Review of Thamel’s first and oldest hotel: Kathmandu Guest House, Nepal.
KATHMANDU GUEST HOUSE, located in the heart of bustling Thamel in Kathmandu, Nepal is a great stay option. In 2015, after finishing Everest Base Camp successfully, I stayed in Thamel for a week. Kathmandu Guest House was often the landmark every time I asked locals for directions. Ever helpful people of Nepal would help me with “Take a right from Kathmandu Guest House.” , “It’s next to Kathmandu Guest House” It intrigued me as I roamed around it.
Pata’s Nepal chapter invited me to attend International Travel Bloggers and Media Conference I was ecstatic when I learned that I was allotted Kathmandu Guest House for a good part of my 11 days stay in Nepal. One, I was itching to go back to Thamel after my 2015 stay. Two, I was curious to see how the Kathmandu Guest House looked like from inside. And of course, a stay is a bonus.
A Brief history of Kathmandu Guest House:
Regarded as an institution now, it was the first and the only hotel of Thamel when it was inaugurated. Established in 1967, KGH Group of Hotels and Resorts is one of Nepal’s leading hotel chains with 8 eco-friendly hotels under its flagship. Originally a mansion dating back to the times of the Rana Dynasty, Kathmandu Guest House suffered much damage during the devastating April 2015 earthquake. There is not a sign of earthquake in its present day restored form.
Kathmandu Guest House belies its name. Most people, including foreigners in my group were not very excited when they learnt they would be staying in a ‘guest house’. Most people perceive the word Guest House as a bland, clinical, basic stay option which believes in serving its guests the tackiest food possible. However, Kathmandu Guest House is anything but that.
The Buddha Garden is an oasis in busy Thamel!
As I entered its massive gates, I and my co travelers were surprised to see its sprawling campus made atmospheric by a manicured garden and al fresco dining. In the evening local Nepali singers would play Nepali instruments and sing melodious folk songs in the lawns for those who cared. I would come running from my room as soon as I heard them play the music. Guests of mixed nationalities would sit and savour the food and drinks, cocooned from the rush and chaos of Thamel market, situated just 2 minutes walk away. It is a perfect haven for those who seek a calm, uncrowded, spacious and clean place near the congested Thamel market which is perennially starved of open spaces.
The Walk Of fame and The Beatles Connection:
There were large Beatles posters in the dining room and the ‘Walk Of Fame’ pathways were marked with names of celebrities a la Hollywood. Curious to see a Beatles heavy theme across the public spaces in Kathmandu Guest House, I investigated with the managers. Turned out band members of Beatles have stayed here eons ago. Other celebrities apart from George Harrison who have stayed here and find a mention in the ‘Walk of Fame’ are: George Band (First mountaineer to ascend Kanchenjunga), Shyam Benegal (Indian film director), Jeremy Irons, Joel Edgerton (Hollywood star) and Ricky Martin (Pop star)
Rooms in Kathmandu Guest House:
I stayed in a garden facing room. It had a small balcony which I used mostly to sip coffee, smoke, talk on phone and watch pigeons make love. It is also a good idea to enjoy the Nepali music being played in the garden, in case you don’t feel like going down.
My room was spacious if not huge. The beds were neatly made up. It had the basic amenities, viz. tea coffee machine, mini-bar, different lighting options, a dressing mirror and avoidable instant noodles. I was able to control the AC thanks to the panel. My room was not ultra luxurious but was pretty decent and comfortable. The slabs and tables helped me manage my luggage. There was a TV which I didn’t use.
The washroom stocked high quality soaps, shampoo, body gel, loofah and tissue papers. Shaving and dental kit was perhaps available on request. I didn’t need it so I am not sure. The temperature in the hot shower was perfect. For Asian guests, the good news is that unlike some pretentious luxury hotels, they do have jet spray along with tissue papers next to the western style Water Closet.
Food and beverage:
I had lunch and breakfast at The Kathmandu Guest House Dream Garden Café. I had a vegetarian burger which was huge and comes with fries. It was delicious, filling and justified its price. The breakfast, though good, might not appeal to an Indian guest. It was mostly fruits, cereals, juices, baked beans, muffins, croissants, preserves, pancakes etc. It would have been great if they offered Idli, Upma, Aaloo ka paratha, poha etc in the buffet to cater to the Indian taste.
Location and the cost of rooms at Kathmandu Guest House
The location is a winner thanks to its proximity to Thamel, Ratna Park bus stand and the Tribhuvan International Airport. One can spend all night partying in the lanes of Thamel without worrying about returning to the hotel via taxi. You can just party and walk up to the Kathmandu Guest House.
There are rooms for all pockets in the Kathmandu Guest House. One must call and ask the price for their chosen dates as its subject to change as per season. Would I want to come back again? Of course.
The view from my #SoulWindow is comforting!
Address and contact of Kathmandu Guest House
Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal
Landline: (+977-1) 470 0632/470 0800
Mobile: +977 9851020484
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