Peak hour traffic is the biggest obstacle for Kathmandu’s newest hotel. Upon landing at Tribhuvan International Airport and clearing immigration, the drive from the terminal to Vivanta Kathmandu — just 7.8 kilometres away and a 20-minute journey by car — takes at least an hour.
While many regular travellers to the city are likely used to this, for me, the traffic is eye-opening and with no noticeable road rules in play aside from the police’s attempts to direct traffic, I’m pleased to say that once I arrive the 110-room property in the Patan district, what I find is a comfortable, central property that’s secure and cultured.
The hotel-organised airport transfer is straightforward, though tedious, but the welcome received at the hotel is friendly and the check-in efficient.
The spacious lobby with its high ceilings, well-positioned chandelier, and comfy sofas set the tone for patrons upon entry before they round the corner and encounter the splashes of creative colour that adorns the wall behind reception. Teal, green, blue, gold, and of course, crimson red — the national colour — form patterns conducive with the culture and add to the vibrancy and modernity of the space that also plays host to a small coffee stop ideal for short meetings or quick coffee breaks.
With the formalities taken care of, I’m good to go and I’m guided to my room by a member of the service team, the baggage arriving just a few moments after I do.
Whether in the Nepalese capital for a short stay or a lengthier one, you’ll no doubt appreciate the local hospitality. Across this 10-storey property, which is within walking distance of a number of convenience stores, ATMs, and eateries and cafes, guests are greeted with friendly smiles whenever they cross paths with the team.
Besides the facilities, the property boasts views of the Himalayas that are the standout feature of this almost year-old establishment in the heart of the Lalitpur area. The rooftop lounge and pool area on the 10th floor provide patrons with incredible city and mountain views and is the ideal location for an early morning dip, a refreshment and light snack at lunchtime, or a sunset session preceding a business meal with colleagues in the evening.
All four of the room categories available for booking are comfortable and brightly furnished, boasting plenty of space, and all the amenities you may require.
My Premium Room, at 31-square-metres, is 4 sq m bigger than the standard offering. It boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that afford me views of the famous mountain range in the distance and a spacious combined bedroom/living area that’s got twin beds, a three-seater lounge, and a glass coffee table.
Design-wise, rooms boast vibrant furnishings with upholstered headboards and decent-sized floor rugs brandishing a pop of colour to complement the otherwise neutral aesthetic. Crisp white linens elevate the appeal as does the quality of the shower. Despite the small bathroom space it belongs in, the shower pressure makes up for any shortcomings.
From a technical standpoint, I am disappointed with the strength of the Wi-Fi and the two-device maximum connection offering — especially if there are two people travelling — but that being said, I am impressed by the number of USB portals for charging and the functionality of the space.
When it comes to the dining landscape, Vivanta offers guests a couple of options. Rooftop bar Koko is, as mentioned earlier, great for a pre-dinner beverage or a quick bistro-style bite between meetings, while Akari — the accompanying indoor restaurant — specialises in Pan Asian cuisine and exudes an Oriental manga vibe. The menu here includes Japanese cuisine, alongside Thai, Korean, Cantonese and Burmese dishes, with prices starting from 615 Nepalese Rupee (Dh20) a dish.
Breakfast (Dh47 if not included in the room rate) is served in Mynt, the all-day dining restaurant on lobby level, but don’t expect an over-the-top offering. It’s quite compact but does have plenty of cultural fare including Momos (steamed meat dumplings), Sambar (a lentil-based vegetable stew), Hakka noodles, stir fried rice, and Masala omelettes. There’s a selection of fresh fruits, flavoured curds, and bread for toasting too, as well as tea, coffee and juices.
There’s a spa and fitness centre on site for those keen on burning some calories in their downtime, and when it’s back to the grind, the hotel boasts three meeting rooms available for hire.
Rooms at Vivanta Kathmandu start from Dh550 per night, including taxes and Wi-Fi. Airport transfers cost Dh91.
The writer was a guest of the hotel. For more information go to www.vivantahotels.com