In spite of its tiny size, there are quite a few options when it comes to Sonmarg Hotels, ranging from budget to resort-like accommodations. The two properties owned by JKTDC fall somewhere in the middle of this range. One of them lies in the heart of the market and offers great accessibility to the amenities in the area. However, we opted for the other, more remote one.
Alpine Hut’s best feature is, no doubt, its fantastic location. It’s away from the crowds and chaos of Sonamarg’s market area and is within walkable distance of its most famous attraction – the Thajiwas Glacier. The hotel is set on rolling hills over lush meadows with perfect views of snow-capped mountains. In the evenings, shepherds graze their goats and sheep in the surrounding meadows giving us visitors a lovely photo opportunity. At night, we saw grazing horses as well; they looked lovely in the moonlight. We loved sitting in the balcony and staring at all these sights; nowhere else have we stayed at a more beautiful location!
However, location is also the only good feature of Alpine Hut. The hotel must be at least 20 years old and must have seen better days. Today its wood is rotting, the carpets are stained, the bathroom fixtures are broken and the bed is not entirely comfortable. We have unfortunately stayed at worse hotels but they were all cheap, budget accommodations. Here, at Rs.2,000 per night, we expected a better-maintained JKTDC facility.
Since it is away from the market area, our food options were limited to ordering room service or walking to the market area. But walking back from the market after dark is not a fun prospect so we had to hire cabs, which cost Rs.200 for the drop; twice as expensive as the meal we had. Room service food, cooked by the caretaker of the facility, was, thankfully, quite good and relatively well-priced.
Rating: 7 out of 10