I and my wife stayed at this hotel between August and September (2013). We took a 10-day Ladakh package with the hotel itself after some thorough research and that turned out to be a very good decision. Now in detail on what made our stay special.
Location: Excellent! Most hotels in Leh are located in narrow lanes in the market place or are extremely close to the market place. That also gives most of them a disadvantage as far as view is concerned. ‘The Grand Dragon’ is the only important hotel, which is located slightly away from the market, but very well within walking distance (from the market). Proximity to the airport is not a cause of bother, as all the hotels in Leh are within 5-10 minutes of drive from the airport.
Property: The Grand Dragon is a 3-storeyed property with a lot of open space, especially on the front and on the sides of the hotel. That gives it a lot of parking space too. We didn't see any other property that had so much open space. The hotel also has a very well maintained garden with lots of flowers and a lawn. There are chairs and tables for those wanting to enjoy eating/ drinking outdoors in the garden, amidst the flower beds. The reception area is huge and well lit, with a huge living room/reading room kind of a space on one of its sides. There is also an in-house shop for handicrafts opposite the reception in the hotel building itself. The hotel has two spacious restaurants – one for breakfast and the other one for lunch and dinner. There are around 15 rooms per floor, meaning around 45-50 rooms in total. The hotel interiors are very well maintained, clean and odour-free.
Rooms: Since we were doing overnight camping stays at different locations during our trip, we got to stay in 4 different rooms, covering all the floors in the hotel. Almost all rooms in the hotel have a great view regardless which side they are on. All the rooms were very well maintained, clean and odour-free. The linen and towels were bright white, clean, spotless, well-starched and fresh. The toilets were perfectly clean and hygienic. There were huge mirrors at the basin. The basin area itself was lavish. The bathing area was segregated by a synthetic curtain or glass (different in different rooms). Bathrooms have hot to very warm water throughout the day. Some rooms had a bath tub, some didn't. There was ample fresh air and light during the day. During the night the lighting in all the rooms was slightly on the darker side (not that it made any difference). There is an electric kettle in all the rooms and tea/coffee sachets at the guest's disposal. For those who enjoy TV, there's enough entertainment on the set top boxes. A separate TV menu is also provided.
Food: In terms of spread, the food is brilliant, for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. The breakfast/dinner is buffet and lunch is à la carte. The food is well presented, the cutlery is clean and the preparation is hygienic. In terms of taste, the food varied from good to great. It is the kind of food that will not upset one's system. For à la carte, the service is fairly quick. Food can also be had in the rooms; however, eating at the restaurant with other guests is lot more fun. The hotel also arranged a special and exclusive couple dinner for us, with all decorations and a personalized menu, as a part of our package.
Staff/Service: This is the most striking aspect of the hotel. The staff to guest ratio is good. We always saw work constantly being done, staff energetically moving around to keep the guests comfortable. All the staff members of the hotel were very well groomed and well trained. The room service was super swift. The people at the reception and the restaurants were so welcoming. At the restaurant, the staff would come and start friendly conversations, without being intrusive. We had a good time interacting with them. The hotel also has a team of in-house drivers. The drivers are also great at their job and well groomed.
Partnerships: As mentioned above, since we had taken a package with the hotel, they took care of all our local travel and camping stay needs. And being the most top end hotel of Leh, the tie-ups that this hotel had with other hotels/camp sites were also the best. I would STRONGLY RECOMMEND anyone reading this and planning a trip to Leh-Ladakh, to book a package with the hotel. It will cost you some additional bucks, but in return will ensure that your trip is free of all hassles and troubles.
Of course there were some shortcomings too with the hotel:
- Unfortunately, due to increase in tourism and hence the associated debris, Leh is full of house flies, and these find their way to the hotel as well. The hotel did a good job of keeping them out of the restaurants. However, when the room windows are kept open during the day, these flies find their way in. So before sleeping, all the flies had to be either terminated or driven away. After day one, we could deal with this problem in a much better fashion.
- The electricity at Leh was erratic, but the hotel had a generator backing. Due to this, the power constantly went on and off on some days. This was only an issue while watching the television.
- Bottled water at the hotel (over and above the 2 bottles that they provide for free) was slightly expensive. It is better to just ask for normal water or to get some bottles from the market.
- The restaurant played instrumental music. This was good for the first 15 minutes, but they kept repeating just couple of numbers at all times on all days.
So, all said and done no major negatives with 'The Grand Dragon'.
Lastly, TWO GENERAL BUT VERY IMPORTANT TIPS for those travelling to Ladakh:
(1) Just be at your rooms or the hotel premises for the first 24 hours, only resting or sleeping, REGARDLESS of how energetic you are feeling. This will make sure that you are well acclimatized for high altitudes (Please bear in mind, over 50% of the tourists face miror to severe altitude sickness related issues while in Leh).
(2) Speak to your family doctor to prescribe you an altitude related medicine. We started our medication, 24 hours prior to arrival in Leh and it worked.
All rooms are good. Higher you go, better is the view, but not that big a difference. If you are loo...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.