Where Kashmir’s Rich Architectural Design Meets Grandeur – The Khyber Himalayan Resort And Spa

  • 3 Jan '24
  • 2:10 pm by Satarupa Datta

An ice carpet spread across the valleys and pine woods creates one of the largest ski grounds in India with the majestic Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas in view— this is Kashmir’s Gulmarg. From celebrities to globe-trotting adventure seekers, many have found themselves entranced by the magic of this winter wonderland. Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa was conceived as an exceptional refuge offering a luxe experience, with gracious hospitality that transcends run-of-the-mill categories. Gulmarg’s first luxury resort, Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa has introduced India’s only luxe ski holiday. To model a luxurious property in India’s most picturesque location, architect Anil Badan has combined exquisite traditional design elements that echo the cherished heritage of Kashmir.

Located at a height of 4,200 m above sea level, the Apharwat Peak is visible from The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa offering majestic Views. (Image Credit: The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa)

Getting There 

Since there are no airports or railway stations in Gulmarg, the best way to arrive here is by taking a flight to Srinagar, the closest airport. Following that a beautiful road journey of 65 km around hairpin bends rimmed by wooded mountains awaits. 


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Elevating the true value of Kashmir’s craftsmanship through the extensive use of pine and indigenous woods in furnishings that evoke the spirit of Kashmiri artistry into every nook and cranny of the hotel space. (Image Credit: The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa)

Architecture And Design 

Perched at an elevation of 8,825 feet in the majestic Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas, the Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa is a picturesque representation of the rich culture and heritage of Kashmir. Rimmed by layers of Alpine forest, every corner opens up to the breathtaking mountainscapes of Gulmarg. The resort is a haven of luxury, designed to entice in every way. Anil Badan of Studio B Architects, the Principal designer says,  “Our team studied local architecture, culture, and colours extensively in the making of the perfect place for a relaxing vacation. Primarily, we aimed to reflect the indigenous Kashmiri culture.” Khyber’s interiors showcase a melange of architectural styles that borrowed from colonial, Mughal and Kashmiri design styles. The opulent silk woven carpets, walnut carved-wooden furniture, the vibrant papier mâché artworks, and the elaborate ceiling and panel work in Khatamband designs are the rightful keepsakes to the painstakingly handcrafted artistry of Kashmir bequeathed by its Persian ancestry.

The design of the all-season temperature-controlled pool captivates all with its glass enclosure reaching from the floor to the ceilings, where the indoors intertwine with the outdoors. Besides its temperature-controlled environment, six built-in jacuzzis and a dedicated kids’ pool complete the pool experience. Presenting a stunning indoor pool space design, the architects’ team adds, “The pool area seamlessly connects to luxurious facilities such as a snack bar, sauna, steam room, and other amenities providing guests a serene escape while being cocooned awe-inspiring natural beauty.”

The spirit of Kashmir is woven in small details like the motifs and iconography —from classic florals, and chinar leafs on the duvet to spectacular geometrical patterns of khatamband on the wallpapers and ceilings. (Image Credit: The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa)
A luxury warm bath at the private in-room jacuzzi with forest essential luxurious bath collection.
(Image Credit: The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa)

Luxury Suites and Cottages 

There are 80 luxurious rooms, four duplex cottages, and one presidential cottage. The luxury balcony Himalayan View Room is recommended. it comes with antique-designed furniture, flooring draped in silk carpets, a four-fixture bathroom design, and the room space sheathed with crewelwork fabric emanating warm colours with hues of gold. The luxurious architecture also follows you into the private jacuzzi decked in a richly designed Khatamband ceiling. The in-room infotainment and amenities all cater to five-star categories and above. In an endeavour to achieve design innovation, all the luxury rooms combat the sub-zero temperature as they are retrofitted floorings that heat up automatically. 


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The balconies are equipped with an automatic floor heating system to give ultimate comfort to luxury seekers along with stunning winter views. (Image Credit: The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa)

The Duplex Cottage Rooms conjures a ‘home away from home’ vibe where living space, artistry, and nature have been fused into one magical setting. The most striking feature of this room category is the manicured private front lawn boasting 360 views of the mountains & dense fir pine trees. Spread across two levels and a conjoining regal stairway, the Presidential Cottage mixes Italian aesthetics with rich Indian accents to create the next level of luxury living in the mountains

Brava’s decor features plush leather and bright sofas placed on the rough marble flooring, arranged in a Herringbone pattern to replicate an Après-ski dining. (Image Credit: The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa)


Upon entering, one is lured to ‘Chaikash’, the stylish tea lounge that opens up onto a wooden viewing deck perfect for indulging in the slow ritual of sipping tea along with a delectable patisserie. The Moroccan-inspired hookah lounge, Calabashsends out a vibrant ambience infusing colourful locally crafted wall tiles, and traditional Moorish motifs and lamps. The menu ranges from Indian kebabs to mezze platters and some oriental favourites like rock shrimp tempura and sriracha chicken gyoza. At Clove, the all-day dining expects to savour continental fares to the robust flavours of Indian tandoors and the aromatic Kashmiri staples like gushtaba and nadru yakni. A new entrant to Khyber’s dining scene is ‘Brava,’ reminiscent of a trattoria of the Italian Alps. The wood-fired pizzas are all the rage here and worth surrendering an evening. If Indian grills and barbeque evenings are your kind, Nouf with the stunning views of the Pir Panjal is the place to be. 


Recreation and Leisure

The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa lies at the centre of all winter action, a high-altitude retreat made for families and serious downhillers. The pristine white canvas of the snowy meadows calls for skiing, and snowboarding, and the high mountain slopes encourage heli-skiing to professionals.   Khyber is also a sanctuary for rejuvenation and wellness. The all-glass indoor pool in the east block serves as a tranquil retreat from the day’s adventure offering panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains. The Khyber Spa by L’OCCITANE located within The Khyber wellness block, with the high peaks as your backdrop is a luxury cocoon of its own to unwind after the day’s activity.


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The architects bring a sense of luxury to this contemporary all-glass temperature-controlled pool. (Image Credit: The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa Gulmarg)

Final Thoughts 

While some spaces of The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa bear the hallmark of Kashmiri craftsmanship through an array of intricate design elements, others open new boundaries in architecture, evoking intrigue in the overall design. The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa is perfectly tailored to complement the grandeur and magnificence of the exquisite mountain setting of Gulmarg. As the chill of the season sets in, make your dream ski holiday a reality in India with The Khyber Himalayan Resort and Spa. 


#DP Loves 

  • The Private Jacuzzi in the luxury rooms
  • The much-acclaimed Spa L’OCCITANE, a luxurious Mediterranean-themed spa 
  • The open concept of the lobby floor allows each space to flow cohesively into the next.
  • The new Italian restaurant Brava’s dark rustic tone and alpine features 
  • Richly woven silk carpets and extensive art collections unveil Kashmir’s rich craftsmanship
  • Lastly the most photographed temperature-controlled pool with surreal Himalayan views.