Do you agree that 2019 has gone exceedingly quick? It’s only three months until the Gregorian calendar hits the year of 2020. Which means it’s a year of significant events, such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the UEFA European Championship in London. No doubt, the money generated from these events will both help Japan and England’s economy.
Yet one country, in particular, has dedicated a whole year-long event to 2020. Can you guess? It’s Nepal. Just like other countries competing to host sporting events to aid their economy, the government of Nepal has dedicated an entire year to generate more tourism from within. You’ve probably noticed already if you travel around Nepal or outside cities, the enchanting advertisements for the “Visit Nepal 2020” campaign.
Visit Nepal 2020
This campaign has caused somewhat of controversy within the residents of the country and tourism sector. A lot have argued that the government hasn’t done enough to promote this country to encourage tourists back to Nepal since the devastating 2015 earthquake. As a foreigner who travels between my home country of the U.K. and Nepal, I’m not in a position to comment on Nepal’s politics.
However, one thing I have noticed in the past 18 months is the expeditious rise of infrastructure in the capital of Kathmandu. Particularly hotels and I’m seeing renowned worldwide chains are being built such as the Marriott, Sheraton, Hilton and Aloft (a brand from Mariott). I assume this is to prepare for either the suspected (influx of tourists) or persuade more to visit.
South Side of Town…
Whilst all of these have been operating on the North Side of the city my attention had been transported to elsewhere, the South Side. Early this year a new hotel had been set up under the Taj Group a contemporary high-end hotel, Vivanta. Recently, I spent the night in its high rise and alluring purple-infused fresh vibrant interior. Having already dined at Akari & Koko I was intrigued to see what the rest of this high-end hotel had to offer Kathmandu.
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On the outside, you would not perceive this eccentrically shaped building to be a high-end hotel. However as soon as you enter, your opinion drastically shifts. Before I could take time to digest my new surroundings I was instantly greeted by the doorman and a member of staff providing me with a tikka, a dosalla (ceremonial scarf) and a welcome drink. Whilst waiting to check-in I immediately noticed the trendy eye-catching colours of the red, blue and purple interior. It was a sight for sore eyes.
During check-in, I kept looking around in amazement. As I could not believe how small the building looked from the outside yet so spacious inside (from my first impressions of the ground floor). It took me away from the hectic hustle and bustle of Kathmandu. The check-in area was extremely innovative with unique lights hanging down and a colourful wall backdrop.
If you’re one for socialising and like open space the lounge area has its own bakery, Swirl. I didn’t grab a cake or coffee. But, next time when passing by Jhamsikhel I just might. They looked mouthwateringly tasty.
Exiting the lift to my room on the fourth floor, I arrived at the corridor of Vivanta Kathmandu. Which transported me to another dimension. The details of the exotic yet contemporary interior really impressed me. I love art but I’m no fanatic to interpret it the right way. Yet the attention to detail even in the corridor made me feel like I was a current, happening and high-end hotel. I particularly loved the painting and telephone on the multicoloured stand.
Likewise, the hanging fake suitcases glued to the walls and the bubbly purple carpet leading to a phenomenal view of the city. If only I’d had a few more drinks that evening I’d probably done forward rolls down the corridor to test the softness of this gorgeous carpet!
Later on in my stay, I discovered that purple is a signature colour of Vivanta Kathmandu. As well as the furnishing and remainder of the interior are specifically unique to this hotel.
A swift quick swipe and there I entered room 416 a Deluxe Premium double room at Vivanta Kathmandu. It took around five steps to actually enter my room to be taken back at this gigantic spacious chamber. Nowadays, there are so many hotels across the world setting up and due to their competition, space is often sacrificed. That is unless you go for the ultimate premium room such as a suite. Throughout the duration of my stay, I was impressed by the 31 m² room!
I walked into the room and was taken back by the lovely welcome message from Vivanta Kathmandu. In the middle of the room was a set of chocolates, on a square base and a chocolate placard welcoming me to Vivanta Kathmandu. I really thought this was a sweet, appealing and tasty touch by all of the staff!
There was a large desk, accompanied by a minibar, kettle, tea and coffee. Above the spacious workbench was a large flatscreen tv. This space arguably may not be classed as a desk but to me, it was sufficient enough. Did I mention the room was spacious? So roomy, there was an alluring two-seater sofa which had cushions placed in peculiar places.
Adding to the hotel’s modern and innovative concept. Behind the sofa featured floor to ceiling windows with majestic views of the Valley. On the morning of my stay, I witnessed a clear day and serene views of the Himalayas. It was the ultimate wake up call.
The bed was huge and what I particularly loved was its backdrop, it had the same continuous theme running throughout with purple swirls all over the walls. Likewise, a unique feature I feel benefited not just myself but all forms of travellers was the USB plugs. Similarly, the alarm clock with multiple charging ports to accommodate many devices I found extremely useful. As often I forget to bring charging devices whilst travelling.
Like the bedroom, the bathroom was also just as spacious with a very effective power shower. Complimentary toiletries, a comfortable bathrobe and slippers.
During the early evening of my stay, I decided to make use of their spa which was on their ninth floor and located next to their gym. I perused the menu to decide on what massage I wanted to receive. Whilst waiting I was provided with a complimentary soothing and sinus busting peppermint tea. After five minutes I decided I wanted to proceed with a light massage.
Before I could commence any further the attentive spa staff of Vivanta Kathmandu made me fill in a questionnaire. This was a health and safety risk assessment to ensure that they were providing the ultimate safety to protect themselves and the guests best interest.
Unfortunately, by the time I had got to my treatment room, the sun had set. Normally, there are phenomenal views due to the time of day there was none. My masseuse was incredibly cautious and asked me questions throughout the massage.
After one hour of bliss, I was ready to recommence my evening as a new relaxed Alex.
Alongside the spa, there is a sauna and steam room. Likewise, a hair salon where you can get hair therapy such as a touch-up.
Vivanta has two main restaurants, one on the downstairs Mynt and the second on its 10th floor Akari & Koko. I’d already eaten at Akari & Koko before and was immediately excited to visit again. In my opinion, I feel it’s one of Nepal’s best pan Asian restaurants due to the flavours, menu and service.
This time I devoured different foods on the menu in comparison to the last time. First, I tried their wontons which consisted of spinach and cream cheese. I LOVED them. In Nepal, I struggle to find the ultimate wonton without them tasting like fried momos. Akari & Koko had really nailed the presentation and taste. Later that night I devoured many more scrumptious foods such as shrimp tempura, butter Ponzo prawns, chicken karage and teriyaki salmon. I could not fault a single dish, as each one melted straight onto my palette. The tantalizing flavours took me somewhere else.
What I also enjoyed during my meal was that the chef came out to greeted me like last time and took my order. By doing this, he proved no job was too menial.
Next up was Mynt a continental restaurant. I dined there for their breakfast which was served in a buffet style. As I’m British I love a large portion of meat for breakfast that mainly is pork or chicken. Sometimes, when I dine at other hotels in Nepal I’m quite restricted with options consisting of the odd chicken sausage or boiled egg with toast. No bacon!
At Mynt there was a mammoth amount of food consisting of hot cuisine, Indian cuisine, cheese platters, fruit, vegetables, cereals and many more. There was also a chef station where you could request eggs, pancakes and omelettes to be made at your request. As well as a coffee machine in which you could make your own latte, cappuccino, espresso and many others.
The interior of the restaurant was funky. There was an outside patio area which gave me garden vibes with the walls covered in astroturf, rainbow ceiling and vibrant cushions. It was an incredibly quirky environment. Similarly, the waiters came to my table at different periods asking me if I wanted certain foods. I found this service exceptional saving me from getting up and walking to the buffet. This restaurant also is open over lunch and dinner serving a range of continental cuisine.
To summarise, I’ve only stayed in a few hotels within the Kathmandu Valley so I can’t compare it to everything. However, I’d like to mention out of those that I have stayed at, Vivanta Kathmandu really sets the standard high for four-star hotels. You can definitely see that the staff have been well trained and they are genuinely happy to do their job at Vivanta Kathmandu. As next year is approaching fast, I would definitely suggest this as a hotel for tourists to consider if they’re wanting to stay on the South Side of Town. I can assure you, after that stay, it left me feeling fresh-faced and prepped to get back into my work.