On the edge of Lake Dal in Srinagar, meticulously restored houseboat hotel Sukoon is blissfully tranquil – the Sufi name means peace, wisdom and contentment. Inside, traditional carved wooden walls and decorative screens are punctuated by large windows and bright colours that keep things light; outdoors, you can lounge on the boat’s roof deck or make your way into nearby Srinagar for a dose of history. Then, as night falls, dine alfresco on traditional Kashmiri dishes on the boat’s terrace, then sail off to sleep to the sounds of the lake.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of wine and a boat ride on a traditional shikara
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in: noon.
Double rooms from $161.77 (INR11,523), excluding tax at 28 per cent.
Rates generally include à la carte breakfast and dinner (excluding drinks).
The beautiful carved wood throughout the houseboat – including intricately detailed screens, sundecks and balconies – is typical of the woodwork Srinagar is known for.
15 November to 15 February
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout. In rooms: iPod dock, free bottled water, Kama Ayurveda bath products and air conditioning.
Our favourite rooms
All five of the cosy rooms are similar, with intricately carved wood panels and colourful furnishing. If you’re looking for a bit more space, spring for the suite at the end of corridor; it has a larger bathroom, too.
Bring your breezy linen best to beat the heat and pack delicate slippers to pad about the houseboat in the mornings.
Bring books and plan for a digital semi-detox: WiFi can be sporadic on the lake.
An extra bed can be added for Smiths eight and under, an extra room must be booked for over-nines. The hotel is child friendly and the staff love children, but keep in mind you're on a boat and parental vigilance will be required.
Sukoon uses green cleaning products and toiletries, has its own waste-management plant and leads a campaign to regularly clean the lake.
The diminutive dining room is dark and cosy; perfect for cold, winter nights. In warmer months, dine alfresco on the Fizaa Deck.
Deck yourselves out in loose cottons and colourful natural fabrics in the warmer months, and cosy fleece wraps in the winter.
Chef Deepak cooks up traditional Kashmiri cuisine, along with Thai, Asian-fusion and internationally-inspired dishes. Expect themed dinners, including the famous Kashmiri wazwan, a meat-heavy multi-course feast, and spicy harissa at the breakfast table. Breakfasts and dinners are included; beer and wine are on hand to order if you’re feeling parched. For lunch, choose from a menu of healthy salads, smoothies and fresh fruits.
There’s no bar, but beer, wine and assorted non-alcoholic drinks are available; try the zingy and refreshing Kashmiri Kahwa green tea, made with saffron, cardamom and ginger.
Breakfast from 7am to 10am, dinner from 7pm. Guests are welcome to eat lunch or snack at any time from 10am to 7pm.
Guests can request breakfast in their rooms, but everyone typically eats together.
Kabootar Khana Near Rani Mahal, Dal Lake, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir
Sukoon houseboat is moored on Dal Lake, surrounded by lotuses and lilies; the snow-covered peaks of the Pir Panjal mountains are visible in the distance.
Srinagar International Airport is 18 kilometres away; arrange a transfer with the hotel for up to five people for INR1800 each way.
Udhampur Railway Station is a seven-hour drive from Sukoon. Transfers can be arranged for up to five people for INR8500 each way.
There’s no parking available by this houseboat hotel, so we recommend arranging private transfers or using public transport instead.
Hail a rickshaw from nearby Srinagar to experience public transport the Kashmiri way.
Worth getting out of bed for
Hop on a wooden shikara boat to sightsee through the lake’s backwaters, keeping an eye out for colourful local birds; early risers can peruse the floating markets on Dal and Nagin lakes at dawn, too. Get your daily dose of greenery by exploring the Unesco-listed Mughal Gardens of Srinagar, or join in one of Sukoon’s guided nature walks. Wind your way through Old City Srinagar to spot mosques and temples, or trek up to what remains of Hari Parbat, the Mughal emperor's impressive hilltop fortress.
For local cuisine, look to look to Ahdoos Restaurant; it also dishes out Mughlai and Chinese cuisine. If you’re in the mood for Western fare, snag a seat on the terrace at Latitude.
For coffee with cakes and pastries in town, stop by 14th Avenue Café and Grill; both the cheesecakes and the red velvet are especially fluffy and light.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this houseboat hotel in India and unpacked their local wood carving and souvenir kurta, a full account of their boutique Kashmiri break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Sukoon in Srinagar…
Surrounded by water lilies on the edge of Lake Dal, houseboat hotel Sukoon lives up to its promise of delivering contentment. Spend your days watching the tiny boats glide across the water from the covered lower balcony and sunning yourselves silly on the boat’s roof deck; the extra height advantage gives a direct gaze-line to the snow-capped mountains in the distance.
Inside, your den-like room is all intricately carved wood panels (including the ceiling) and large picture windows that fill the space with natural light. Take your meals on the alfresco dining deck for a bit of a breeze with your Kashmiri cuisine, and at night let the houseboat almost imperceptibly rock you to sleep. This is life at a lake-pace.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Sukoon ’s Guestbook below.
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