07 Aug 2017
4 min read
As I sat on the lawn of the Grand Norling Hotel’s Resort’s picnic area, I caught sight of a herd of deer shyly tottering out of the edge of Gokarna Forest. Dragonflies’s buzzing filled the air, while the three resident dogs (a Husky, a Saint Bernard and a German Shepherd) leapt playfully amidst the dragonflies—all this against the soothing backdrop of the dense forests and hilltops of Gokarna. It was a sight to treasure. And that is exactly the sort of experience KunSang Wangmo, the resort’s managing director, wishes to create here at the resort.
Just seven km away from the airport, located on the outskirts of Kathmandu, the resort is a perfect oasis of peace. The resort has on offer a wide range of activities, including walks through Gokarna Forest, hikes to popular spots like Sankhu, cycling trips to Sundarijal, and much more. But it’s the swimming pool and picnic grounds that are the most popular draw among visitors. Guests usually stay at the resort for two or three nights, on a weekend getaway, while the longest bookings can last more than two weeks. The resort also makes for an ideal venue for holding conferences, parties and other events. The conference hall is complemented by the garden, where guests can enjoy their luncheons, dinners, outdoor parties and get-togethers.
Removed from Kathmandu’s maddening crowd, the resort is tranquil, with great accommodation and in-house restaurants that serve both exotic and local dishes. Designed by architect Swarab Gurung, the resort’s architecture is a fusion of Buddhist and Nepali aesthetics. I could just sit and stare at the carvings on the walls all day, imaging the precision and patience with which the architects and engineers designed this place 15 years ago. Not only is the resort beautiful, but it is also responsibly managed. The resort, for example, uses solar heaters to heat water, minimising fossil-fuel usage. The eco-friendly hotel also uses decomposed biodegradable waste to make organic fertiliser for their gardens.
The 17 rooms and suites of the resort all ensure comfortable stays for customers. Scrupulous housekeeping and maintenance ensure that rooms are always fresh and welcoming. There are nine luxury suites (twin-bedded or double-bedded), one rooftop luxury bamboo honeymoon suite, two garden apartment cottages and five garden deluxe cottages. Interestingly, all 17 rooms flaunt distinct features—from the décor to the furniture—so guests are guaranteed unique experiences every time they visit.
Restaurant and bar
The two restaurants, Shimpo Restaurant and Dusti Bar, offer an eclectic range of cuisines for every palate. Guests can expect exceptional food, excellent service and a welcoming ambience. Breakfast is served from 7 am to 10 am, lunch from 12 noon to 3 pm, and dinner from 7 pm to 9pm. The bar is open all day, from 7 am to 10 pm. Cuisines range from classic Nepali to traditional Tibetan. My favourites from the menu were the Mustang Aalu, the Nepali Thali and the Tibetan-styled momos.
Meetings and events
The Norling Resort also features everything from small meeting rooms to grand-scale conference centres. The conference hall can accommodate 150 people, and is equipped with all the facilities you would need during a conference, including super-fast Wi-Fi.
KunSang Wangmo, who has been heading the resort for over 12 years now, says that her favourite features of the hotel are its forest setting and the ornate, precise detailing of the architecture. However, she says, there is still room for improvement. There are plans to add more rooms so that the resort can accommodate more guests. “It would also be nicer if our restaurants were expanded to include an outdoor space,” she adds. “Our guests would then be able to enjoy the view of the pool, and the breathtaking outdoor views, while eating or drinking at the bar. We’re working on that.”
(Photos by Srijana Bhatta)