- Nepal Diaries: Introduction
- Nepal Diaries: 9W 266 Mumbai–Kathmandu, Jet Airways Economy
- Nepal Diaries: Hyatt Regency Kathmandu
- Nepal Diaries: Dining at Bhojan Griha
- Nepal Diaries: The Namobuddha Resort
- Nepal Diaries: Kathmandu Executive Lounge
- Nepal Diaries: 9W 265 Kathmandu-Mumbai, Jet Airways Economy/Business
We arrived at the Tribhuvan International airport late afternoon on a direct Jet Airways flight from Mumbai. Once we were outside the airport, we noticed the chauffeur from Hyatt Regency Kathmandu, who helped us with our bags and guided us to a van in the parking lot. I’m not sure if this was a private pick-up vehicle or a shuttle or both, since we had the whole van to ourselves on this trip.
The Hyatt Regency hotel is located just about 10 minutes away from the airport. On first glimpse, Kathmandu gave me the impression that the streets were as busy as any town in India. On our way we crossed the Pashupatinath Temple courtyard.
As the van pulled into the drive way, I realized that this Hyatt is a large hotel standing tall amidst the city chaos. The Hyatt Regency is set on 37 acres of landscape grounds, and is the only 5-star luxury hotel amongst the chain hotels in Kathmandu. In the introductory post, Ajay shared the reasons why we chose to book the Hyatt over the Crowne Plaza or the Radisson.
Since this is a Category 1 hotel, so you can use 5,000 Gold Passport points to redeem a reward night. However we opted to book a cash + points rate at 2,500 points + 50 USD (3,400 INR) per night for 2 rooms and then applied Diamond Suite Upgrades from Ajay and my own account to upgrade the rooms to Regency Suites.
The entrance to the hotel is via a long winding driveway that opens into a large beautiful courtyard. The courtyard was complete with cloisters and stone cut shrines and sculptures. It almost felt like we were entering a temple. We arrived in the lobby and were escorted to the Regency Club on the 6th floor where check-in for Diamond members takes place.
We were offered cold towels and a choice of juices at the lounge. After completing the paperwork, we were escorted to our room on the 5th floor. Surprisingly, I was not offered any choice of Diamond amenities at this point of time.
The Hyatt Regency Suite
The door opened up into a large living room that had interiors lined up with Nepalese wood carvings. On the right side of the entrance was a small desk, which could double up as a work desk as well as a dining table.
Some fruits and cookies were placed in the room already to welcome us. Ajay proceeded to gobble up the chocolates, only to realise they were cake pops, and after the surprise, had them anyways!
There was also a minibar and a working old dilapidated fridge that had its front panel missing. The television was placed inside a carved wooden cupboard that looked like an out of place boxy structure.
The bedroom décor was minimalist with a wooden double bed, a couch chair and an ottoman, and a television. There was also second fully stocked minibar in the bedroom.
The wash chamber was as big as the bedroom, and had a walk-in closet inside. The bathroom had a decent size wash area, a soaking tub and a shower cubicle. The amenities used were sourced from India, and not suitable to a Hyatt property to say the least. One thing I could not understand, was that how was hot and cold water alternating in the shower even when both the knobs were on.
Overall, I felt that the suite was outdated and in dire need of some renovation. The furniture was old and scratched all over. The shower knob broke on the first day, the water works in the shower and the toilet needed some serious work as well. The air conditioning and the temperature control would not work properly, like with most places on an old thermostat control. There are many a power cuts in Kathmandu, but the hotel backup generator kicks in within a few seconds.On two nights the AC shut off for a few hours and the thermostat would refuse to set right.
The great thing about the room was the view; I loved the view of the swimming pool and rolling hills in the background. Since the airport is very close to the hotel we could also see planes landing and taking off. The windows let in plenty of natural light which is always good.
While booking the rooms, we were only allowed to put 2 adults in a room, however, the hotel could actually take 3 adults in a suite, along with installing a rollaway bed. Ajay had already contacted the Hyatt Concierge, who put a note in the booking about the rollaway bed rather than editing it. On arriving at the hotel, they added one bed in the room, without any extra charges.
One thing that was amusing on an ongoing basis for us was the ice service. On the first day, the staff placed an ice bucket during the turn down service, full of ice. We didn’t take much notice the first day, thinking it was some mistake. One went to the parents room too without asking.. Though it was a daily thing, and we never asked for ice in the first place, and the room service thought we asked for it.
Regency Club Lounge
The Regency Club Lounge, located on the 6th floor was accessible for guests living in the Club rooms and suites. They would serve tea / coffee and soft beverages through out the day. Every evening, they would set up evening hors d’oeuvers. The lounge would lay out a small spread of cold appetizers, the bar had an assortment of alcohol to choose from. There was a nice mix between Indian and Western tastes on the evening helpings every day. Here are some pictures.
In addition, there was a separate TV room and a meeting room in the club lounge. Somehow the TV room had a old television from the CRT ages. We could see the famous Boudhnath Stupa, which was under repair and on one clear morning there were magnificent views of the snowcapped mountains on the horizon.
On check-in we were advised that the club lounge is open until 10pm daily, however on 2 consecutive nights when we came by for a coffee at 09:30pm we noticed that the lights were dimmed, there was no staff and the refrigerators were emptied out. Since the coffee machines are placed in a kitchen, there was no direct access to the coffee as well.
Breakfast @ The Café
The hotel has 4 restaurants, including an all-day dining one. I was glad to hear that breakfast was not served in the club lounge, and rather at the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant, The Café. As a Diamond benefit, breakfast was complimentary.
The restaurant offered both indoor and outdoor seating, and had seating for everything from 2 to 6 people. While we usually seated ourselves inside, we tried being outside one morning, but were hounded by crows. Wedecided to stick to indoor seating after that. The breakfast buffet consisted of the standard selection of cold items such as cut fruits, fresh juices, cereals and greens. There were live egg, waffle/panckae and dosa counters. Apart from this there was a selection of hot entrees on the buffet which were largely an Asian and Indian selection. We tried the stuffed paranthas every day which tasted quite lame on the first day but very fresh the second day. The South Indian selection was consistently good on all the days. We also tried the freshly made waffles and pancakes on various days and it was quite nice. The restaurant did make some very good capuccino, but could not make a good masala tea through and through.
The Hotel Exterior & Location
The Hyatt Regency Kathmandu is pretty expansive and if you ever decide to stay there, I’d recommend exploring the hotel a bit. The hotel is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens on 3 sides. The garden was lined up with flowers. There is a jogging track as well for those who like to run, but the highlight for me was the organic garden that hotel maintains on a rather large patch of land. From fresh herbs to salad leaves the hotel grows a number of greens in the backyard. It’s always nice to know where your food is coming from and I have a special recognition for hotels that practice sustainable farming. We also walked by the pool which was impressive and had not one but 2 separate enclosures for children. There was a pool side bar which we never got an opportunity to try.
There was a casino right in the hotel enclosure, which was not open to locals but to foreigners only. We did take a peek inside but after having experienced the casinos of Vegas, I felt that the casino here was just functional and I was not tempted to bet my money here.
After breakfast one morning we walked decided to take a look at the spa facilities. The Spa rooms were very basic and the treatments offered were standard ones. The pricing was towards the premium end and at par with the Sereno Spa at the Park Hyatt, Goa which provides a far better treatment offering and a much more intimate experience. The Gym was located by the side of the spa and that made the area busy with people coming in and out.
An advantage of staying here was that the hotel is located very close to some of the main sights in Kathmandu. We walked to the Pashupatinath temple one morning and it was an easy walk from the hotel. The Boudhanath Stupa, the largest Stupa in Nepal is right in the backyard and about 500 metres away from the hotel. A gate from the back side of the hotel opens out in the back alleys of the Boudhanath Stupa. The hotel also runs complimentary shuttle service 6 times a day to Thamel, the city center. The driver was very courteous and one evening took a detour to drop us at a restaurant we wanted to try. A word of advice here will be to pre-book your seats on the shuttle with the concierge as on one occasion we had to wait for 30 minutes because we hadn’t advised the travel desk earlier. Although the hotel was kind to organize an out of schedule transport for us.
Overall, we had a good stay at the hotel. Using our points, cash and Diamond Suite Upgrade was totally worth it. Would I be willing to book the suite at a fully paid price in its present condition? Not really.
You can also check out our video review of the hotel here:
So after a comfortable 5 days stay in the city we headed out to Dhulikhel to our next home in the hills.