Chill out at the hill resorts
Looking for an escape from summer’s oppressive heat? A place where you can put the drudgery of daily existence behind you and be at peace with yourself and the world? Well, there is nothing better than taking a cool, relaxing break at one of the hill resorts in and around the Kathmandu Valley. These locations not only provide perfect weather, but also offer spectacular mountain views and a brush with that part of the world that one often tends to forget – life away from the crowds and frenzied pace of the cities.
Of the possible resort destinations, Nagarkot is by far the most popular. Located 30 km east of Kathmandu, it was originally little more than an army post. However, due to its climate, outstanding mountain views and easy proximity to Kathmandu and Bhaktapur, Nagarkot has developed into a favorite weekend getaway. At sunrise, the Himalayan range – stretching from Dhaulagiri in the west all the way past Everest to Kanchenjunga in the east – emerges from the darkness to greet the happy visitor with its awe inspiring majesty and beauty. In many of the lodges in Nagarkot, rooms have been built to look directly out at the mountain range, so that each room comes with a view. For those wishing to stretch their legs and enjoy the fresh morning air, there are charming walking trails as well as a lookout tower.
The Newar town of Dhulikhel offers a traditional atmosphere along with its cool clime and spectacular views. Situated just past Banepa some 32 km east of Kathmandu, Dhulikhel is a magnificent place to spend the night and awaken to the sun rising across the wide Himalayan range. Once the sun is up, however, the day has only just begun for the visitor to this bustling little town.
Once an important link on the trade route to Tibet, Dhulikhel has a glorious past which can be witnessed in the lovely buildings and intricate woodcarvings found along the shop-lined streets and in the temples. Accommodation offerings range from budget to luxury, and there are several notable dining spots in and around the town. Furthermore, it is a marvelous spot from where one can embark on an one or two-day hike into the hills surrounding the Kathmandu Valley. Namobuddha, a picturesque pilgrimage site where the Lord Buddha in a previous incarnation is said to have allowed himself to be devoured by a starving tigress, is a mere three hours’ walk from Dhulikhel.
Kakani, 23 km northwest of Kathmandu, is a less crowded and more pristine destination which provides excellent mountain views of Ganesh Himal, Langtang and the Annapurnas. The offerings of nature provide the impetus to visit Kakani, and nature-lovers will hail the close-up view of Ganesh Himal to the north, as well as the beautiful oak and rhododendron forests on the south slope leading down to Balaju. For anyone wishing to truly get away from the distractions of urban life, it is a perfect retreat.
Finally, for those seeking the ultimate pan-Himalayan view and willing to travel the extra distance to find it, Daman is the place to go. Located 75 km southwest of the Kathmandu Valley on the highway to the Indian border, Daman offers the only unimpeded view of the entire Himalayan range, a sight guaranteed to leave the early riser spellbound for days to come. From horizon to horizon, the full majesty of the world’s highest mountain range can be taken in. What is more, Daman now offers the dedicated view-seeker luxury accommodation from which to soar into the state of awe which this land inspires.
Tour operators now offer multi-duration excursions from Kathmandu that include transportation, accommodation and meals. Packages can be customized or expanded to satisfy any variety of itineraries and schedules. Whether you have three days or only one, the opportunity to leave summer and the city behind to enjoy the cool breeze, relaxing pace and serene views of these hill resorts should not be missed. Be it in the Valley or beyond, every visitor to Kathmandu owes it to himself or herself to experience at least once that state of utter mental and physical bliss.
WHERE TO STAY
AROUND THE VALLEY
Haatiban Resort commands the most awesome view of the majestic Himalaya and the fabled city of Kathmandu. Enjoy pony rides, mountain biking, nature walks and treks to Champa Devi Hill, or Khokana and the Bungamati region. Nine comfortable cottages with commanding views of the Himalayan range, a spacious lobby with large French windows adjoined by a restaurant serving excellent cuisine and a variety of drinks. Haatiban Resort, Pharping. Kathmandu Office – Tel: 371397, 371537, 370714; Fax: 977-1-371561; E-mail: nepal@intrek. wlink.com.np
Malla Alpine Resort is located in the midst of the countryside. The well-appointed rooms housed in ethnic-style bungalows offer magnificent views of the Himalaya. You can swim or take a sauna bath, or go cycling and walks in the hills and surrounding forest. Hike to the nearby Tamang, Khadka and Magar villages. Informal bar where you can also try your skill at the dartboard. Nepalese, Indian, Chinese and Continental cuisine served in the restaurant. Malla Alpine Resort, Kalitar-Tika Bhairav; Tel: 228668. Kathmandu Office: Lekhnath Marg; Tel: 410620, 410966, 410968; Fax: 977-1-418382.
Club Himalaya offers fine restaurants, indoor pool with its own bar, sauna, gymnasium and a sundeck. For open air enthusiasts, the hotel provides hikes and pony rides along the Nagarkot ridge, white water rafting on the Indravati river, kite flying and other adventures. Club Himalaya, Windy Hills, Nagarkot; Tel: 680080, 227767 680083; Fax: 977-1-680068. Kathmandu Office: Tel: 413632, 418733, 425983; Fax: 977-1-417133; E-mail: club@ mos.com.np; Website: www.nepal-hotel.com
Hotel Chautari Keyman is the perfect place to take time out and relax in the arms of nature. Rooms are arranged in six semi-detached cottages and offer clear, unobstructed views of the Himalaya and the fertile valley. The restaurant serves Continental, Nepalese, Indian and Chinese cuisine while the adjoining bar is stocked with international beverages. The hotel also has a conference room with a capacity for 50 persons. Hotel Chautari Keyman, Nagarkot; Tel: 680075, 680019; Fax: 977-1-680020. Kathmandu Office: Thamel, Tel: 419798; Fax: 977-1-419260, 418919; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.keymanchain.com
Hotel Country Villa, nestled atop a serene hill, has spacious rooms with private verandas from where the entire mountain range is visible. Restaurant serves delicious cuisines and the bar, decorated in Japanese style, offers a wide range of both local and imported drinks. Hotel Country Villa, Nagarkot; Tel: 221012, 680127; Fax: 977-1-680127. Kathmandu Office: Tel: 425305; Tel/Fax: 417395; E-mail: email@example.com; Website: www.catmando.com/ countryvilla
Hotel Elephant Head has deluxe and double-bed rooms. Savor delectable dishes in its restaurant and tea in the balcony from where you can enjoy magnificent views of the Himalaya and the Valley. Hotel Elephant Head, Nagarkot; Tel: 680031, 611825. City Office: Thamel, near Hotel MM International; Tel: 413628.
Hotel Himalayan Heart, built atop a 2,196-m hill, offers nine comfortable rooms that provide glorious views. Restaurant serves all types of cuisine. Hotel Himalayan Heart, Nagarkot; Tel: 680124. Kathmandu Office: Thamel; Tel: 438908; Fax: 977-1-417424.
Nagarkot Cottage offers an experience in rural living. While it does not promise the comforts of a five-star hotel, it does provide a five-star experience of life in a Nepalese village. Enjoy a mini-trek through villages where you can observe human civilization from a historical perspective. Nagarkot Cottage, Nagarkot. Kathmandu Office: Natraj Tours & Travel, Ghantaghar, Kamaladi; Tel: 222532, 222014; Fax: 977-1-227372.
Niva Niwa Lodge, located on a hill, is a place where time flows gorgeously. Offers great mountain views, the sweet scent of flowers and the songs of birds. Niva Niwa Lodge, Naldum Nagarkot; Tel: 680097. Kathmandu Office: Van Van Restaurant, Maitighar, Babar Mahal, Kathmandu; Tel/Fax: 977-1-255490.
Hotel View Point offers the best vantage point from where you can take in a 360-degree panoramic view of the Himalaya – from Mt. Ganesh to Mt. Everest. The hotel has 30 double-bed rooms with international standard amenities. Restaurant serves hygienic and delicious food. Conference facility for 60 persons. Hotel View Point, Nagarkot; Tel: 680123. Kathmandu Office: Thamel; Tel: 417424; Fax: 977-1-417424, 438908.
Hotel View Tower offers nine well-furnished, double-bed deluxe rooms with TV and attached tub bath. Large conference hall for 70 people with full-fledged service. Rodighar Restaurant serves all types of cuisine prepared by an experienced chef. Well-stocked bar. Hotel View Tower, Nagarkot. Kathmandu Office: Thamel; Tel: 262602; Tel/Fax: 977-1-417424.
Dhulikhel Lodge Resort with its charming traditional architecture complemented by modern facilities is the perfect place for relaxing and a comfortable stay. All rooms offer stunning views of the mountains and the Panchkhal Valley. A variety of restaurants serving Nepalese, Continental and Tibetan cuisine. Dhulikhel Lodge Resort, Dhulikhel; Tel: 011-61114, 61494, 62042, 62043; Fax: 977-11-64001. Kathmandu Office: Kamaladi; Tel: 247663, 222389, 248299; Fax: 977-1-222926.
Dhulikhel Mountain Resort offers 42 comfortable rooms in bungalows, all with attached bath and equipped with modern amenities. It even boasts of a helipad. Enjoy a choice of scrumptious Nepalese, Continental, Indian and Tibeto-Chinese cuisine in the restaurant, the garden terrace or at the Chimney Bar. Dhulikhel Mountain Resort, Dhulikhel; Tel: 011-61466. Kathmandu Office: Lazimpat; Tel: 420774, 413737; Fax: 977-1-420778
High View Resort Dhulikhel, located atop a peaceful height, provides a panoramic view of the Himalaya as well as that of the terraced landscape of surrounding villages. Its 12 spacious rooms in five exclusive traditional Nepali-style bungalows have attached bath. Sunrise can be enjoyed from each room which also has a fireplace and a wide balcony. The Himalaya Kitchen serves Tibetan, Thai and traditional Nepali cuisine. High View Resort Dhulikhel, Dhulikhel; Tel: 011-61966, 62048. Kathmandu Office: Tel: 243514; Fax: 977-1-250364; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.highview.huizen.dds.nl
Hotel Himalayan Panorama. Comfortable accommodation with modern amenities amidst natural beauty. Well-furnished rooms with attached bath, conference hall, laundry service and STD/ISD telephone. Restaurant serves Continental, Chinese, Indian and Nepali dishes. Hotel Himalayan Panorama, Dhulikhel; Tel: 011-61064. Kathmandu Office: Kathmandu Plaza, Room No. 362, Kamaladi; Tel: 240488, 245108; Fax: 977-1-240504, Ext. 601
Himalayan Shangri-La Resort, a typical resort situated amidst natural surroundings, overlooks Dhulikhel. The entire mountain range is visible from its 36 spacious rooms. Views of sunrise and sunset from the Himalayan Shangri-La’s commanding and unobstructed heights are the most fascinating in Dhulikhel. Himalayan Shangri-la Resort, Dhulikhel. Kathmandu Office: Lal Durbar; Tel: 427837; Fax: 977-1-423939; E-mail: email@example.com; Website: www.virtual-nepal. com/him-shangrila
Himalayan Horizon Hotel Sun-n-Snow provides 16 deluxe and 12 standard rooms. Its two restaurants and bar serve a rich assortment of luscious foods and tantalizing drinks. Himalayan Horizon Hotel Sun-n-Snow, Dhulikhel; Tel: 011-61260, 62196, 61955, 61296; Fax: 977-11-61476. Kathmandu Office: Durbar Marg; Tel: 247183, 225092; Fax: 977-1-225092; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www. catmando.com/hotel-horizon
Mirabel Resort Hotel has luxurious rooms, great food and breathtaking views. Mirabel Resort Hotel, Dhulikhel; Tel: 011-61972/3/4/5. Kathmandu Office: Tel: 248054/5/6/8; Fax: 977-1-226642; E-mail: sre@vishnu. ccsl.com.np
Mountain Melody, overlooking the magnificent valley below, offers 12 elegant and spacious rooms with private verandah and attached bathroom. The Gaon Ghar, or village home, decorated in typical rural style, serves Nepalese cuisine. Mountain Melody, Dhulikhel; Tel: 011-61415; Fax: 977-1-423441; E-mail: email@example.com. com.np
Ranu’s Cottage & Sun View Mountain Resort. Eleven well-furnished rooms with all modern amenities. Restaurant serves Chinese, Continental, Indian and Italian cuisine. Ranu’s Cottage & Snow View Mountain Resort, Dhulikhel; Tel: 011-63025, 62025. Kathmandu Office: Jyatha, Thamel; Tel: 264185; Fax: 977-1-264185; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. com.np
Everest Panorama Resort. Luxury hotel rooms with ensuites and deluxe thatched huts in a tranquil atmosphere. Enjoy Continental, Chinese, Indian or Nepali cuisine. Go hiking, mountain biking, pony trekking, fishing and rock climbing/abseiling. Everest Panorama Resort, Daman; Tel: 977-057-40382; Fax: 977-057-40380. Kathmandu Office: Kamal Pokhari; Tel: 428500, 414644, 434491; Fax: 977-1-416029
River Side Spring Resort is a lavish property where natural serenity and modern luxuries pleasingly meet for the perfect getaway. Built on the banks of the Trisuli river, about two and half hours’ drive from Kathmandu on the highway to Pokhara, this deluxe resort offers 10 well-appointed twin-bed cottages. The restaurant has a la carte menu. River Side Spring Resort, Kurintar; Tel: 056-29429. Kathmandu Office: Hitti Durbar; Tel: 241408, 434554; Fax: 977-1-232163; E-mail: nangint@ ccsl.com.np
Manakamana Village Resort has eight double and one family room, all having attached bath with 24-hour hot and cold water. The Village Restaurant serves Chinese, Indian, Continental and typical Nepalese cuisine. Manakamana Village Resort, Kurintar. Kathmandu Office: Shakya Arcade, Durbar Marg; Tel: 230287, 252560, 246549, 272877, 416813; Fax: 977-1-252570; E-mail: dcse@thangka. mos.com.np
An escape from the maddening crowd
Himalayan Horizon is one of the few resorts of its kind in Dhulikhel. It is not only a hotel with a view, but also one that has been successful, to a certain extent, in conserving the unique architectural heritage of the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley. Built with bricks and wood instead of steel and concrete, the resort is a subtle blend of tradition and modernity.
Himalayan Horizon is set on the crest of a hill amidst sprawling lawns and gardens. All the three blocks of the resort – one housing the restaurant and bar and the other three the guest rooms – have brick facades that are embellished with a profusion of carved wood windows and roof struts which are the hallmarks of the medieval dwellings of the Newars. Typical brick-paved courtyards round off the effect. The architectural style of the exterior extends inside as well in the old guest room block, while the interior of the new wing has a more contemporary feel about it with its marbled floors and polished banisters. The guest rooms this side, however, are even more spacious.
The traditional architecture and hospitality aside, everything else at Himalayan Horizon is modern. The rooms are well appointed and equipped with modern amenities. The attached baths have hot and cold shower. The north-facing private balcony outside each room is a particularly delightful spot to enjoy the cool evenings while sipping cocktails and watching the changing colors of the Himalaya as the sun sets.
On clear days, the view of the mountains from all around the property, including the rooms, is simply superb.
The Terrace Garden Restaurant is a particularly good place to wine and dine or have a barbecue party while enjoying the Himalayan panorama. The bar, with its large glass windows, is another great place to enjoy from a large assortment of international drinks with a dash of mountain viewing.
The specialty of the main restaurant inside is either delicately or richly prepared Moghul recipes and Continental haute cuisine, unusual Newari festival dishes and fresh seasonal vegetables from the resort’s kitchen garden. The chef makes his own variety of sauces and pickles which can be enjoyed with freshly baked bread.
Himalayan Horizon is also an ideal place for holding seminars and workshops. The spacious Gauri Shankar conference hall at the resort comes with all the necessary equipment for business gatherings for up to 130 people. The Langtang hall is suitable for smaller get-togethers of up to 30 people.
The resort, therefore, is a great place for both business and leisure. It’s a place where you can experience the traditional while being pampered with modern comforts which together make for a perfectly relaxing and enjoyable stay.
Address: Dhulikhel, Tel: 011-61296, 61260, 61955; Fax: 977-11-61476
Facilities: Spacious guest rooms with attached bath, private balconies, 17-channel TV and telephone; Garden Terrace Restaurant for barbecue and parties; main restaurant serving Continental, Chinese, Tibetan, Indian and Nepalese cuisine; international bar; conference facilities; parking; mailing, ISD and fax; laundry; back-up generator
Activities: Himalaya viewing, sunrise/sunset viewing, excursions to nearby towns and villages, mini treks, day trip to the Nepal-China border and hot springs at Tatopani, river rafting on the Bhote Koshi, mountain biking, fishing and bird watching
Kathmandu Office: Durbar Marg; Tel: 225092, 247183; Fax: 977-1-225092; E-mail: email@example.com; Website: www.catmando.com/hotel-horizon
Kiran Prasad Shrestha is the General Manager of Himalayan Horizon, the leading resort hotel in Dhulikhel. He holds a Diploma in Hotel Management from Salzburg, Austria, and has also completed Front Office Management training from the Hotel and Tourism Training Center, Kathmandu.
Mr. Shrestha started his hoteliering career as a teenager at Dhulikhel Lodge, a family venture which was later renamed as Himalayan Horizon, and which prides itself as the pioneer of tourism development in Dhulikhel.