Our trip to ladakh was just Unbelievable.Right from Day 1 to our last day.This place has all together some different vibes which we experienced there,but out of all what amazed us the most is our stay at The Grand Dragon Hotel in Ladakh, which is located at a height of 11,562 ft in in the Himalayas, holds a place of pride in the hearts of the locals as it was the first international class hotel in this remote and isolated outpost. Set up in 2007, this hotel, built despite the challenges of being located at a high altitude, redefined hospitality in Leh and set a benchmark for other establishments that came up subsequently.
The Grand Dragon Hotel is the preferred hotel for upscale travellers and wanderers looking for luxury and comfort. Owned and managed by the ABDU family, it is part of the Dragon Group of Hotels-Known for their passion for hospitality.
Minutes from the airport and situated in heart of the city centre,This indigenously designed hotel’s architecture incorporates the famous Rabsal tradition of Ladakh, visible in the window treatments and balconies. An imposing entrance in intricately carved wood – ubiquitous in Ladakhi palaces and mansions — welcomes guests to the portals of The Grand Dragon Hotel where a traditional welcome awaits. The dream child of Ghulam Mustafa, also known as the first modern artist of Ladakh, it comes as no surprise that The Grand Dragon is also beautifully adorned with his paintings capturing ancient Ladakhi architecture and culture.
All rooms offer stunning views of the picturesque landscape, the vivid colors of an ever-changing sky and the lofty Himalayan peaks. The Grand Dragon Ladakh has around 82 rooms with the addition of a new wing, which has 31 Premier rooms and three suites and includes 48 Deluxe rooms in the original wing.
Grand Dragon Suite (Designed by Anjum) = 800 sqft
Premier Executive Suite = 1280 sqft
The en-suite bathrooms have modern fittings with separate shower stalls and amenities, which are ammonia free, and nontoxic.
The hotel lobby too has had a makeover. At the entrance are a pair of dragons, ubiquitous in Ladakh and considered a symbol of enlightenment, these can be seen all over Leh carved over roofs, gates of temples, furniture etc. Plush sofas, couches and centre tables inspired from traditional Ladakhi and modern design give the area and pleasant and home like feeling.
Just off the Lobby is the new souvenir store that stocks every craft and artifact and craft from the state of Jammu and Kashmir, including the famed, hand embroidered pashmina shawls as well as stunning Ladakhi jewellery.
Coming to FOOD :
The Grand Dragon offers two dining options, serving a range of cuisine, from local thukpa a noodle soup, and momos -stuffed dumplings, to regular Indian fare as well as Chinese and European dishes.
They also have Zasgyath coffee shop located at the lobby level which has a cheerful interior, ornamented with colorful frescoes and an intricate artwork. An open terrace with alfresco seating during the summer months is an ideal place to view the Stok mountain range.
Tusrabs, a more intimate dining area, takes visitors back to ancient times through the black and white photographs lining the walls depicting the Ladakh of yore. Tastefully decorated with kitchen essentials collected by the Abdu family and preserved through generations, grace the shelves and give an insight into how the locals live.
The hotel is also designed with spacious banquet areas to host conferences for up to 200 people and other celebratory events both indoors and outdoors in the sprawling lawns. The hotel is well equipped with modern conference facilities such as audio-visual equipment and the team is well trained to assist in arranging special themed events, evening soirees with bon fires and local cultural shows.
Advantage for all Health and Fitness freaks :
For those wanting to continue with their fitness routine, there’s a fully equipped gym with cardio machines, for those looking for relaxation there are sauna and steam rooms and massage chairs. An activity centre for kids’ keeps them entertained, indoor sports such as a Billiards Room is also located on the premises. A well-stocked store within the hotel offers guests a peek in to the various arts and crafts of the region and it’s hard to resist picking up a memento.
Since Leh is at a high altitude all guests are advised to take it easy on their first day and acclimatize themselves. The hotel has a doctor on call to ensure that guests remain in good health.
Things to do in Leh-Ladakh :
Leh, is now on many a travellers’ bucket list. Leh is the largest city in Ladakh and easily accessible by air with daily flights from India’s capital New Delhi, and cities like Srinagar, Jammu, Mumbai, as well as by road from Himachal via Leh –Manali Highway, 473 Kms, and Srinagar via the Srinagar-Leh road, 434 Kms.
Ladakh, also known as the “Roof of the World” with some of the world’s highest motor able roads, offers numerous itineraries for sightseeing to areas such as the Nubra valley, Lamayuru, the Pangong & Tsomiri lakes; ancient monasteries such as Alchi, Thiksey, Hemis or the Druk Padma Korpa Karpo School now famous for featuring in Three Idiots, a Bollywood block buster and even picnics by the Indus or Zanskar river or witnessing traditional music, masked dances, during popular festivals like Losar, Hemis. While the landscape is a photographer’s delight, it also offers fabulous opportunities for adventure sports both easy and extreme, including rafting, trekking, rock climbing, to be removed para-gliding , motorbike rallies, camping by the lakes, etc., all of which are life-enhancing experiences. The local markets, within walking distance from the hotel, have an exquisite collection of coral jewellery, metal and woodwork and colourful masks and charming Tibetan bric-à-brac.
The Grand Dragon Hotel is an ode to Ladakhi heritage and fostering sustainable tourism in the vast unspoilt beauty of Ladakh.
As they say in Ladakh, Julley! Or Welcome to The Roof of the World! We were all satisfied by our trip to Ladakh and it was a “Never-to-forget” trip which was all possible only because of our stay at The Grand Dragon Hotel which gave us a luxurious service and pampered us with traditional Ladakhi hospitality to make us feel on top of the world, literally.