27 Nov 2017
4 min read
Boutique hotels have become all the rage now in Kathmandu, and every few months a new one seems to crop up in the city. Among the newer ones is the Royal Empire Boutique Hotel. Designed to target high-class clientele, the hotel offers impeccable service and great food. We decided to check out what they had to offer, and came away with seven other reasons why Royal Empire is where you should put up at:
Unique regal character
Like all boutique hotels, the Royal Empire Boutique Hotel is one of a kind. But it pulls off its uniqueness by adding a touch of modern opulence to an aesthetics derived from an older era. Royal Empire is the now renovated Dhruba Mahal, or the White Palace, as the old Rana palace is locally called; it used to be a mid-level Rana palace back in the day. The hotel borrows quite a bit from the grand architecture of that era and exudes a regal air. All the rooms and lobbies in the hotel have been remodelled, but they’ve been done in a manner that has allowed them to retain their earlier characteristics even in their newer avatar of exceedingly comfortable rooms.
For a Rana palace, this establishment is not colossal. And neither are the rooms. There are five classes of suites: the Heritage Deluxe (USD 150), Executive Suite (USD 175), Presidential Suite (USD 200), Royal Suite (USD 225), and Self-catering Apartments (USD 250 for single, USD 350 for double). No two suites are similar in terms of layout; but all do come with a complete entertainment setup featuring a huge flat screen, plush furniture, soft carpeted-flooring, fancy washrooms and air-conditioning. And, of course, they all come with a fully stocked minibar and a mini-fridge.
The hotel’s located in Baluwatar, a high-class real estate enclave in Kathmandu; and it has been built inside a pretty large compound that includes an attractive fountain near the front door. There is ample parking space, and the garden doubles as a comfortable common dining area for the hotel’s restaurant, bar and cafe. The hotel is set quite a ways away from the main road and thus not much of the cacophony generated by traffic filters into the rooms.
Emphasis on design
The design of every element in the hotel is informed by the regal motif: the reception, the lobbies, the hallways and the individual suites; and the walls are adorned with large portraits of historical figures associated with this former palace. The portraits feature former kings of Nepal and historically significant places in Kathmandu; and some also provide brief information on the history of the place. Placed strategically in the hotel are also Boston-made gramophones and old-fashioned American street phones: on walls, shelves, on corner tables and even inside the rooms. The furniture features soft aged white leather, chamfered edges, golden rims, soft white seats and fluffy cushions. Every hallway and lobby has a large flat-screen. Just about everything inside the Royal Empire screams upscale.
All boutique hotels are extraordinary when it comes to their service. Royal Empire is no exception. The whole establishment is netted with fast Wi-Fi, with the suites having their own complimentary private networks. There is also a small playing area for kids. The room service is prompt, and the staff are soft-spoken and prompt. You may dine in the restaurant, share a drink at the bar or converse at the cafe. The main restaurant can accommodate around 200 guests, so the place is ideal for hosting weddings and anniversaries (it even has a bridal suite). The hotel also offers other amenities like a spa and wellness services, hot tubs and saunas. You can book your stay directly via their website or use other trusted third parties. The airport shuttle is available, as are car and bike rentals. And if you ask the 24-hour front desk staff, you’ll find a billiard table in one of the suites on the ground floor.
The hotel’s restaurant is called the Crown, and it offers an à la carte menu, except on special occasions like parties and seminars, when it provides buffets. The servers offer hot towels to every guest when they first arrive at the dining area. A well-trained team of chefs and assistant cooks, led by Executive Chef Gopal Maharjan (who has over 18 years of multi-cuisine, fine-dining experience in establishments in Hong Kong, Turkey, Cyprus and India), cook a gamut of dishes ranging from Indian and Nepali to Chinese and Italian. The restaurant menu offers some unique dishes that you won’t find anywhere else, like the Jack Daniels Wings over Jack Daniels Burger, which is basically chicken wings pan-seared with barbecue sauce and a burger with quarter-inch juicy meat patties inside big sesame buns; the meaty Star Pizza, which is a whole new take on pizzas with a cleverly designed crust; and the Thread Prawn, which is deep-fried prawn, sweet and tender, somehow battered with crispy noodles.
The bar is manned by three bartenders: Abhay CK, with nine years under his belt manning bars, and Rajesh Magar and Prem Dura, with two years each to their credit. They mix signature Royal Empire concoctions alongside the regular cocktails and mocktails. Try their Royal B/W, which is a dessert cocktail featuring a mix of Irish cream, Baileys, fresh cream, vodka and coffee liqueur, topped with Oreos and presented with the hotel’s signature dark chocolate. Their Royal Mango Chilli may not contain any alcohol, but it sure packs a punch.
Created to meet the needs of high-end clientele
Of course, the rooms in such a hotel do not come cheap, but the rates are not as high as what some of the other competitors and five-star hotels have been charging. Considering the quality of service and the plethora of amenities, the prices are pretty fair, and there are some opening discounts on all services. The hotel’s target group is obviously not the average populace. It seeks to cater to richer expats, diplomats, travelling celebrities and business executives who will not settle for anything but the best.
Royal Empire Boutique Hotel
Subarna Shamsher Marg
Tariff: USD 150 to USD 350 for a day stay, with opening discounts of USD 50
Open: 24 hours, seven days a week