The houseboat is wonderful. Centrally located. Its in Dal lake. You get to witness beautiful scenic beauty at each glance.
The staff is extremely cordial. They say no to nothing. Everything is possible. We got lovely home cooked meal for all the three nights that we stayed in Kashmir. The food was sumptuous with lots of love (home cooked meal). They will cook you anything you want. This meal was always the best part of the day. Since we were travelling around the whole day the only food in the afternoon we got in those tourist places was maggie.... So the home cooked meal was a blessing.
The houseboat is not a mahindra property, its been taken on lease by them. However they have maintained it decently.
Its clean. You have hot water supply anytime of the day. They have shikara (taxi) to pick you from the Dal lake and bring you to the houseboat. They wonderfully explain you their rules and guidelines on the day you arrive and serve you Khawa tea (which is like amazing. Believe me because I do not consume tea at all).
Special recommendation and thanks to Salim Bhai (care taker), Abdul Salam (Shikara rider) and the Lovely lady cook.
I went to this houseboat as a Club Mahindra member and truly enjoyed its luxurious interiors. The room was very much like other Mahindra resorts and it was great to get 24 hrs running hot water in that climate. The staff are so friendly and ensure every minute need is met. There are several 100% veg restaurants close to the houseboat which was a blessing to us. They take care of visits to nearby places very well and the cab fares were economical too.
We stayed for about 3 nights in June 2017. The houseboat as a property is very good. Very spacious large rooms, clean bedsheets, towels etc. makes your comfort further better. Bathroom is also clean and equipped with necessary toiletries. The location is also good as this houseboat is located across ghat no 17 which is less crowded with houseboats and Dal lake becomes wide and takes its complete form. Sitting at the front sitting area with a cup of tea in hand you can enjoy the beauty of Dal surrounded by mountains. Food is also good. Breakfast menu can be little better in terms of changing the food item and expanding to other local dishes as well. The area of improvement could be a) less disturbance of outside visitors who keep on coming for selling their stuffs and b) as support staff Faisal keps on moving between kitchen and boat, several times he is not able to hear bell or calls by guests, so probably a bell in kitchen would also help. Overall a very good houseboat and recommended to all fellow travelers.
We happened to stay here when the curfew was imposed in the Kashmir region (8th and 9th July 2016). The owner of the boat was a great help as he arranged the cab for us from Srinagar to Leh (despite the curfew). We were really lucky to be in safe hands and through this review would like to thank the Owner and Staff of Queen Elizabeth Houseboat. The location of the houseboat (Ghat No. 17) is the biggest asset. The staff (esp. Faisal) is very humble and helpful. Prompt services, delicious food and interesting people to interact with can be guaranteed here. Also, we would plan a trip again to Kashmir and would be happy to get an opportunity to stay at Queen Elizabeth.
This is my review for my stay in club mahindra affiliated houseboat (queen Elizabeth) and also my overall experience on heaven on earth,Kashmir.
About my houseboat stay,I was a little hesitant having read some mixed reviews on some internet portals about how it gets extremely chilly in winters and houseboat stay for more than one night is not a good idea. Well,I was pleasantly surprised. We (family of 6) stayed in club mahindra houseboat for 4 nights. The experience was absolutely amazing. Club mahindra's excellent service mixed with the homely vibes of the warm and kind Kashmiris made our stay absolutely superb.
Raj, the manager is great at what he is doing. He briefed us on our first day and shared some needy advice with us. Our caretaker, Faisal, was the best part of the stay. He was always there,from 3am at night to anytime during the day. What's more is, he did all his work with a smile and went an extra mile. He's an asset, team club mahindra. Our chauffeur (driver) Mr Altaf,was probably everything from a friend to a guide and an excellent and extremely careful driver. He too, gave some good advices and was of great help thorough out our daily visits to different parts of Kashmir. You're lucky if you get him. All the people we met on our stay were extremely caring and humble. I am highly obliged for having met so many beautiful Kashmiris.
About the houseboat, it's extremely beautiful and comfortable,people. Yes it gets cold in the evening and mornings if you travel between November and February but you'll won't feel the chills with warmth of team club mahindra (at least we didn't ). For the evening, they have a BHUKARI which is lit in your rooms and the common room which is more than sufficient for a chilly weather . For the night, they have electric blankets which again, are very comfortable. Also, they HAVE A 24/7 POWER BACK UP. So the electricity cut off is NOT a problem. The decor and ambience of the houseboat is to die for. Lovely work.
We made a one day trip to Gulmarg and Pahalgam. In Gulmarg , don't miss on the sledge rude by those hardworking men and carry tonnes of wools. You get appropriate fur jackets and shoes at the base. The gondola ride is beautiful and you can't miss it. On the top, there are ski trainers and bike rides,both of which are fun filled.
For Pahalgam, I wish we had a few more days. Don't miss out on arru valley,chandanwari and betab valley. Try and stay over for a night or two.
All in all, I would suggest an ONLY houseboat stay in Srinagar given the beauty of the lake and those shikara rides everyday. The shikaras selling products are wonderfully pretty and you can bargain a bit. Do go for the hour long/3hour shikara ride where your shikarawala will share some life experiences and bring a smile to your face.
Shopping I would say, restrict to the shikara salesmen. They are reliable.
As for weather guys, NO season is off season for the beauty of Kashmir. I got to see a white Kashmir. From March starts the green version and then August bring in the yellow. Kashmir is Kashmir and it's heaven.
I can't wait to visit Kashmir soon and all you guys sitting there wondering if it's safe, I have traveled Indian from Jammu to Kerala (mostly with club mahindra) and I have found all their properties extremely beautiful, but believe me on this, I have NEVER felt safer. It's safe. Kashmir is safe. They want tourists to come, over and over again. It's all they've got. And we are here, scared of what? The most beautiful part of our country? There's no need. Our soldiers are doing a great job. And our Kashmiri friends will only make your trip from good to outstanding.
Visit Kashmir. It's a message from one young Indian to Lakhs and crores of Indians and foreigners.
KASHMIR IS SAFE. KASHMIR IS BEAUTIFUL.