Hotels & Houseboats
In Srinagar there are hotels to suit every requirement in terms of price, location and facilities. The most desirable location for a hotel is considered the Boulevard, which overlooks the Dal Lake. Hotel rooms that overlook the lake, cost more than the rest. Dalgate, which is fairly central for shopping and nearest to the Tourist Reception Centre, has mostly budget accommodation. Some good hotels are also located in Sonawar and Rajbagh, which are largely residential areas within 2 kms of the Tourist Reception Centre. Also there are several hotels on Residency Road, which is right in the middle of a shopping centre, very close to the Tourist Reception Centre. Lal Chowk, in the city’s centre, has several medium category hotels, mostly preferred by visiting traders.
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Houseboats: Many tourists are attracted to Srinagar by the charm of staying on a houseboat, which provide the unique experience of living on the water in a cedar-paneled elegant bedroom, with all the conveniences of a luxury hotel. Srinagar's thousand or so houseboats are moored along sections of the Dal and Nagin Lakes and river Jhelum, each decorated fancifully and named romantically and even whimsically. Like hotels, houseboats vary in degree of luxury and have been accordingly graded by the Department of Tourism. A luxury houseboat, like a luxury hotel has fine furniture, good carpets and modern bathroom fittings, while the lower category houseboats, like low-budget hotels, is spartanly furnished. Like hotels too, houseboats vary widely in their locations. Some overlook the main road, others look out onto lotus gardens and yet others face tiny local markets and villages, all right in the middle of the lake! All houseboats, regardless of category, have highly personalized service. Not only is there always a "houseboy" for every boat, but the owner and his family are never far away. The cost per day of hiring a houseboat may include all meals and free rides from the houseboat to the nearest jetty and back, as no houseboat on the lakes is directly accessible from the banks.
Every standard houseboat provides a balcony in the front, a lounge, dining room, pantry and bedrooms with attached bathrooms. All houseboats not moored to the bank of the river or lakes provide a shikara service from the houseboat to the nearest ghat (jetty). Virtually every houseboat in Srinagar has been provided with a municipal water connection.