Tashi Delek! Or Namaste!
Located 15 minutes from Thamel in the embassy district of Kathmandu, sits Hotel Tibet. A four star boutique hotel, Hotel Tibet is tucked away from the dusty noisiness of the streets; it’s hidden towards the backend of an alley with a corner grocery store and souvenir shops.
Often, Thamel can feel similar to Bangkok’s Khao San Road ; it’s a tourist backpacker haunt. While Thamel has it all, in souvenir shopping, cafes and nightlife, it also keeps travelers from venturing outside the ‘backpacker enclave’ to explore other neighborhoods.
Being in Lazimpat was alright with me. I wanted to take in my new surroundings and explore it at a gentle pace.
Hotel Tibet: a charming oasis in a restless Kathmandu
Upon arrival at my hotel, I was greeted by a stylishly decorated lobby, with gold painted woodwork and Tibetian-inspired tapestries. Stepping in felt a cross between a Buddhist temple and an affluent Tibetan home with a personal, welcoming and hearty feel… in an Om mane padme hum kinda way.
I was greeted warmly by the Nepalese man at the front desk and immediately I began baraging him with my list of solo tourist questions: the neighborhood I was in was Lazimpat,… 15 minute walk to Thamel, ..I could buy a Nepalese SIM card at one of the alley shops nearby, mobile rates were yadda yadda, etc..money exchange, the hotel has one… free WiFi… yes, it’s available and free and if I wanted to go anywhere, they can call for a taxi pickup. Like a baseball pro, he was knocking off my inquiries, one by one, cognizant that I was also feeling a naked in my arrival. My first trip to Nepal was shaky as I was abruptly tossed into solo travel. This time around, I was going to act like a pro… sorta.
I was also here for the Himalayan Travel Mart, so I needed to act like a pro too.
I jumped immediately upon my mobile phone, connected to the WiFi and checked in on Facebook to let my family know I arrived. This was going to be my home for the next two nights!
A Deluxe Room with a Balcony
The hotel offers two types of rooms: A Deluxe room or Junior Suite. The deluxe room comes with two firm queen beds and the rooms open to a balcony. The Junior Suite is more for the chic business traveler, with one queen bed and a partial living room atmosphere.
I got the Deluxe room. Double beds can be common in East Asia. Being a solo female traveler, it can feel either super luxurious or guilty pleasure, having an extra bed for my daypack and laptop to sleep on. …But they do heavy work too, so I guess they can afford an upgraded rest.
On regular days, four star boutique Kathmandu hotels like these can ballpark in the range of $75 – $100/night, but off-season, the prices can drop significantly into the $40’s … a steal.
I had find a spacious western style bathroom. Accommodations in Nepal can vary. Some accommodations sport an Asian-styled bathroom with no partitions between the shower and toilet. This was not that.
A glass partition shielded the rainhead shower from the toilet and rest of the room. The toilet was an Asian bidet styled toilet (aka a bum gun).
Rather than standard hotel toiletry bottles (which are often watery and refilled), the hotel offers hotel-sized Neem soap bars and individual shampoo and hair conditioner branded packets that you’d buy at a local shop for a few rupees. I love Neem soap because its known to be a powerful antibacterial in Asia and .
The hotel facilities :
- Shambala Spa for massage treatment and rejuvenation
- Yeti rooftop bar and terrace for hotel mingling and drinks, while enjoying a panoramic view of Kathmandu ( I actually didn’t know this existed)
- Himalayan restaurant which has a daily breakfast buffet and Himalyan/Nepalese meals during dinner.
- Potala Garden An outdoor terrace connected to the restaurant, where I could enjoy the sun, a coffee and work on my laptop.
It’s nice waking up to a buffet breakfast downstairs at the Himalayan Restaurant. I’m not always fond of hotel restaurants, but I liked this one– the morning buffet allows you to a sampler to the local flavors. Dishes served are a combination of Nepalese/Indian/Himalayan and western. The dishes are safe, delicious, prepared fresh daily and are sure to be enjoyable for all types of tourists.
Lazimpat is an embassy district noted for its schools, colleges, restaurants, department stores and popular hotels. It’s known as the “VIP” district, flanked by the touristy Thamel and a next door residential neighborhood, housing the Prime Minister and Chief of Justice. But at night, the main street isn’t always well lit and can feel scary to those, who are not familiar with Nepal’s history of regular blackouts. Solo travelers associate dark areas as places to avoid due to safety, but in Nepal- man, woman, child- are used to walking at night in the relative dark. I was assured by the front desk that the main street is quite safe and 10:00pm is a good time to return to the hotel.
If you’re going out at night, take a flashlight, wear light colored clothes and walking shoes. The roads and sidewalks in the area can have potholes. (Watch my video below)
Watch my first impressions video
Hotel Tibet: watch 01:17- 03:17, 05:40-05:58
Lazimpat to Thamel: watch 03:18-04:28
Hotel Tibet Information
Disclaimer: My trip to Nepal was partly sponsored by PATA and the Himalayan Travel Mart. My stay at Hotel Tibet was provided without charge and a review was not expected of me, but I just wanted to. As always, all thoughts expressed in this article are fully my own.
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