If you are looking for boutique accommodation in Kathmandu that is in Thamel, but something different to the cheap backpacker accommodation, or sprawling trekker guesthouses, then Kantipur Temple House might be just what you are looking for. While still effectively on the edge of Thamel, it is located on a very quiet lane toward Durbar Marg, about a 10 minute walk from Thamel's noisy heart. The hotel itself is something of a quiet oasis. If you want somewhere with more people and more interaction, you might want to look elsewhere.
What sets Kantipur Temple House apart from other accommodation is that it is built 1998 in the distinctive Newari architectural style that is historically indigenous to the Kathmandu valley, and more commonly seen on old Nepalese temples. The building is built in brown brick, with ornately carved window frames and features. It is five story complex, with 48 rooms set around a central courtyard atrium. Most hallways have alcoves with comfortable chairs and tables if you wish to read, write etc.
To my knowledge there is only one similar hotel in Kathmandu - the luxurious and heritage 5-star Dwarika's Hotel (located some distance from Thamel, near the Pashupatinath Hindu Temple). If you are not up to paying the much higher price at Dwarika's and want somewhere adjacent to the activity of Thamel, then I suggest you consider KTH.
Behind the high brick walls on the lane, you will find a very pleasantly manicured garden, with tables for eating, reading etc in the sun.
The hotel has two restaurants, although as far as I could see, one was primarily for breakfast and one for dinner. I didn't have dinner there - choosing to eat at the many restaurants in Thamel, however the breakfast was quite satisfactory - with juices, tea/coffee, cereals, yogurts, organic fruit, toast with organic jams, and nicely made omlettes with fried vegetables, bacon and sausage. I found the breakfast service staff to be particularly friendly and attentive. I booked my room through an online agency and breakfast wasn't included in the room rate. They charged about 600NR for breakfast. I don't know whether other packages include breakfast with the room.
The hotel makes a genuine effort to be organic and sustainable. Plastic bags are not used, garbage is recycled, solar power heats the water, drinking water is provided in jugs instead of plastic bottles, and rooms do not have airconditioning or TV.
Wifi is included in the room rate however - although I found that the service and speed fluctuated significantly during the day - but this is typical with all hotels in Kathmandu.
The other major problem was power outages. All of Nepal is currently suffering from huge power shortages, and city wide load-shedding means that the power is often out for most of the working day, and periods of night. As mentioned, this is not the fault of the hotel directly, but definitely affects guests, particularly as many of the rooms have limited natural light. (Trust me, Nepali citizens are as frustrated about the situation as you probably will be). There was a sheet in the room that identified exactly what hours of each day the power would be off for. During these times, the hotel runs on backup generators and batteries, and so there is still basic lighting, wifi, etc.
There are two standards of rooms - basic, which are quite small, and deluxe, which have about double the floor space. Both are simply furnished but comfortable and clean. The hotel has 24 hour running hot water, and in the evening on cool nights, housekeeping staff will turn down the beds, turn on electric blankets, put hot water bottles in the bed, and turn on bedroom heaters.
Many rooms do not have a desk, so if you are staying for business, or want a desk, ask for a room that has one. Note that the hotel does not have an elevator, so if you have any mobility issues, be sure to ask for a room on a lower floor.
Apparently the hotel has a rooftop terrace, but I didn't visit it, and no reference was made to while I was there - so perhaps it is mainly used in the summer?
I found the hotel pretty quick at arranging me taxis when I needed them, although make sure you take a card with the hotel phone number on it, when you return, as not all taxis know where the hotel is and will need to phone for directions. A taxi arranged from the hotel cost 500NR to the airport (around minutes depending on traffic). The hotel can also arrange an airport pickup on arrival, although it charges about US$10 for this service.
Like all hotels, laundry can be arranged by Kantipur Temple House, although there are couple of laundry services just around the corner in the next lane, that only charge 50NR per kilo for overnight service - a lot less than the hotel, particularly if you are getting EVERYTHING cleaned after trekking!
I also recommend a small flashlight or headlamp. The shortest route to the hotel from Thamel is down a lane that is not lit at night, and the ground can be potholed, or even have open manhole covers which pose a real risk in the dark. The hotel does supply small rechargeable flashlights in all the rooms.
(For those people really hanging out for a good coffee, the best I found was Himalayan Java - upstairs in Tridevi Marg, at the entrance to Thamel, across the road from Fire & Ice Pizza. The closest thing to Starbucks you will find in Kathmandu!)
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- Also Known As:
- Kantipur Temple House Hotel Kathmandu
- Kantipur Temple Hotel
- Kantipur Temple Kathmandu