Best hotels and hostels in Karakoram Highway

  • Lodging in Baltistan

    Shigar Fort Residence

    The Aga Khan Trust for Culture has overseen the remarkable restoration of this stunning fort-palace into a singular historic getaway and informative museum. As you might expect, the rooms in the rambling palace are all very different, with enough authenticity to make you feel privileged, if not regal, and enough 21st-century comforts to make you, well, comfortable. For those who prefer a little more modernity, the rooms in the garden house have satellite TVs. There's a romantic garden, a burbling mountain stream, a superb restaurant and attentive professional staff. Oh, and room to park your helicopter. Even if you can't stay the night, a visit to the restaurant (mains Rs200 to Rs350) is recommended. Sit under the vine trellis and try the palapo (described as local pasta with apricot, almond and walnut sauce) or the walnutty and equally tasty chicken fasanjoon.

  • Lodging in Gilgit

    Horizon Guest House

    This excellent guesthouse with five spick and span rooms is run by trekking guides Abdul Bari Rana and Ty Gordon, who also run Lost Horizon Treks & Tours from here. It's in a quiet area of Jutial, about 400m east of Heli Chowk, set well back from the road. Look for the large Family Health Hospital and then the sign to the guesthouse. Pakistani, Chinese and Continental dishes are matched with several delicious Astori specialities such as chapsum (vegetable with cheese, chicken or beef rolled into a chapati and fried) in its restaurant. It also serves environmentally friendly filtered water.

  • Lodging in Gojal & the Khunjerab Pass

    Hunza Marco Polo Inn

    This hotel boasts an attractive garden and a knowledgeable and helpful host. The rooms in the old wing are quite comfortable but those in the new wing (under construction at the time of research) will have central heating, bathtubs, telephones and 'eventually' Satellite TV and internet connectivity. The new wing also houses the grand restaurant, which can be recommended for its spring water and other liquid refreshments. There are interconnected rooms for families and a discount can usually be negotiated.

  • Lodging in Gilgit

    Gilgit Serena Hotel

    Gilgit Serena is the best hotel in town, superbly sited above town and giving views across the valley to Rakaposhi peak. The cosy, plush rooms have TV, phone and balcony views. The service is excellent, breakfast is included in the tariff, and there is a free shuttle bus for guests visiting the bazaar or catching a flight from the airport. There's an excellent restaurant (Dumani) and nightly barbecues in the garden are of interest to nonguests. It is also the best place to buy books in the area.

  • Lodging in Indus Kohistan

    Kohistan Tourist Inn

    The best and biggest option for travellers in these parts is set on a bend of the KKH, about 2km south of Pattan. The hotel has bright, clean rooms with wire-screened windows and the friendly manager is a great source of local information. There's a (proposed) tea garden beside the churning Chowa Dara Khwar, which will be great for weary travellers. The hotel restaurant has a small vegetarian and Continental (chicken gruel!) selection along with the typical curries and Chinese favourites.

  • Lodging in Hunza & Nagyr

    Diran Hotel

    The best accommodation is provided by Diran Hotel, in a walled orchard east of a large mosque. Rooms vary in comfort and size, and prices vary with the seasons, but you are sure to find something that suits. The excellent restaurant here has several tasty local specialities, such as chicken gorkon, cooked in a traditional stone pot. Trekking guides and porters and jeep safaris can all be organised at the hotel, where you can also find information on short walks.

  • Lodging in Gilgit Region

    Bagrote Sarai

    Perched on a ledge up above Chirah, with postcard-perfect views of Diran and the Hinarche Glacier, the basic Bagrote Sarai is literally at the end of the road. There's a panoramic dining hall in which to unwind, and above it the simple rooms are arranged on terraces (you can lie in bed and look out at the mountains). The bathrooms are in a separate building and there are more terraces above the rooms where you can pitch a tent.

  • Lodging in Gilgit Region

    Shangrila Indus View

    The budget rooms are overpriced as they lack a view and show wear and tear. The deluxe rooms are rather similar but do have wire-screened verandas and a river view. The VIP rooms have attractive mock-traditional décor of mud walls, double beds and a tub in the bathroom, and are definitely the best rooms in Chilas. All rooms are air cooled. The recommended restaurant has Pakistani, Chinese and Continental cuisine.

  • Lodging in Hazara

    Batagram View Hotel

    The best accommodation is here on the KKH, 2km south of the bazaar. Geared towards Japanese tour groups, the hotel features a Japanese bathhouse downstairs. Unfortunately, the baths were seriously damaged in the 2005 earthquake and were still waiting repair when we visited. Oddly, the restaurant does not feature Japanese cuisine; instead Pakistani, Chinese and a few Continental dishes are available.

  • Lodging in Gilgit

    Madina Hotel & Guest House

    With the perennially obliging Yaqoob managing it, the Madina remains the international travellers' favourite. Rooms vary but all are kept spotless. There's a basic restaurant dishing up a few traveller favourites, and invaluable assistance with onward transport, tours, trekking, visa extension etc is generously provided. This is the home of the Madina Guides trekking and tour operation.

  • Lodging in Indus Kohistan

    PTDC Motel

    This motel 2.5km south of town suffered some serious damage in the 2005 earthquake and has a new 110 megawatt hydro power station as a neighbour, and yet it is still one of the best riverside hotels along the KKH. The rooms facing the river are spacious, fan cooled and spotless, and a short hop from the garden where you can have a drink and watch the fish jumping in the Indus.

  • Lodging in Gilgit

    New Tourist Cottage

    As well as the cheap rates, one of the best aspects of this place is the tranquil overgrown garden. The rooms here are basic affairs with huge bathrooms with reliable hot water. All are kept clean. No longer Japanese run, the new manager, Israr, plans to keep the Japanese menu and library, and has promised to replace the very steep stairs which some guests find challenging.

  • Lodging in Indus Kohistan

    Khyber Lodge Hotel

    The best accommodation in Dasu, although that isn't saying much. Dodgy wiring and plumbing and diabolical stairways hint at 'works in progress' but there's little evidence of progress. However, the management is friendly and a good source of information and the views of the Indus are magnificent. The better rooms with soap and towel and running hot water are found upstairs.

  • Lodging in Kaghan Valley

    Hotel Serenity

    The Hotel Serenity can be found at the back of a shopping arcade - apparently the only large building to remain standing, and displaying some impressive cracks. The spacious, clean and quiet rooms have morning and evening hot water. Air-con is only available in the expensive triple. The hotel has a multicuisine restaurant which specialises in Chinese meals.

  • Lodging in Baltistan

    Lakeside Inn

    The Lakeside also has a new hotel under construction, and it's next door to the Lakeview Motel on Deosai Rd. In the meantime it is using a few shabby former PTDC 'huts'. While it is still above water, there's pretty good Pakistani and Chinese food available with excellent views in the lakeside restaurant, where trout from the lake is sometimes on the menu.

  • Lodging in Gilgit

    Rupal Inn

    This large 48-room hotel is clearly designed for tour groups and makes for an exceptionally comfortable stay - all the better if you negotiate a discount. There's a pleasant garden for barbecues as well as a multicuisine restaurant and coffee shop. The carpeted, very spacious rooms come with TVs and bathtubs and are the roomiest in Gilgit.

  • Lodging in Gilgit Region

    Hotel Chilas Inn

    The staff here are also very helpful and informative and there's a gift shop in the foyer. The rooms of this recommended hotel are air cooled and there's a nice surprise in the bathrooms - a bathtub. There's a good restaurant with Pakistani and Chinese dishes, and a pleasant rose garden in which to relax once the sun has retreated.

  • Lodging in Baltistan

    Lakeview Motel Sadpara

    The new building with four double rooms and a soon-to-be-completed restaurant is above the lake on Deosai Rd, but at the time of research it was still operating out of the modest old hotel closer to the lake. The friendly manager keeps the place spotless and is able to organise treks, porters, guides and jeeps to the Deosai Plains.

  • Lodging in Gojal & the Khunjerab Pass

    PTDC Motel Sost

    Rooms here are large and comfortable, though this is one of the very few PTDC motels where you may find dirty bed linen, unswept carpet and a hot water-wallah who sleeps in. The restaurant has filling if bland set meals. This place closes at the end of November and opens 1 May. Ask for a 20% discount towards the end of the season.

  • Lodging in Gojal & the Khunjerab Pass

    Batura Inn

    Friendly Batura Inn, 800m north of the village on the KKH, has some very tired, threadbare rooms. There's no running hot water but you can request it by the bucketful. The restaurant is also basic but has access to mountain spring water. The owner keeps a rumour book for travellers to gain and impart knowledge about the area.