The perfect hotel on the roof of the world!

The Grand Dragon

The Grand Dragon

Leh
, Jammu & Kashmir
, India

Located 11,562 ft above the sea level in the centre of the old city of Leh, the Grand Dragon is built in the traditional Ladakhi style and decorated with handmade paintings by one of the first modern artists of Ladakh.

Our Rating: Premium
Property Type: Wildlife/Nature Lodge

Destination

Whether it is white-water rafting on the Indus or Zanskar rivers, hiking through the Himalayas and trekking to some of the highest mountain passes or exploring quaint mountain villages and old monasteries, Ladakh has much to offer. Leh, a complete destination in its own right, makes for a comfortable base for day trips to Hemis monastery, Thiksey monastery, Likir and Alchi monastery, Pangong lake and Khardung La pass.

Accommodation

Well-appointed with all the modern facilities a traveller would need, the rooms and suites reflect typical Ladakhi ambience. The hotel has four categories of rooms, all of which offer spectacular views.

The 36 deluxe or twin rooms with large picture windows offer uninterrupted views of the snow-capped Stok Kangri mountains, Khardung La pass and Leh palace.The 28 premier heritage rooms overlook the gardens and offer breathtaking views of the Stok Kangri mountains or Khardung La pass, Leh pass and Shanti stupa, depending on the location of the room. The tastefully done 6 family suites overlook the gardens, Leh palace, Shanti stupa and Khardung La pass. Adorned with teak ceilings, the suites come with a large master bedroom that connects to a separate living room. Bathed in luxury, the 6 spacious luxury suites with a master bedroom and a separate interconnecting living room, offer a stunning view of the snow-capped Stok Kangri glacier. The suites standout for the elegant teak wood cornices and furnishings in jewel-toned brocades embossed with floral designs and geometric motifs.

All rooms are equipped with modern ensuite facilities and have amazing views depending on the location of the room.

The family suites and the luxury suites can both accommodate couples travelling with children.

The luxury and family suite both have interconnected living rooms.

Dining

The hotel offers cuisines from around the world in addition to authentic Ladakhi, Tibetan and Chinese cuisine.

The hotel has two dining options and SOLJA, the in-house bakery. Tusrabs offers authentic Tibetan, Ladakhi and Chinese cuisine. Zasgyath, the hotel’s coffee shop cuisines from around the world that change with season.

Experiences

There are a variety of things that one can do at The Grand Dragon. Visit ancient monasteries and heritage sites like the Stok palace and museum, and the Leh palace. For the adventure seekers also, there’s plenty to do – white-water rafting on the Zanskar or Indus river, rock climbing and hiking, and camel and jeep safaris. Wildlife enthusiasts can spot a snow leopard or blue sheep. For those looking to enjoy a slower break too, there are choices, from meditation and yoga to learning about the traditional healing techniques. Or check out the authentic Ladakhi cuisine. If shopping be your interest, local handicrafts make for much sought after souvenirs.

Why we love this place

Nestling in the cradle of the Himalayas with spectacular views of the Stok Kangri range, Khardong La pass, Leh palace and Shanti stupa, the Grand Dragon is both a destination and an experience. One of the first of its kind, it has been the preferred choice of the discerning traveler for close to 50 years. The property is operational not only during season time but also in the winter months for those want to experience Ladakh at this time of the year or perhaps set out to spot snow leopards. Constructed in traditional Ladakhi style, the rooms are tastefully done reflecting the unique local culture and ethos. The hotel adheres to responsible tourism practices, including solar panels for water heating and a number of other features.

About your host

Presently run by Danish and his siblings, the third gerneration of the Abdu family in Leh, the hotel opened with three rooms in 1974. The Grand Dragon came into its present form in 2007. Danish is the face of the brand. A consumate hotelier, he is one of the few stand alone hoteliers who knows his guests personally. He constantly innovates the features and services at the hotel to cater to the global traveller.

Responsible/Sustainable Tourism

The Grand Dragon, Ladakh has been in operation for nearly five decades. Built in the traditional Ladakhi style, it conforms to green architectural standards.

No Single Use Plastic: All rooms and dining areas offer RO water in glass bottles thereby reducing plastic use. Additionally bulk purchasing is practiced. Bathroom and room amenities include use of bamboo products.

Safe Garbage Disposal: Garbage is segregated with wet waste being donated to a dog shelter, and other waste is sent for recycling.

Water Conservation: Water conservation is practiced through special flushes and aerators in taps that reduce water consumption. Additionally recycled grey water is used for gardening purposes.

Energy Efficiency: Sunlight that is abundant in this region is welcome with the use of large windows. Additionally, the staff quarters are equipped with solar heaters.

Local Community Engagement: Amongst the early hotels in Ladakh, the community engagement is high with nearly half the staff employed locally. Additionally, local businesses are used as suppliers for ingredients, groceries, meats and dairy and preference is given to local suppliers for other tourism related activities. By using local art as decor, it has ensured that local artists have been engaged.

Sensitive Destination Discovery: The Grand Dragon was amongst the early hotels to open in Ladakh and there was an emphasis right from the beginning to showcase Ladakh’s unique culture through the experiences offered.

Heritage Preservation: Built in the traditional Ladakhi style, the hotel dips into the local heritage and culture for decor. One can see examples of Ladakhi ceilings and teak wood cornices and flooring in the rooms. The decor includes elegant teak ceilings, artistic walls that portray the authentic jewellery of the region, and regional motifs in the furnishings. Experiences include The Momo Story, designed to learn to make momos – an intrinsic staple in this region, understanding traditional medicine and insights in to this unique culture.

Human Touch: The hotel follows a policy of no gender bias, fair wages and practices for employees.

Our Recommendation

If you are celebrating, book yourself into the Heritage Suite. And on a cold evening, order in a Thukpa. The Grand Dragon serves the best Thukpa in town.

Can’t find a suitable itinerary that features a destination, experience or accommodation you fancy? All our group tours and holiday ideas can be personalised, or we can create a tailor made itinerary for you.

Our Accommodation Ratings

Opulent: Exceptional, unashamedly the best of sheer luxury. (£££££)

Luxury: Outstanding levels of 5* comfort, hospitality and facilities. (££££)

Premium: Excellent levels of comfort and hospitality and a wide range of facilities. (£££)

Mid-Range: Good levels of comfort and hospitality, with a reasonable range of facilities. (££)

Simple: Clean and simple, no frills. Often in areas of natural beauty or near wildlife reserves. (£)