We love the idea of Nepal: the people, the mountains, the culture, the history, the great outdoors. And, while we’re happy to be fully immersed in it all day long, our days of ‘roughing it’ are long over. You can call us soft, but the fact is lugging around a backpack, taking cold showers, and camping or staying in youth hostels, doesn’t hold anywhere near the same appeal as it did in our 20s. At night we want a good clean piece of comfort, a little pampering, a supportive mattress, and a meal that doesn’t leave us wondering if we need to be sure to stay nearby a loo for the next couple of hours. A gym, laundry service and chauffeur don’t go without appreciation either. Crowne Plaza Kathmandu-Soaltee provides all of this for us, and in a location that gifts us easy access to the city’s major tourist destinations.
Situated in its own haven of landscaped grounds, the expansive 12 acre property offers a place to take some fresh air in the gardens while breathing in the majestic mountain views. The palaces and temples of Durbar Square are a mere four kilometres away. Pashupatinath Temple is the furthest at six kilometres and Swayambhunath Stupa shrine is within three kilometres. Tribuvan International airport is a short ride away, making the hotel a very convenient stay all round.
From standard rooms up to a presidential suite, accommodation is available on both smoking and non-smoking floors. All the facilities you’d expect of a business hotel are at our disposal – safe, mini-bar, Internet, flat screen TV, reverse cycling air-conditioning and so on. Dark wooden furniture and Nepalese weavings contrast light walls and bedding. Views vary, so if this is something important to you, it’s worth requesting a higher floor when making a reservation.
Wireless Internet keeps us connected but it’s hard to stay focused with the magnificent mountain-view from our fifth floor window. We’ve arrived mid-winter when the air is cold and there’s a higher chance of clear skies. The clouds however are covering the peaks when we first reach our room, and the sun creeps out teasing us with what’s beyond. Glimpses of the summit tantalize us, almost as if part of a playful striptease. Finally the sky opens and we can’t help but gasp out loud.
|View from Executive Room|
Catering to many business clients, Crowne Plaza recognizes that a solid night’s sleep is the key to a productive day ahead. As such they’ve given special thought to the night, providing a little extra help for those who might have difficulty sleeping.
Besides the luxurious bedding with plump pillows and quality linens available in all rooms, the Sleep Advantage program goes the extra mile furnishing an aromatherapy kit, Quiet Zones (where no housekeeping, engineering or room attendant activities occur between the hours of 9pm to 10am) and a guaranteed wake-up call plus or minus five minutes of your requested time – or your room is free!
The fitness centre holds a decent range of both cardio and strength equipment. The health club provides the additional amenities of a sauna and steam bath, alongside a host of relaxation and beauty treatments. If you want more choice, nearby facilities can be found for badminton, bowling, cricket, hiking, jogging tracks, rock wall climbing and tennis. And, while it’s too cold for us to take a dip at this time of year, the pool is set amongst pretty manicured gardens, granting it a peaceful and attractive setting in any season.
|Soaltee Crowne Plaza|
A great stay for leisure travelers, but fully equipped for business travelers too, Soaltee Crowne Plaza offers the works: meeting rooms, private lounges, conference facilities and much much more. We take a stroll through the business wing of the hotel and admire the use of local artworks and Nepalese carvings to adorn the grand spaces. Local artisans are incredibly talented and we’re delighted to see their brilliance infused throughout the hotel.
|Ornate Door Handle|
The concierge service is knowledgeable and we find ourselves quickly losing our travel guidebook, and turning to the helpful chaps in the lobby instead. A driver is easily arranged and we explore the city and surrounds with the expert hands of one of Crowne Plaza’s chauffeurs in a retro Mercedes Benz. Now this is an experience we will never forget. The skill needed to manipulate the roads and unpaved side streets of Kathmandu is high, and to do it in a Mercedes, on paths we’d assume more suitable for a four wheel drive, is pure genius.
|A Very Skillful Driver and the Mercedes Benz|
Food and Beverage
Whether it’s Chinese cuisine at China Garden, Italian fare at Al Fresco, International offerings at Garden Terrace or Awadhi dishes at Crowne Plaza’s specialty Indian restaurant, Kakori, we find meals full-flavoured, service delightful and ambience surprisingly authentic. Rodi Bar keeps thirsts satiated with a wide selection of liquor, wines and beer, and we enjoyed our experiences so much at each outlet that I’ve written separate articles on them. So, click on the names of each outlet above to find photos and our recommendations for the most delicious dishes and beverages.
|Kakori, Indian Restaurant|
|One of the highlights of a meal at Kokari is to see chefs work their magic in the show kitchen|
Crowne Plaza Kathmandu-Soaltee, although an international chain, has shared with us much warmth and character of the Nepalese people. Staff seem to come and stay here for years. All are fluent in English, happily greet with friendly Namastes, and easily converse with guests. When we engage staff in conversation, they literally beam with joy and pride, faces shining, eyes lighting up, and smiles could not be broader. Telling stories of the countryside, Nepalese food and culture, and their much-loved mountains, not only makes us happy, but it seems our gracious hosts too.
After a busy day on the streets of Kathmandu, Solatee Crowne Plaza makes a peaceful and squeaky clean retreat. Good facilities service business travellers well, and the property makes a solid base camp for tourists venturing out to explore. Conveniently located and staffed with friendly Nepalese, Soaltee Crowne Plaza proves a comfortable stay all round.
Reasons to visit: comprehensive facilities; good food and beverage outlets; lovely views of the mountains; extensive landscaped grounds; a peaceful and comfortable retreat from the frenetic streets of Kathmandu.
Crowne Plaza Kathmandu-Soaltee
PO Box 97
Tahachal Kathmandu Kathma
1800 801 881