The Grand Dragon Hotel Ladakh – first international class hotel in remote and isolated outpost

The Grand Dragon Hotel Ladakh, located at a height of 11,562 ft in Leh, Ladakh in the Himalayas, holds a place of pride in the hearts of the locals as it was the first international class hotel in this remote and isolated outpost. Set up in 2007, this hotel was built despite the challenges of being located at a high altitude, redefined hospitality in Leh and set a benchmark for other establishments that came up subsequently.

Presently, it continues to uphold the high standards and is the preferred hotel for upscale travellers looking for luxury and comfort. Owned and managed by the ABDU family, it is part of the Dragon Group of Hotels. Known for their passion for hospitality, the ABDU family has been in this business for the past three decades.

Minutes from the airport and situated in heart of the city centre, The Grand Dragon Hotel was developed and conceptualized by brothers Ghulam Mustafa and Ghulam Mohiuddin. This indigenously designed hotel’s architecture incorporates the famous Rabsal tradition of Ladakh visible in the window treatments and balconies. The dream child of Ghulam Mustafa, also known as the first modern artist of Ladakh, it comes as no surprise that The Grand Dragon is also beautifully adorned with his paintings capturing ancient Ladakhi architecture and culture.

All rooms offer stunning views of the picturesque landscape, the vivid colors of an ever-changing sky and the lofty Himalayan peaks. The Grand Dragon Ladakh now offers 82 rooms with the addition of a new wing, which has 31 Premier rooms and three suites and includes 48 Deluxe rooms in the original wing. Keeping the tradition of Ladakh alive in its interiors and exteriors, the hotel has created luxurious guest rooms and suites. The furnishings in colourful brocades in rich, jewel tones have been specially designed and commissioned with a motif called Koshen, while the hand woven Khabdan rugs and artwork on the wall displaying Ladakhi jewellery adding warmth to the interiors.

The hotel lobby too has had a makeover. At the entrance are a pair of dragons, ubiquitous in Ladakh and considered a symbol of enlightenment, these can be seen all over Leh carved over roofs, gates of temples, furniture etc. Just off the Lobby is the new souvenir store that stocks every craft and artifact and craft from the state of Jammu and Kashmir, including the famed, hand embroidered pashmina shawls as well as stunning Ladakhi jewellery and antiques. The Grand Dragon offers two dining options, serving a range of cuisine, from local thukpa (a noodle soup), and momos (stuffed dumplings), to regular Indian fare as well as Chinese and European dishes.

The Zasgyath coffee shop and Tusrabs, an intimate dining area, taking visitors back to ancient times through the black and white photographs lining the walls depicting the Ladakh of yore. Tastefully decorated with kitchen essentials collected by the Abdu family and preserved through generations, grace the shelves and give an insight into how the locals live. ​

The hotel is also designed with spacious banquet areas to host conferences for up to 200 people and other celebratory events both indoors and outdoors in the sprawling lawns. The team is well trained to assist in arranging special themed events, evening soirees with bon fires and local cultural shows.

For those wanting to continue with their fitness routine, there’s a fully equipped gym with cardio machines, for those looking for relaxation there are sauna and steam rooms and massage chairs. An activity centre for kids’ keeps them entertained. There is also a well-stocked store within the hotel offering guests a peek in to the various arts and crafts of the region and picking up a memento.

The Grand Dragon Hotel is an ode to Ladakhi heritage and fostering sustainable tourism in the vast unspoilt beauty of Ladakh. As they say in Ladakh, Julley!

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