With the city still recovering from the aftermath of the earthquakes in April, the consequences of the tragic events are somewhat visible on the streets of Kathmandu. The Hyatt Regency hotel, located only a stone throw away from the Boudhanath Stupa - the most holy of all Tibetan Buddhist shrines outside of Tibet, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was quieter than it should have been for this time of the year. During my visit, it came across to me that the majority of the occupants were not entirely tourists (as one would expect), but rather were airline crew on their layovers, diplomats from various NGOs and governments that were helping out with the relief of the earthquake disaster, and some corporate individuals.
You only have to venture for about two-minutes to see the stark contrasts between the reality of Kathmandu on the outside and the beautiful ivory towers that the hotel’s guests enjoy. As one sits in the Club Lounge, sipping their masala chai, they get to witness the damaged roof of the Boudhanath Stupa. Indeed, most of the hotel’s 280 rooms and suites enjoy views of either the Boudhanath Stupa or the lush gardens and the surrounding mountain ranges (provided it is a clear day). What I found particularly sad was the sight of witnessing a massive refugee camp located right next to the grounds of the Hyatt Regency. The camp is for those displaced from the earthquake, financed by the United Nations and the Red Cross. It is all fair for me to comment on the fact that all the rooms and suites at the Hyatt Regency are well-equipped and generously spacious with a private bathroom, a walk-in rainforest shower, an in-room safe and a mini-bar. At first glance, the rooms seem enormous – you end up feeling like a king!
Those fortunate enough to stay in Regency Club rooms and suites get to enjoy additional privileges and facilities, such as the boardroom meeting space usage, a dedicated concierge and evening happy hours where they can indulge in drinking countless amounts of Gin and Tonic while feeling like Royalty- the place almost has somewhat of a Colonial era feel to it. I managed to bump into some amazing personalities, whom now I’ve become good friends with.
Most of the Spa treatments I’ve experienced have been in five-star hotels in China, Malta, Dubai, Turkey and other parts of SE Asia, and every time I have been highly impressed by the professionalism and high-quality of the spa facilities. I must say that the Spa facilities at the Hyatt Regency’s Club Oasis surpassed by expectations – it really is world-class here. Then there are also the spanking clean tennis courts and an indoor 1.6 km (0.9 mile) jogging track.
And how about the food? Well, if you’ve come to Nepal and haven’t tried the traditional Nepalese ‘Thali’, then you’re obviously missing a lot. The Hyatt Regency serves one of the best non-Western authentic meals I’ve had: stuffed parathas, lunches of Nepalese thali on the lawns and suppers of local-river sole cooked in mustard oil and fenugreek amid gilded splendour. The staff are always greeting with a genuine smile, the swimming pool awaits – it looks more beautiful when the weather is clear and you can see the magnificent hills in the background and all is well with the world.
The Hyatt Regency could be your own palace for a night, two nights, a week, or even for two months as my friend from the American government. Whatever the reason and however long you stay, there is no doubt that this is a thrilling place which is nothing short of being a heaven for the senses in beautiful Kathmandu. I’m sure I will come back soon.
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