-up from and a drop to the houseboat was free. Additional trips cost Rs50 per one-way trip. One of the houseboat attendants would call a shikara whenever we wanted to visit the shore and it would take less than 10 minutes for the shikara to show up. From the shore it is easy to get shikaras to the houseboat as the houseboat has its own shikaras which ferry Club Mahindra members to and fro. Our shikara wallahs, Miraaj bhai and Farooq bhai, were very polite and affable and it was a pleasure riding with them.
Food: We were treated to the famous local kahwa chai immediately on our arrival and we loved it and had it every single day. The food in our houseboat was not very palatable, it was edible but not well cooked, nor very tasty. But to be fair to the cook, after trying two meals, one breakfast and one dinner, we did not risk having food at the houseboat again. So it is possible that the cooking might have improved after we spoke to the supervisor about it. The attendants, Tauseef and Shahjad, were courteous and helpful, so we really did not mind the disappointment on the food front.
Besides, there are many eating joints facing the Dal Lake suiting every pocket and palate, so food was not much of a problem and we ate out mostly. From Gujarati, Jain and Marwari to Punjabi, Bengali and south Indian, you will get it all there. We tried out various local dishes including the Wazwan and liked it.
We also sampled some mutton kababs from a skikara and more than the kababs it was the experience itself that was amazing. It was in the evening, the sun was about to set and we were sailing in Dal Lake surrounded by snowclad mountains with a chill wind blowing over the city. The vendor’s shikara was sailing alongside ours and while he prepared the kababs a mouth-watering aroma of the preparation continued to tease our nostrils and whet our appetite. We sampled kababs from two vendors but enjoyed the kababs of only the first one, unfortunately we did not ask for his name. Both the vendors served the kababs with some delicious curd-based sauce.
Similarly, you can also try the hot cups of kahwa chai while riding a shikara, it tastes heavenly when you are freezing to the bones out there.
Laundry service: The houseboat offers laundry service at Rs80 for a set of a top and a bottom (ie shirt and trouser or kurta and pyjama). The laundry man comes to the houseboat around 7am to collect the laundry every day. The washed clothes are dropped at the houseboat the following day. It helps if you carry a good number of undergarments because the laundry service does not cover these. The weather of Kashmir is unpredicatable, we experienced three seasons – rains, summer heat, winter snow – in just one day in Kashmir! It is cold in the morning, sunny in the afternoon and windy in the evening and raining in the late evening or at night.
Communication: We have post-paid connections, so our mobiles were working, pre-paid mobile connections don’t work in Kashmir. Due to frequent power cuts at the houseboats on account of heavy rains, charging mobiles, camera and laptop was a problem as we would be out during the day. At the time of power cuts the houseboat would draw power from diesel generators and during this period the wifi would not work.
Power: There were power cuts during the night but our houseboat had a diesel generator set so we were not much inconvenienced. Also, since it was pleasantly cold in the night we did not mind the lack of fan (houseboats don’t have AC anyway) and would be out during the daytime, so it was not much of a bother.
Drinking water: We drank only packaged water to be on the safer side. Except at Chasmeshahi, of course.
Hot tap water: Hot tap water was available at the houseboat almost 24 hours.
Vendors at houseboat: True, we met many vendors during our daily shikara rides from and to the houseboat, some even visited our houseboat early in the morning and whenever they spotted us hanging out at the balcony of the houseboat. But it was nothing that a firm “no, I don’t need any” could not handle. With tourism being the only active industry in Kashmir one should be prepared to be approached by all and sundry selling all kinds of items. You don’t have to buy any if you don’t want to, but if you do, you will do well to bargain. Of course, we would love it if the vendors came into the houseboats only on permission from the houseboat attendants. Some houseboat guests do not like vendors pushing their wares inside the houseboats.
Smell at houseboat or lake? Not particularly. During the early days of our stay the water level of the lake had risen due to incessant rains and once the water level receded there was some faint fishy odour around the houseboat, but that was it. We did not get any bad smell during our shikara rides. Yes, the Dal Lake is not clean, it is covered with moss and littered with trash like Pepsi cans and bottles most likely thrown by tourists taking shikara rides. True, the local government could do a better job of keeping the lake and the city clean. And the dredging people would do well to use all the sanctioned diesel to dredge instead of selling part of it (that’s what the locals say). But Srinagar and the other Kashmiri cities are not any more unclean than Mumbai or Chennai, nor is the condition of the roads here any worse compared to the roads of Mumbai, so you get the drift.
Service: The service was average but both the attendants, Tauseef and Shahjad, were warm, friendly, polite and cooperative. The houseboat is kept clean, you have to leave your room key with the attendants and every day they make the beds and clean the bathroom and furnish it with freshly laundered towels. Though sweets are not part of the meals at the houseboat, the only time we dined at the houseboat and expressed a wish for some sweet, they went out of their way to prepare some halwa for us the following morning. That was thoughtful. They both also played various games including Antakhshari and Dumb charades with kids during the evenings, thereby making up for the lack of activities for children. However, you have to vacate the common room at a reasonable time since the attendants sleep over there in the night.
All in all, the stay at the houseboat made our holiday memorable and as our daughter asked me at the time of leaving, “Mamma, can we stay at the same houseboat when we visit next?” That kindda says it all!
pran_panipat on 05/07/2016 14:21
Prince of Kashmir houseboat are affiliated to club Mahindra so if you book through club Mahindra where only members can book and you are allocated houseboat from this group than it is fine otherwise dont book directly or through some travel portal because their boats are attached with Club Mahindra and they arrange your stay in nearby houseboats saying that it belongs to their group of houseboat which are not upto the same std as their houseboat which are attached with club Mahindra and hence they are making too much profit by charging very high prices by showing pictures of their actual houseboat.
We were four families who recently visited srinagar and booked 4 rooms through club Mahindra. While reading various reviews came to know that there are various groups of houseboat attached with them at the ghat no 13 and 17. among them some are queen Elizabeth, bul bul, pakhtoon palace, Prince of Kashmir etc. Since we need 2 more rooms we booked premium category room of this houseboat through make my trip at a very high price and then we contacted Mr Raj to allocate our 4 rooms also at same houseboat located at ghat 13. He is so nice that he alloted 4 rooms in Prince of Kashmir houseboat at ghat 13 but another 2 rooms booked through MMT were given in houseboat Anarkali which was a average houseboat no where near to POK and this was available at a very low price than the price we have paid.on enquiring we were told that it also belong to same group. This is really a fraud they are doing so all should be aware before booking.
XOTIC_KOTA on 07/06/2016 16:46
Awesome location and excellent view from houseboat......all their premium houseboats are in front row of dal lake..staff is helpful and its gives value for money. Plz take their premium catg. houseboats.
NKRajput on 02/06/2016 07:22
As it is affiliated/contracted to Club Mahindra we opted to stay there during the holidays with family. Currently CM has 8 boats serving the members.
Raj the manager from club Mahindra received us when we reached at the house boat with the welcome drink of "Khawa". The Prince of Kashmir is one of these premium houseboats on the Dal lake.The care taker Sajjad is a very resourceful person and always there to help and guide.
The rooms are large with royal look and feel of comfort and cosiness. The while houseboat has Kaleen(carpet). The bathroom was good enough but need the fittings to be tightened.
No room service but you can order for your meals before hand and will be served at the dinning area. Full marks on the food quality and taste.
The best part is going and coming to the houseboat on a Shikara, one round trip is on the house subsequent each trip is charged. But it's worth it.
Prince of Kashmir is accessible from ghat no 13 on boulevard road. And that road which stretches long way of the Dal lake has lots of restaurants and hotels. You do have options of variety of foods across.
We had hired car through CM for 5 of us to take us around sight seeing and for gulmarg and sonmarg, they charge 2100 for whole day, we hired the same car and driver for 3 days. The driver Shawkhat was just amazing person and guide for us.
As I observed there are 100s of houseboats available on the Dal lake and Nageen lake, honestly the websites of them will not give you the right picture. As I did see there were many house boats which were located in dirty areas of the Dal lake with no proper view of the lake. So please do your research properly and before u finalize any of the house boats, read reviews and check the ghat location and the view.
Room facing doesn't matter, its the location of the house boat that matters.
shanteed on 28/05/2016 09:07
Prince of Kashmir houseboat is affiliated to club mahindra.. Had an initial problem locating since I was told to go to Ghat no 17 and later Ghat. 13. Was welcomed n met Raj who was very warm and welcoming n spent sufficient time with us.. We had some tasty food served by habib.
On the flip side, the tv in the room was not working n there was no one during our check out. Guess Raj would have been attending to other guests at another gate.
Must visit on your Srinagar holiday.
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