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Review of Nepal Hotels

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Hotel Yak and Yeti (Kathmandu):
Our planned 2-night stay turned into one when we missed our domestic to international connection in Delhi. Nice, historic hotel, with good pool area, gardens, and tennis court. Casino (not American style but reminiscent of what I've seen on small Caribbean islands) and disco, along with three restaurants and a nice bar. One restaurant was Chinese, one continental (buffet and a la carte), and their signature The Chimney (which I would highly recommend for its novel setting and food). Front desk changed money; again, no ATM in sight anywhere. Rooms could use a bit of updating (we were even in the newer Durbar Wing), particularly the bathrooms, but nothing really to complain about. Very basic toiletries provided including hairdryer, no robes or slippers. Complimentary bottled water, welcome drinks upon arrival. We had thought that staying here "downtown" would allow us to walk to Durbar Square, which wasn't the case. For that reason only, I probably would recommend the Hyatt, which is less expensive. If you have to take a taxi to see the sights anywhere, the Hyatt was better and half the price.

Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge (Pokhara):
Great hotel, just not for us. Very remote location. Many of the guests were interested in birding, foliage, short hikes, which we were not, so I question why we chose this hotel in the first place (I guess because I had heard it was the best). Rooms were very basic, absolutely no toiletries but soap provided. No hairdryers, robes, slippers--inexpensive things that would add a more luxurious touch. No TVs, very dim lights. I loved the hot water bottles placed in my bed at night. Pokhara had some petrol shortage problems when we visited, so there were rolling blackouts every day (and they were substantial--two 4-hour periods each day, sometimes while you were sleeping, but sometimes when you would have liked to read or use the bathroom). When there's no petrol shortage, the hotel uses generators, so that probably makes it better for many guests--just not while we were there. Hot water for showers provided only twice per day, for 2 hours in morning and evening, but the tank only has a 25-liter capacity, so it runs out way before two people can shower properly. This was the only hotel during our entire trip to India and Nepal that did NOT provide bottled water. Carafes full of their supposedly purified water were filled in each room, but I wasn't comfortable with that. Bottled water is available for purchase. Food was good--cooked breakfast, Indian/local buffet lunch, and served 3-course dinner. I was very happy with the food; very tasty, well presented, great service. Drinks are not included in the nightly rate (which I never could ascertain directly), so we spent about $100 per day on beverages (one of us drinks beer, and the other drinks only non-alcoholic drinks); Visa and MasterCard (and cash only)--no American Express. There's a lovely open stone fire pit in the lobby/bar area, where guests congregate before and after dinner (meal times are set and vary based on the blackouts). The pool is pretty. It's unfortunate that the view when we visited was so hazy (we didn't do our homework beforehand--we thought that if February was a good time to visit northern India--and it was--that it was also a good time to visit Nepal, which wasn't true. It's much clearer in a few months). There are an unbelievable number of stairs and much walking required on this property--anyone with mobility problems would have great difficulty (again, maybe lack of research on our part, but we weren't expecting to need to climb up/down so many steps to reach the rooms). There is no walkie-talkie or telephone to contact the lobby should you need help--when our fuse blew right after showering, my husband had to quickly dress and make the long trek up the hill to get assistance. The staff was excellent--always accessible and pleasant. It would be relatively easy and inexpensive for this hotel to move up a "star" and achieve the luxury which it purports, although to be fair, all the other guests in residence with us seemed quite happy with the setting and accommodation.

Hyatt Regency Kathmandu (Kathmandu):
Closer to the airport than downtown, but still a better choice in my opinion. Large, chain-style hotel with pretty entryway (ponds and fountains) and unique lobby, two large shops. Large, expansive pool area and gardens, with tennis courts. Reasonably-priced spa, decent fitness room. Several restaurant choices: the bar area (indoor and outdoor seating, with dessert buffet and cheese buffet in afternoons, evenings), buffet (also has a la carte options), pool café, and their signature Rox restaurant (looked quite nice, but we were just too tired for a "better" dinner). Rooms were large, with everything you would expect in the way of toiletries, robes, hairdryers (but no slippers). Excellent bathroom with separate soaking tub and standing shower. Our room was a bit tired looking, even though we were on the special Hyatt Gold Passport wing. Complimentary bottled water, full box of chocolates. There was a security guard patrolling each guest room floor--a bit disconcerting. Overall, very pleased with this choice, and a bargain at $125 US (booked well in advance).

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