This is a part of a series of travelogues on Kashmir – a detailed review of stay & food at kaka palace hotel.
Read the detailed travelogue in the links below:
In a nutshell:
We will remember Kaka Palace hotel due to the super warm hosts (staff), good basic infrastructure, modern day brick & cement building made 5 years back – a section of the hotel with few traditional Gurezi wooden rooms would have been great, outstanding food (we requested for only local food).
Address & other details: Kaka palace hotel
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Cuisine type : vegetarian & nonvegetarian
Disclaimer: All restaurants / eateries reviewed by YUMMRAJ were visited by YUMMRAJ himself & he has paid for the full Bill & tips also. http://www.yummraj.com does not have even one featured / sponsored reviews. YUMMRAJ believes in going to a restaurant in anonymity, as a normal guest, experience everything & give a honest account of the same to you.
YUMMRAJ rates all the food items & then gives a final overall rating, which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster
Cost of the trip was paid by YUMMRAJ to travel planners & consultants, Vana Safaris by UPI payment transfer. From that, Vana Safaris have paid all the food & lodging expenses of the trip.
Short description- in case u r in a hurry
Before we delve into Kaka Palace, let us give you a short background of Gurez.
Gurez is a beautiful place in North Kashmir that is cut off from the rest of world (road travel) due to excess snowfall during 3 months of winter. As of today Foreign tourists are not allowed to go to Gurez (it is very close to Pakistan border). There are multiple document checks (aadhar card) of every person who travels from anywhere else to Gurez, at the multiple checkposts onway.
The traditional houses in Gurez are made of wood planks that are interlocked with each other (no nails / screws). Most of the wood is fallen (not cut). The ones that are cut, are auctioned by Government run forest department.
The inside walls of the houses in Gurez are made with clay & other materials. This combination makes the houses warm during snowy winters as they retain the heat.
Read the detailed story about Gurez & other places in Kashmir here: click here
Kaka Palace Hotel is built like a modern building in any city – brick, concrete, glass, wood frames. It has sloping roof like all buildings in Kashmir. It stands pretty with a mountain in the backdrop. The place is not secluded anymore & a lot of construction is happening all around – looked like tourism related.
The location is good on one side we could walk towards the main market of Dawar & on the other side we could walk towards the Habba Khatoon peak view (with two rivers in the foreground).
The rooms had panelled wood all over.
For tourists like us, at times it’s good to stay in a traditional set up at least for a night, to experience. So this was a disappointment from that angle. Maybe they could have had a few rooms built in the traditional way.
The room we stayed in was large & had ample space. The washroom was modern & was very well maintained.
There were enough & more extra blankets kept in the wardrobe.
Like all houses in Kashmir, there was a wall to wall carpet.
Gurez gets about 5-6 hours electricity in a day. Kaka palace has a huge generator set up to provide electricity in most other times of the day. However at times there are power cuts when the generators have run for long.
Gurez has very bad mobile connectivity. Jio works sometimes. Rest do not work at all.
Kaka Palace dining room has fairly good wifi connectivity for guests. Rooms near to dining hall also get the same. Other rooms dont have wifi.
There is no concept of in-room kettle & tea kit. So guests need to request for beverages every time they want to have. The kitchen prepares & serves the tea.
The only challenge was that the length of the bed was just 6 ft & hence the foot was touching the wooden rim again & again – irritating.
The dining room is another single storied building in the same campus. The interiors of this is panelled with imported wood (we were told, from Australia).
The people in charge were super warm & always helpful, with a smile – not trained plastic smiles but genuine warm smiles. The gentleman who interacted with us most – at all meals & also otherwise, was oberoi / taj standard & genuine nice person on top of that.
Food was excellent. Our brief was simple – please give us some local food, in home cooked style, not commercial cooking style.
Detailed description – In case you have the time to enjoy reading:
Day 1 Dinner
We were served local rajma. It had a thin gravy that was very very flavourful, low on hot (chilly), no floating oil, great to taste. The rajma beans had a bite, yet they were well cooked. Rate it 4.5/5.
Chicken curry again had a super thin gravy that was bursting out with flavour. It was slightly hot. We loved the gravy so much that we drank the gravy to the last drop, like a soup. Rate the gravy 4.95/5
Chicken pieces were good but some (breast pieces) were consistently a bit fibrous. Very good otherwise. Rate the chicken 4/5
Overall rating averages out to 4.5/5
Breakfast day 2
Omelet they served at breakfast was soft & juicy. Very good. Rate it 4/5
Dinner day 2
We again asked for anything local.
The chef gave us chana daal – it had onions in it, a slight sour tinge, perfectly cooked dal not hard not ‘paste like’. Loved the taste & the texture. Rate it 4.5/5
We then had Meatball in a super thin gravy – this turned out to be the second best meatball in the trip so far (after someone’s home). The Gravy was thin like water but it burst out with flavours as soon as it reached the mouth – flavours of meat & spices.
Rate the Meatball 4.95/5
The gravy had slightly less salt. As we added the salt, the gravy became very good to taste. Rate it 4/5.
Overall rating of the dish averages out to 4.5/5
Breakfast day 3
The parathas were very thin, with a thin filling, slightly crisp at the edges, carefully & patiently fried over some time. Rate it 4.5/5
The Kashmiri salted tea, Noon chai was excellent. Rate it 4.5/5
Overall rating of food & beverages at Kaka hotel averages out to 4.4/5
Loved the food & the people who made & served the food.