Heading to Ladakh and looking for somewhere exceptional to stay? Here are eight of the best luxury camps and hotels in Ladakh to inspire you! Most are situated in and around Leh.
Ladakh's first true boutique hotel, the attractive Gomang Hotel opened in 2014 and is located on the peaceful outskirts of Leh. Not surprisingly, it's very sought after. The hotel has a garden setting, inviting common room and 15 brightly decorated rooms, all heated and with comfortable beds. Service is friendly and helpful. Do note that only vegetarian food is available there. Expect to pay 9,000 rupees per night for a double room with breakfast included.
The eco-friendly Grand Dragon opened in 2007 and is Leh’s only luxury hotel. It's decorated with magnificent paintings by Gulam Mustafa (the first modern artist of Ladakh). Facilities include coffee shop, oriental restaurant, rooftop terrace and garden with mountain views, kid's activity center, health club, games, and even oxygen for guests who are suffering from altitude sickness. There are 48 guest rooms. Expect to pay 16,000 rupees per night upwards for a double including breakfast. Various packages, including an eight night honeymoon package, are offered. Book early as this hotel fills up fast!
Ever wanted to stay in a yurt? If so, head to the Ladakh Sarai, which has 14 well-appointed Mongolian yurt cottages in a serene grove of willow, poplar, and apricot trees. Created in 1978 by British adventure travel pioneers Tiger Mountain, The Sarai is only 10 minutes drive from Leh. It has views over the Stok Kangri Range (the highest peak in Ladakh). The hospitality is outstanding and there's an organic garden on the premises, providing the ingredients for the delicious and diverse community meals that are served. Rates start from around 7,000 rupees per night for a double.
With the tagline "Hedonism in the Himalayas", Tsermang Eco Camp has eight luxury tents for glamping (glamorous camping) in India. Each is named after a Buddhist monastery from the Indus Valley. The camp has a fabulous location along the picturesque banks of the Indus River, 10 minutes drive from Leh. Run by a Frenchman and his Indian wife, it's open from early May until mid September. 2016 will be its fifth season. Expect to pay 9,500 rupees per night for a double, including breakfast and dinner. Gourmet food is freshly prepared and served.
For an unforgettable, one-in-a-lifetime experience, don't miss staying at the stately and mysterious Stok Palace -- the summer home of the Ladakh Royal Family! Yes, it's still occupied by them (the 34th generation of the family) and you'll get an exclusive insight into their everyday lives. Guests are welcome to freely roam around and be a part of all daily activities, including prayers in the private monastery, sessions with local people coming to meet King Jigmed Namgyal, and festival lunches. Historic Stok Palace is located 25 minutes from Leh, and has been carefully restored by the current occupants. There are six cozy suites for guests.
The exclusive Ultimate Traveling Camp has a string of seasonal camps, and this one is set up with a magical view of Thiksey Monastery, around 25 minutes from Leh. It has nine luxury tents and four presidential tents, each with private decks, on its substantial 27 acre grounds. The camp is open from mid June until the end of September. Guests are required to book a three, four, five or seven night package, targeted towards adventure lovers. Rates start from 66,000 rupees for a double, for three nights, including transfers, all meals and guided excursions. (These are Indian rates, foreign tourists pay more). Additional possible activities include board games, archery, nature walks, birding, village walks and cycling on the Thiksey village trails.
Atmospheric Nimmu House is one of the last surviving noble houses, built in the traditional Ladakhi style of architecture. It's located in Nimmu village, around 40 minutes from Leh, and close to the Indus and Zanskar rivers. (Nimmu village is a popular base for treks and visits to monasteries in the region). Newly renovated, this chic house has 30 rooms, two Buddhist temples, stables, and a sprawling orchard. There are 12 gorgeous guest rooms and five luxury tents, as well as hammocks to relax in. The European fare that's serviced is a tasty surprise. Local dishes are also available. Rates start from 9,000 rupees per night for a double, including breakfast and dinner.
An extraordinary property, the Nubra Organic Retreat a must-stay place when visiting Hunder (4-5 hours from Leh), particularly for anyone with an interest in organic food and farming. This organic oasis is a family business that was started by a retired school teacher and famous farmer. It comprises an extensive vegetable garden and fruit orchard spread over eight acres of land, conveniently close to the alpine desert renowned for its Bactrian camel rides. Guests are accommodated in 20 Swiss deluxe tents with attached bathrooms. Each offers a spectacular view of snow clad Himalayan peaks. Rates range from 3,500-5,000 rupees per night for a double.