Before I went to Kathmandu, and when I was informed that I would be staying at the Yak & Yeti hotel, my first impression was that this is a hotel located in some exotic hillside in the spectacular Himalayas. Of course, I had not been to Kathmandu before and so I was not aware of what I was to be greeted by. I was met at the airport by the hotel’s chauffeur driver, and as we made our way to the hotel, I was still expecting for him to take me to somewhere out of the city (that’s the impression I got from the initial read-up).
After about a 20-minute drive from the airport, we arrived at the hotel, which is neatly hidden away from the hustle & bustle of the city’s noisy roads and is just a 10-minute walk from the old Royal Palace, and has its own security gates, which are manned 24 hours a day. Interestingly, there is an authentic North Korean restaurant located right next to the hotel and manned by native North Korean women dressed in their national costumes rather bizarre to see this in Nepal (even in China I had not come across a native North Korean restaurant).
The hotel was built and run from 1970 by a Russian entrepreneur, and then after 12 years it was sold to other investors. Situated in tranquil surroundings, the 270-room hotel with 5 star amenities that are branded to its name, is designed to harmonize with the special features of the Lal Durbar. Along with the construction of the new (Durbar) wing, a brand new porte-cochere, lobby, a new lobby bar, shopping arcade, an atrium, a second swimming pool and two tennis courts have also been constructed, whilst the Café Restaurant has been extended and upgraded, along with the refurbishment of the existing guest room wing.
After a long hard day of walking or roaming the busy, dusty and noisy streets of Kathmandu, it is a sheer respite to come back to the safe and secure enclave of the hotel. Some of the display carved windows are more than 200 years old, and while some of the other creature comforts may not be that old, they still remind you of the nostalgic glamour that would have been experienced by the wealthy in the 1980s. The lifts for example are certainly old-fashioned, and so are the bathroom facilities- all remarkably in excellent condition and working to the delight of the Western tourist. The place somewhat captures the old charm and style of Kathmandu, while providing the international quality standards of accommodation and dining facilities.
The best part of all is the food offered. Catering to the tastes of the most frequented tourists, the hotel provides a delight of Chinese, Indian, Western and local Nepalese cuisine for breakfast, lunch or dinner. In keeping up with the times, it is also a delight to know that Hotel Yak & Yeti offers Wi-Fi (chargeable).
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