Bonjour from Peshawar,
Things seem calm and tourism is returning to Swat valley slowly some European friends made it to Swat a month back.
As stated above, not much tourism, so hotels are cheap.
Green Continental Saidu Sharif, Swat..
My family and I were very pleased with the facilities and services provided. The rooms were well furnished, toilets were clean, warm running water was available round the clock, food was excellent, lawns were well kept, and there was even a backup power generator.
To top it all, the staff was extremely courteous and efficient and catered to even the smallest of needs with a smile. To give just one example, bad road conditions after Mingora onwards to Kalam delayed our arrival till after midnight on check-in day. Despite the late hour, the staff was up, waiting for us and even though the kitchen closes at 10:30 pm, we were served with a delicious, hot meal.
The motel is definitely more expensive than others in the area. However, I think it is well worth it. Therefore, I highly recommend it to all, especially families with children.
PTDC Kalam offers the following types of accommodation:
** Standard Single: PKR 1900
** Standard Double: PKR 2300
** Deluxe Single: PKR 2300
** Deluxe Double: PKR 2900
** Hut Single: PKR 3200
** Hut Double: PKR 3650
Prices are as of June 2007 and are inclusive of taxes (in fact, there are no taxes charged in Swat Valley). Breakfast is not included. Assume 1 USD ~ PKR 60. The motel only accepts cash. However, you can also make a reservation by visiting PTDC Tourist Information Centre in Islamabad (Tel: +92 (0)51 111555999; Email: email@example.com). They accept both cash and, I was told, major credit cards.
Other things worth mentioning:
** Ideal distance from the main road and bazaar: far enough to be peaceful and close enough to walk down to the bazaar after dinner for a cup of green tea!
** Laundry and ironing facility available.
** Phone and internet facility available in reception area. However, the internet is over dialup and therefore very slow. Also, the local telecom service provider's exchange often goes down if there is a power outage. At the time of writing (June 2007), there is no mobile phone coverage in Kalam.
** Television available in rooms (I know about the huts and deluxe rooms, not sure about the standard ones). There is a limited selection of Pakistani and Indian channels available.
** Great food! The motel arranged a BBQ for us one night and I can honestly say it was one of the best tasting BBQs I have ever had. The next night, they cooked Biryani (a traditional Pakistani/Indian spicy dish made of rice and meat or chicken) and fried trout fish (a Swat/Kalam specialty). Again, yum!
** Free accommodation and food for the driver.
Built in 1941 as a summer resort for the King of Swat in a valley with roots steeped in the age of legends, Sufaid Mahal has been a host to numnerous royal personages, including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of the Great Britain.
The marble use in the Mahal same which is used in the Taj Mahal in India.
It is a very peaceful place, very green, nice garden, with sparkling stream. Nice place for trek up to Ellum valley.
We were there as the tourist season was just ending, so we secured really fantastic deals on hotel rooms.
I am not certain about the price, but I think it was around US$25 or US$30 for a family room.
They had hot water (very essential).
The hotel will spray your room for bugs. Buy some of your own spray as well, and leave the room closed, go for a walk for a while. Very important. Otherwise you may get tiny bug bites all over :)
The views from this hotel were outstanding. They offer several options for room types. From tiny rooms for 2 people, to 3 bed, to huge places with 4 beds and floor space for another 10 or so, with 2 bathrooms.
They also offered free accomodations and food for our driver (when in doubt, negotiate with the hotel, it is somewhat customary for them to extend this offer for your driver).
This hotel is undoubtedly the best in the whole of Swat. It is, in some ways, the best hotel in Pakistan. It is located high on the hill which is connected by a road from the main Kalam Road. It is located just outside Mingora on the way to Bahrain. Everything you want is available. The rooms are truly wonderful, normal or VIP both. Food could not be better and it has a huge garden with most rooms have a wonderful view of the Valley. Barbecue is only at night times. The conference room is also wonderful and so is the Dining Hall. In many halls, there are miniature mountains with small trees and replicas or cars and other things etc.
The hotel gives a great view of the Swat River and the mountains beyond it. A small walk down the road leaves you just beside the river where you can peacefully sit. The food (especially Chinese and Thai) is the best I've eaten in Pakistan (and mind you, I've eaten a lot of dishes living in Lahore). Dont miss this hotel!!!!!!!!!!!! The only disadvantage is perhaps not too many people stay here but it still is wonderful!!!!
It is an excellent hotel situated on the other side of the river SWAT, right near the spot where two rivers meet (one that comes from Ushu and the second that comes from Atror). you can reach there after five minutes walk from the main road by using a hanging bridge. The accomodation is one of the best available in KALAM and at reasonable rates.
Situated across the river.
A hanging bridge is the only way to get there.
Right near a junction of two rivers.
You can enjoy Indoor games.
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