Sukoon is a boat with a history and was originally built in 1979. It has an enviable position on Dal Lake, just one boat in from the end of the row so it is away from the ‘madding crowds’ which are massed together further down the line, and it feels ultimately peaceful, exclusive and private!
Sukoon (meaning ‘tranquillity’ or ‘relaxation’) is also a Sufi term referring to an elevated state of mind that combines peace, wisdom and contentment. This is what the inspired owners of Sukoon aim to achieve for their guests by bringing the traditional concept of a residential houseboat into the modern era, whilst losing none of the charm of these boats’ historical past.
Today Sukoon raises the level of houseboat accommodation on the lakes to an all new high. Even in Kashmir’s tourism peak of the 70’s and 80’s, there was not a boat on the water to rival the comforts that Sukoon now offers. Each of the 5 spacious rooms (including one suite) has a large window facing onto the lake and a roomy bathroom with both a separate shower and bath tub and gallons of piping hot water!
The original glass chandeliers have been polished up and are now gleaming and the cedar wood panelling has been retained and beautifully restored so that the intricate carving is clearly visible. The furniture throughout the boat is in keeping with the traditional style of ‘a houseboat’ but has been adapted to cater to the modern day traveller so that it ‘works’ and fulfils its purpose.
Juxtaposed with the wood panelling are splashes of bright colour which brighten and contemporise the interiors giving them a fresh, modern feel. Needless to say, the mattresses and sofas are all deep and luxurious, and wherever you sit or lie on this boat, it will be a pleasure! The bedrooms are lined up towards the rear of the boat with the front of the boat being home to a spacious sitting room and cosy dining room.
The front verandah is a lovely place to while away a few moments watching life on the lake quietly unfold before you. Unique to any boat on Dal Lake is Sukoon’s stunning roof terrace where guests can relax and enjoy the views, either under a shamiana (canopy), or soaking up the full glory of the sun, gazing across the lake to the mighty Himalaya.
All meals can be served on board - in the dining room or roof terrace (weather permitting) and, after a memorable rooftop sundowner, dining here is a treat and a feast. Kashmiri, Indian and limited continental dishes are served by a team of friendly staff from both Kashmir and Kerala. Come and relax here for a heavenly few days of sunshine, walking, exploration, water trekking in the warm days of summer or use it as a wonderfully comfortable, restorative break after some energetic skiing in Gulmarg.
In keeping with the owners’ strong focus on environmental issues, Sukoon is fitted with a Bio tank, so no waste is discharged in the lake – the only Bio tank on the lake! They have a "no plastic" policy, so do not serve water from plastic bottles but from gleaming copper jugs. The boat has a highly efficient reverse osmosis system for water purification. Only re-cycled wood has been used in the renovation of the boat. Their motorboat is solar powered and by next season the houseboat will run on solar power.
Srinagar’s finest houseboat would be a superb venue for a small group of friends to take for a few days to party on the lake. Combined with charming service and delicious Kashmiri cuisine along with its sublime lake setting and views, this could provide a memorable party destination. Copious quantities of alcohol could be difficult to arrange. Varied entertainment possible.
For reservations please contact your tour operator, your local travel agent,
or the hotel.
Take an early morning Shikhara ride to the floating market.
By air to Srinagar, followed by a half hour drive, followed by a 10 minute Shikhara ride across Dal Lake. It has its own Shikhara and motorboat which is at guests’ disposal for lake crossings.
By road from Gulmarg, Sonmarg and Phalagam or by a long journey over from Ladakh.