Kashmir, the name itself is evocative of travel, journeys through exotic cultures, magnificent landscapes and the romance of travelling through ancient lands. And what could be more romantic than a stay on a Dal lake houseboat in Srinagar, the summer capital of Kashmir?

The northernmost state of the Indian sub-continent, on the edge of the Himalayas, Kashmir is a melting pot of cultures, offering the traveller a rich variety of fascinating experiences set within majestic landscapes, and the Secret Retreats Kashmir boutique hotels provide the perfect home from home for your Kashmir holiday.

All Secret Retreats hotels in Kashmir are privately owned. Often the homes of the owners, each property is closely connected with its location from the luxury houseboats in Srinagar to the Heritage hotel in Ladakh the owners, staff and management are proud to share their home with their guests and unlock the region’s secrets with you as they share their local knowledge and favourite spots.

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Sukoon Houseboat


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A quintessentially Kashmir experience, a stay on a deluxe houseboat on Dal lake

Dal Lake is without doubt the Jewel in the crown of Kashmir and a stay here is must for any Kashmir holiday. The second largest lake in the state it is as important for commercial fishing and farming (water plants) as it is for tourism and recreation. Steeped in history, since the late 19th century houseboats in Srinagar have been the place to stay for visitors to the region, from the glamour and elegance of the days of the Raj, to the ‘Hippy Trail’ in the 1960s and Guru Ravi Shankar teaching The Beatles to play the sitar on a luxury houseboat in Dal lake, these icons of Kashmir hospitality have long been a not to be missed experience. Opulent and with a mix of British colonial period glamour and Kashmir culture, Srinagar’s houseboats offer their guests comfort, elegance and local charm. Often made of wood and featuring fine cedar wood carving employing traditional design motifs, everything you would expect to find in a Kashmir boutique hotel can be found on a luxury Kashmir houseboat.

The choice of the Dal lake houseboats, the Secret Retreats Sukoon Houseboat

Secret Retreats has selected the best of the Dal lake houseboats, the Sukoon Houseboat. Built in the 1970s this luxurious houseboat features 5 cedar wood paneled cabins, air conditioned luxury cabins with en-suite bathrooms and of course picture windows with lake views.

Comparing well to the best hotels in Srinagar, the elegance of this queen of Srinagar’s houseboats extends beyond the cabins, with chandeliers, carved walnut furniture decorating the dining room and a perfect location promising uninterrupted views from the boat’s sundeck. And, as the name suggests (Sukoon means spiritual awareness), a meditative peace away from the hustle and bustle of Srinagar, the capital city of Kashmir.

Dal lake is rich in wildlife, from the lilies and waterplants harvested for food, to the fish and birdlife, and it is essential for the survival of the ecosystem for the people who call Dal lake home to be environmentally responsible. The staff and owners of this Dal lake houseboat, the Sukoon Houseboat, are no exception and they take the conservation of their Dal lake home very seriously. In protecting the lake environment the owners and team at Sukoon have developed and manage their own waste management systems to ensure no waste gets into the environment. They also insist on using only environmentally friendly cleaning products and toiletries in the guest rooms and also use solar power to provide electricity for this deluxe houseboat on Dal lake.

The Kashmir houseboat and Boutique Hotel experience with Secret Retreats

Elegant and romantic a Dal Lake houseboat is perfect for couples and families alike and the team at Sukoon and the Secret Retreats concierge are ready to help you plan your Kashmir houseboat experience be it a Kashmir honeymoon package or simply a holiday off the beaten path to explore this welcoming region and its wildlife, rich cultural heritage and fascinating history. Tours of the lake are top of any visitor’s list to see the wildlife and the lifestyles of the Dal lake residents, the floating markets and water plant farming, timeless sights seen at a leisurely pace from the Sukoon shikara boat; the shikara, a small paddled launch, are known locally as the ‘gondolas of Kashmir’. And treks to local villages, temples or on the Pir Panjal mountains can also be arranged, of course not forgetting the rich history of the region evidenced today in some of Kashmir’s ‘must see’ sights such as the Mughal Gardens or the ruins of the first capital of Srinagar, Shrinagari, located just outside modern day Srinagar.

The Secret Retreats concierge is standing by to help you plan your Kashmir holiday or Dal Lake Houseboat stay. With a choice of itineraries and a wide variety of experiences the Secret Retreats concierge, working closely with our hoteliers and the teams who call our Asian destinations home, can create tailormade Kashmir holiday packages to suit every occasion and exclusively for you.