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Best Places to Stay in Srinagar

Srinagar, the largest city and the summer capital of the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, exemplifies beauty and romance. Srinagar is located on both sides of the Jhelum River in the core of Kashmir Valley. We spent few weeks in Srinagar hopping around different areas with a single objective in mind – to discover and share the city’s best kept secrets in terms of stay and local experiences. In this article we help you understand different stay options available in Srinagar, recommend some places to stay and share with you some highly rated accommodations for you to consider.

Best places to stay in Srinagar, Kashmir, India
Srinagar has variety of options to consider for stay. Read this article to identify the right place for you

Suggested read

Travel Guide to Srinagar, Kashmir

Offbeat places to visit in Kashmir


Table of contents

  1. Where to stay in Srinagar?

  2. What are the Prime areas to stay in Srinagar?

  3. Should you Stay in Houseboats in Srinagar?

  4. What to expect from Houseboats in Srinagar?

  5. So should you book a houseboat stay on Dal Lake or Nigeen Lake?

  6. Recommended places to stay in Srinagar based on our experience

  7. Mascot Houseboat

  8. Naivasha Ladakh House

  9. The Cottage Nigeen

  10. Other Highly-Rated Places to Stay in Srinagar

  11. High end luxury chain hotels in Srinagar

  12. Boutique hotels in Srinagar

  13. Houseboats in Srinagar

  14. Homestays / AirBnBs in Srinagar

  15. Hostels in Srinagar

  16. Suggested travel partner for Kashmir - Cliffhangers India


Where to stay in Srinagar?

Finding the right places to stay could be quite confusing in a place like Srinagar which has more than 1500 stays listed online, and out of that more than 200 stays have more than 4 star reviews out of 5. The prices for these accommodations range from Rs.500 per night to upwards of Rs.30,000 per night. It becomes all the more complicated, as seasoned travellers might notice, that many properties and house boats have high ratings on google that are paid for or bought. Let us help you break this problem down.

What are the Prime Areas to Stay in Srinagar?

Our travel guide to Srinagar highlighted all the places of interest summarized in map below. If you just zoom in and see where most hotels are located in Srinagar, you would find 4 areas that are pretty concentrated. You can plan on staying in one or more of these 4 prime areas based on your preference and purpose.

1. Around Boulevard road
Prime areas to stay in Srinagar, Kashmir, India
Areas in purple are prime areas where you would find number of options to stay

As you enter Dal gate, you would find yourself on a buzzing and beautiful lake side road called Boulevard road. On your right, you would find hotels, restaurants, and shops, and on your left across the water, you would find houseboats lined up. This area is very popular amongst tourists who like to stay in happening busy areas. While the Boulevard road goes on for ~13 kms, we refer to first couple of kms here till around Nehru park area.

2. Around Nishat Bagh & Shalimar Bagh

As you continue driving on the Boulevard road on the lake side, you will find the crowd fading. Once you get closer to some of the popular gardens, you will see many accommodations popping up on the hill side. This area has some well known names in hospitality as well as a number of new hotels/guest houses/homestays located in and around towns of Nishat and Shalimar (While these names are famous as gardens, they are also towns where these gardens were made). These areas are far more peaceful than the areas around the Boulevard road, yet have easy access to Dal lake. Also, you should have your vehicle pre-booked if you are staying in one of these areas. On-the-spot booking of cabs or autos for transportation can be challenging in some of these areas. This is a good area to stay for long term.

3. Nagin Bagh and Nasim Bagh area

If you visit the western side of the Dal Lake, you will pass quite busy and trafficky area called Rainawari, and then find a bridge, where on the left lies Nigeen Lake and on the right lies portions of Dal lake. Beyond this bridge, is the Nagin Bagh area, where you will find a number of stay options from Kashmiri houses converted into guest house/homestays to Kashmiri houseboats. Moving further, beyond Hazratbal, lies the Nasim Bagh area, which primarily is an area where you will find more locals than tourists. This area still has quite a few hotels, resorts, and homestays. Hence, this could be a good area to stay for long term as well. Both these areas are ideal to stay if you want easy access to both Nigeen and Dal Lake. Also, these are peaceful areas without many hawkers and commercial haggling.

4. Around Raj Bagh and Lal Chowk area

Both Raj Bagh and Lal Chowk are slightly away from the lakes of Srinagar. Raj Bagh is one of the most posh residential localities of Srinagar, while Lal chowk is a commercial market area and historically significant city square. Both these areas have a number of hotels and some homestays to stay. The general rates for Raj Bagh hotels, as you would expect, are on a higher side than a similar hotel in Lal Chowk. These areas are ideal if you tend to spend a lot of time in shopping and are okay staying a little away from the lakes. If you are using Srinagar as a base to do day trips to nearby destinations, staying in these areas will help you enter and exit the city much more swiftly than the other areas avoiding many trafficky parts.

Should you stay in Houseboats in Srinagar?

As a central point for tourism in Kashmir, Srinagar is fairly urban and has all types of accommodation options. From backpacking hostels to high end luxurious chain of hotels, from cozy homestays to boutique accommodations, you will find a number of options to stay in Srinagar. A unique kind of stay that you will find in Srinagar is a houseboat.

What to expect from Houseboats of Srinagar?

It’s a no-brainer that if you are in Srinagar, you must spend at least one night in a houseboat. Houseboats are not just accommodations, they are an experience in itself! The houseboats on Dal Lake and Nigeen Lake are the best places to stay in Srinagar if you want to experience the local way of life. Based on how basic or luxurious houseboat you have chosen, you would find traditional wood carvings, carpets, chandeliers, and décor. Note that the houseboats in Srinagar are anchored and they do not move as the houseboats in Kerala do. You may not realize you are on water till you gaze outside or a motorboat passes that creates strong ripples that you may feel.

Houseboats in Srinagar, Kashmir, India
Houseboats are unique experiences to stay in Srinagar, Kashmir

You would usually have to reach a ghat (few steps leading to the lake) and ring your houseboat host. They arrange for a shikara boat to pick you up along with your luggage. Note that, while booking, you confirm if the cost of the pick-up is included in your room rate or not. Most houseboats have common areas, such as drawing or TV room, dining area, small kitchen, followed by rooms depending on the size of the boat. The rooms tend to have common walls and hence they can have less privacy, as these are wooden structures without much sound proofing.

So, should you book a houseboat stay on Dal Lake or Nigeen Lake?

We stayed in houseboats in both Dal Lake and Nigeen Lake and can tell you all about the stark difference we observed in the two.

Dal lake is huge but most houseboats are concentrated in a small area. On Dal Lake, houseboats are anchored vertically and they are so many in number that they are placed very close to each other and packed bumper to bumper. When you try spending some leisure and relaxed time on the deck of the houseboats on Dal Lake, you are constantly approached by hawkers selling little trinkets in their small boats. So many that, after some time, they interfere/ruin your peace and you start getting irritated. It will also help if you check with your host beforehand, the ghat number where you should reach to get on to the houseboat. Dal Gate (point where the Dal Lake starts) is Ghat 1, and till about Ghat 12, you will find the area pretty busy.

Houseboats on Dal lake in Srinagar, Kashmir, India
Though Dal lake is huge, the houseboats are concentrated in an area close to Dal gate

On Nigeen Lake, many houseboats (not all!) are anchored horizontally, which means you get the view of the lake not just from the deck of the houseboat, but from every room, including the bedroom. Though much smaller in size, Nigeen Lake has far less houseboats and is more peaceful and serene than Dal Lake, making it one of the best places to stay in Srinagar. You can enjoy time with your friends and family here without any interruptions, as there are very less or close to no hawkers in this lake. We highly recommend booking rooms in a houseboat in Nigeen Lake, but if you are in Srinagar for a very short duration and Nigeen Lake is not a part of your itinerary, renting a houseboat in Dal Lake is also satisfactory and not that bad. Just try to stay away from peddlers.

Houseboats in Nigeen lake in Srinagar, Kashmir, India
Nigeen Lake is smaller than Dal Lake but the houseboats are relatively less and spread out

Recommended places to stay in Srinagar based on our experience

While areas around Dal Lake still remain the most popular areas to stay in Srinagar for the tourists, we ventured out two to three lanes beyond the touristy circle and found some wonderful gems in terms of stay. We recommend booking a stay at one of these accommodations and explore the Srinagar city amidst warm hospitality.

Mascot Houseboats

There are plenty palatial tourist accommodations on land. There’s even a ‘Palace on Wheels’ - the luxury tourist train run by Rajasthan Tourism Department. But have you heard of a ‘Palace on Water?’ We have found one for you - Mascot Houseboats in Srinagar. This is an ultra-luxurious houseboat that matches, and in some cases, exceeds conventional 5-star stay experiences. You can easily call it a ‘piece of art.’

Mascot houseboat on Nigeen Lake, Srinagar
We would highly recommend staying in Mascot Houseboats in Nigeen lake, Srinagar

Mascot Houseboats is one of the best places to stay in Srinagar. It is a group of 3 houseboats, located in a remote, quiet corner of the Nigeen Lake with the best views of surrounding mountains. It is a family business run by one of the oldest travel companies in Srinagar. They have rooms that cater to all types of budgets. A complimentary Shikara ride brings you to Mascot Houseboats from the ghat of the Nigeen Lake.

Arial view of Mascot houseboats on Nigeen lake, Srinagar
Arial view of Mascot houseboats on Nigeen lake, Srinagar

Mascot Houseboats are made of superior quality cedar (deodar) wood and the attention to detail that has been put to build these houseboats is commendable. Firstly, the houseboats are massive with a large deck, a huge living room, a spacious dining room, a small kitchen, and enormous bedrooms. It additionally features an upper deck offering stunning views of Nigeen Lake and surrounding mountains. Over and above that, every corner of the houseboat is pure art with exquisite intricate carvings, royal crystal chandeliers, gorgeous Khatamband ceilings, classic draperies, fine craft work on all furniture, and through-and-through Kashmiri carpeting. Every nook of the houseboat oozes Kashmirism.

Each room in Mascot Houseboat is themed and can be differentiated based on the style of the wood carving and décor. We stayed in one of the suites with latest comforts that one would have least expected in a houseboat. The rooms are centrally heated/air-conditioned with a temperature controller in each room. They have huge windows overlooking the lake. The bathrooms are big with bathtub, a separate bathing area, and rich toiletries. These features stand out to make Mascot Houseboats a best place to stay in Srinagar.

Mascot Houseboat is amongst the most lavish accommodation you would find and is one of the best places to stay in Srinagar. We never felt a need to step out to explore Srinagar while staying there. What did we do? Well, a lot! Mornings were spent at the upper deck watching the rising sun cast a rosy hue across the sky, followed by a wholesome breakfast, after which we lazed around either on the front deck or upper deck with a book from their interesting book collection.

View from rooms in Mascot Houseboats, Nigeen Lake, Srinagar, India
View from rooms in Mascot Houseboats, Nigeen Lake, Srinagar, India

We spent afternoons besides the window in our bedroom, watching the shikaras and the fishermen boats pass by, and enjoying the changing colours of the Nigeen lake. Evenings were again spent at the upper deck soaking in the dramatic surroundings as the Mahadev Mountain peak and the lake water glowed with golden colour cast by the setting sun.

View from upper deck of Mascot houseboats, Nigeen lake, Srinagar
View from upper deck of Mascot houseboats, Nigeen lake, Srinagar

What really differentiated our experience at Mascot Houseboats was the service. The host, Mr. Shoukat, made sure we had everything we wanted. He is extremely hospitable. He was enthusiastic in giving us a tour and explained every detail of the iconic houseboat. We’re sure he’s congratulated quite often for his dedication towards building this artistic accommodation. The delight with which he described Kashmiri culture is nothing but commendable.

On learning that we are vegetarians, he instructed his kitchen staff to prepare us a vegetarian Kashmiri Wazwan, which was served in salubrious courses. We still miss the food we enjoyed on board. Not to forget, the generous servings of tea and Kahwa with homemade cookies and delicious breads.

Dining table at Mascot houseboat, Srinagar, Kashmir, India
Food at Mascot houseboat is amazing and lavish

As we retired to our comfortable beds in the night, after watching the innumerous stars lit the sky, we felt at home. We urge everyone visiting Srinagar to stay with Mascot houseboats and experience the most authentic Kashmiri hospitality with artistic surroundings.

Houseboats at Mascot are tucked in a peaceful corner of Nigeen Lake, Srinagar, Kashmir, India
Houseboats at Mascot are tucked in a peaceful corner of Nigeen Lake, Srinagar, Kashmir, India

Book Mascot houseboat from their website or any of the online travel portals below -

Naivasha Ladakh House

Are you an authentic traveler who cares more about the experiences while travelling than ticking-off sightseeing spots? Do you crave for genuine conversations and prefer living with the locals irrespective of the centrality of the location? If your answer to these two questions is ‘yes’, then go ahead and book your stay with Naivasha Ladakh House in Srinagar. After having stayed at Naivasha Ladakh House, we are confused how to categorise this accommodation. Well, for us, it was a one in all - a homestay, an apartment, a boutique stay, a retreat, an orchard stay, and a home away from home. It has earned our respect as one of the best places to stay in Srinagar.

House at Naivasha ladakh homestay in Srinagar, Kashmir
House at Naivasha ladakh homestay in Srinagar, Kashmir

Naivasha Ladakh House is Fozia and Siddiq’s house and they are kind souls to share their heavenly abode with visitors. We found this gem on AirBnB as they only take booking from this travel website. No, you won’t find it anywhere else, not even on Google Maps, and that’s what makes this place all the more special. The hosts rent out 2 apartments housed in their premises to guests - both fully furnished with an attached kitchen. Their orchard in the backyard is the best part of the accommodation.

Garden at Naivasha Ladakh house, Srinagar, Kashmir, India
Though we visited right before their garden blossoms, we had lovely time each day sitting and having meals in their garden

Our booking with Naivasha Ladakh House was pretty last minute, but Fozia ensured that the studio apartment type room is ready when we arrived. The place instantly felt like home. The bedroom is quite spacious and furnished with an eye for detail. There’s a large double bed, two lounge chairs, a centre table, a wardrobe, and a study table with a revolving chair. The washroom was large and clean and we were provided with quality toiletries. The fully-functioning kitchenette had a burner stove, an electric kettle, a refrigerator, all basic utensils, and spices.

Rooms in Naivasha Ladakh House, Srinagar, Kashmir
Well furnished studio room at Naivasha Ladakh House homestay that takes care of every detail

Fozia had kept a loaf of local bread, jam, butter, and some fruits for us in the kitchen. So very thoughtful! Not just this, our room also had hot water bags, iron, and a hair dryer. They have high-speed WiFi that works flawlessly in their entire property. Electric blankets, heater, and 24 hours hot running water ensured that we stayed warm and cosy. What more can you ask for?!

Kitchen at Naivasha ladakh house homestay in Srinagar, Kashmir
Attached kitchen has various essentials from spices to oil to bread, appliances and utensils

A few highlights of our stay at Naivasha Ladakh House are having all our meals in their garden with company of several species of birds, our interesting conversations with Fozia about Kashmiri culture and beyond, walking to the Dal Lake every evening (15-20 min walk), and learning a thing or two about gardening from their gardener.

Fozia is knowledgeable, well-read, and an excellent host. She suggested us places to visit and local cuisines that we must try, and we were not disappointed with any of her recommendations. What made our experience better staying at Naivasha Ladakh House is the keenness and interest with which Fozia spoke to us about Kashmir, its issues, its art and craft, and its culture. Fozia and Siddiq are setting great standards to make guests feel at home and hence is one of the best places to stay in Srinagar.

Orchard at Naivasha Ladakh house in Srinagar, Kashmir, India
We visited this lovely orchard right at the beginning of Spring. What a lovely place this would be when it is all green

Each night as we returned back after dinner, it felt like coming back home. The stay is a little away from the central sightseeing locations, but if you like living like a local, don’t think twice and book your stay with them. You can book them from Airbnb.

The Cottage Nigeen

The Cottage is a beautiful homestay located on the banks of Nigeen Lake in Srinagar. The two-storey house is old, but very thoughtfully re-furbished keeping tourists and their comforts in mind. As we entered the secluded narrow lane while driving towards The Cottage Nigeen, we were a bit skeptical, but once we reached, we were surprised to see the homestay’s gate open up to an expansive garden, in the middle of which is the building we will soon call home!

The main house at The cottage Nigeen, Srinagar, Kashmir, India
The main house at The cottage Nigeen, Srinagar, kashmir

The Cottage Nigeen houses 5 bright and comfortable rooms and a seating room, on the first and second floor. The ground floor accommodates the reception, a kitchen, a living room, and a dining room. The house is surrounded by well-maintained garden on all sides. We visited Srinagar towards the end of winter season and all the trees and ground were barren, but at The Cottage Nigeen, we surprisingly found greenery. They have planted plenty evergreens in their garden. It felt like coming home to spring!

Lovely garden at The cottage Nigeen, Srinagar, Kashmir
Lovely garden at The cottage Nigeen, Srinagar, Kashmir

The Cottage Nigeen is fully carpeted, filled with traditional decoration, and promises you a delightful Kashmiri experience. Largely built of wood, the house is warm and cosy on the inside and green and peaceful on the outside. The rooms are larger than most you will find in Srinagar, clean, well-maintained, have a large double bed, chairs with a center table, lots of storage space, floor-to-ceiling mirror, and are equipped with a heater. The washrooms have toiletries and 24-hour running water. All rooms have great views of the surrounding garden.

Spacious rooms at The cottage Nigeen, Srinagar, Kashmir
Spacious rooms at The cottage Nigeen, Srinagar, Kashmir

We spent 2 nights at The Cottage Nigeen and the highlight for us was spending time in the covered sit-out in the garden, enjoying the fresh, sumptuous, home-cooked meals prepared by Tahira, flicking through and reading books in their cosy vintage common living room on the first floor, and having fruitful conversations with Mr. Muslim, our host, about Kashmir and beyond. Everything in the house, right from the architecture, the books, the paintings, to the photographs, took us on a trip to old Kashmir.

Library at The cottage Nigeen, Srinagar, Kashmir
Library at The cottage Nigeen, Srinagar, Kashmir

If you look to enjoy the essence of Kashmir while in Srinagar, like the tall evergreens, Chinar trees, orchards, furniture with intricate carvings, and regional hospitality, then book your stay with The Cottage Nigeen without a second thought. It’s a perfect play to stay in Srinagar if you seek peaceful atmosphere and wish to avoid touristy hustle in the surroundings. The homestay is located in interiors of close to NIT, Srinagar and at walking distance from Hazratbal Masjid. Though located very close to Nigeen Lake, there’s no short way to walk to the lake. But they do have a deluxe room on the top floor which provides lake view.

Common areas in The Cottage Nigeen, Srinagar, Kashmir
The cottage Nigeen is fully carpeted with some well decorated common areas

Book The Cottage Nigeen from the online travel portals below -

Other Highly-Rated Places to Stay in Srinagar

Apart from the accommodations we have recommended above, below are a few other highly-rated places to stay in Srinagar that you may consider depending on your budget and requirements categorized based on type of accommodation. You can also click on icons below to see the prices, reviews and book the stay.

Here is an interactive map showing all the places listed above for you to get an idea of the location -

Suggested travel partner for Kashmir - Cliffhangers India

You may have felt that planning a trip to Srinagar or Kashmir is very daunting. The number of amazing places to see in Kashmir are just too many, and hence it is always a good idea to have a local travel partner who knows each and every place in detail. We found a perfect travel partner in Cliffhangers India who made it easy for us to explore various offbeat places across Kashmir. We also used their expertise to understand and visit the old city of Srinagar. They managed our stays based on our budget and curated our itinerary, which helped us enjoy our tour without any stress.

Cliffhangers India is a Srinagar-based travel agency that specializes in showcasing Kashmir like no one could. From adventure sports to treks, culturally immersive experiences to relaxed vacations, and offbeat explorations to casual staycations, you name it and they can arrange it for you. Check out their official website - Cliffhangers India to explore a wide range of experiences in Kashmir. We highly recommend visiting Kashmir with them and seeing Kashmir through their eyes. They could definitely find the best stays for you as per your needs, but they could also do a lot more to make your trip memorable.

It’s no surprise that Srinagar is filled with travellers all year round. Always remember that the place of stay is crucial when it comes to the satisfaction of a trip. So, if you envision one of these places to stay in Srinagar, make sure to book ahead of schedule. We hope this article will help you experience the true flavours of Kashmir through its amazing stays. If you have any questions or suggestions, please let us know in the comment section below or drop us a mail. Don’t forget to share your views about the best places to stay in Srinagar or how your experience was visiting the city. If you know an accommodation that we should experience in Srinagar, feel free to contact us.

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