Loved it, the boat is in excellent shape with new bathrooms last year. It is carpeted throughout which keeps you warm and peaceful. Bedrooms have en suite bathrooms and very attractive furnishing with crewel work bedspreads and curtains. We were a party of five and were throughly spoilt by a great cook/captain/crew. Very happy with the laundry service, everything was spotless. Shafi who owns it popped in each day to make sure everything was to our liking and we had such peaceful days due to the entire area being under strict curfew. I had been before in 2008 but sadly this time everything was completely shut, shops, schools etc. I was glad we didn't cancel like most other people, this is the time when Srinagar needs tourist rupees the most. Of course, we got an amazing quiet welcome everywhere and felt very relaxed throughout our stay.
I stayed at the Royal Group of Houseboats for 2 nights in August 2016, 3 weeks into the violent protests, and subsequent compulsory shutdown and curfews, taking place throughout the Kashmir valley. I am a solo female traveler and was concerned about the safety of visiting Srinagar at this time. I booked this 2 day stay through my tour operator - Wild Frontiers. I strongly recommend for all visitors (particularly solo) to book through an agent who can link up the airport pickup, accomodation, shikara transport and the day guide. Right now particularly it's important that there is a group of people who know your movements. Currently cell phone calls are not possible, only landline. There is also no data Internet, only wi-fi. Activities on the Lake remain in place and I always felt safe and welcome, although most shops/restaurants are closed.
The Royal Houseboats is a wonderful accomodation and perfect for all travelers - solo, couple, group and family. Mr Din was the Captain of my houseboat. I also met the owner. Both were fully appraised of the situation and were able to make me feel safe, secure and relaxed during my stay.
There are 9 houseboats all connected by a walkway. Each has its own name. My houseboat (the New Crystal Palace) has 4 bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. There is a common dining room, lounge room and a lovely terrace where I sat and watched the world go by. I was the only guest on my houseboat but that was fine. I ate all of my meals on the boat and there were delicious, plentiful, fresh and tasty. The houseboat has its own shikara and driver, who was most helpful and even prepared tea and biscuits for me on the morning we left at 5am to visit the floating vegetable market. To get to this houseboat, we drove to the lake Ghat directly from the airport (20 mins) and took the shikara for c.10mins. The boats have a great aspect across a large section of the lake and, as the family also own a large piece of water-land directly in front of the boats, the area is peaceful and quieter than many other houseboats that are located on the busy "streets" on the lake. The houseboats are full of beautiful Kashmiri woodwork, wooden panels on the walls and ceilings, hand-carved furniture and local papier-mache products. I would consider this accomodation to the at the luxury end of the houseboat scale.
I only stayed here for 2 nights, but given almost everything is shut and the old town is off-limits at the moment, this was enough time. If everything was open and operating, a week here would still leave things to do. These boats face the lake but are moored on a small piece of land that has houses at the back where the family and staff live. There are always people wandering around, whether it's the staff or the family. I always felt safe and welcome.
A great experience, the name itself narrates every thing. New Crystal Palace House boat is a Palace in the Dal Lake. I had booked my whole tour with Royal House Boats.com and from the first day itself they impressed me. Mr. VK the owner personally took care about my tour and arranged all our comforts as I was with my family. He provided me with his best team Mr.Hassan as driver, Mr.Deen as caretaker of the houseboat and Mr.Amin the shikara man. All his staff members are very kind and very supportive. Kashmir is not only a beautiful palace it also has people with very big and kind heart. As promised by the owner Mr. VK, the whole Cristal Palace was provided to us for two days and just imagine we were only four with four rooms and a hall. When I say its like a palace needless to write about the cleanliness and other things. Location wise perfect and awesome. Mr. VK and his team has won our heart and now we are in Abu Dhabi but we miss them and those days of our tour. Rest assured NO MORE IN HOTELS, IF ONE IS IN KASHMIR STAY WITH ROYAL HOUSEBOAT GROUP. CALL THE MAN ALWAYS IN ACTION MR.VK-09419015970. KASHMIR AND CRYSTAL PALACE BOTH ARE JANNAT.
If I would be told to rate Crystal Palace I would rate it as 7 STARS.
In short and sweet words which everyone can understand... I can say " New crystal Palace" houseboat is Taj on Dal Lake. The interior is so good, Toilets are clean, Good housekeeping, good food and overall a good hospitality. We were a group of 6 adults and 5 kids and we occupied the entire houseboat.. it was like a home away from home. We were regretting why we just booked one night. Our next stay will be for sure 3 -4 days on the houseboat.
We would strongly recommend people who are looking for a stay on houseboats to opt for New crystal Palace. You will not regret.
i would anyway stay in a house boat now than a hotel after our stay in this house boat , the crystal palace .
its so lovely and quiet , like a home . one can be comfortable and not restricted like in a hotel. must mention the food is fab. they cook as per your taste and is delicious. the house boat is done up beautifully with carvings , carpets , lights flowers . the staff is also very good . the rooms are clean and comfortable .
have stayed 3 times in there group of houseboats .a definate yes.