Soaltee opened its doors to guests 50 years agoThe Soaltee Crowne Plaza celebrated its golden jubilee on Friday by announcing the launch of two new ventures outside Kathmandu. Nepal’s hospitality industry has suffered myriad problems in the long years since the landmark property threw open its doors in 1966.
The Soaltee Crowne Plaza celebrated its golden jubilee on Friday by announcing the launch of two new ventures outside Kathmandu. Nepal’s hospitality industry has suffered myriad problems in the long years since the landmark property threw open its doors in 1966.
“It’s our corporate culture that had a positive impact on the company’s growth,” said Prabhakar SJB Rana, chairman emeritus of the Soaltee Crowne Plaza, in an address to the celebration event.
“The first approach we took is the corporate culture. And we continue to maintain transparency. That’s why the Soaltee Hotel is one of the most transparent companies in Nepal,” he said. “After completing a half century of operations in Kathmandu, we are now moving outside the Capital.”
The Soaltee is expanding its portfolio with a four-star property in Nepalgunj, its first hotel outside Kathmandu. “And Pokhara will be our next venture,” said Rana.
The four-star property located in western Nepal’s commercial and travel hub is scheduled for a soft launch by mid-2017.
Costing Rs550 million, the new property will bear the brand name Soaltee and offer 81 guest rooms. The new property incorporates a separate unit for vocational training related to the hospitality business, spa facility, swimming pool and banquet facilities for 250 people. The Soaltee has had a very interesting journey. It was founded in 1966 by the late prince Himalaya Bikram Shah and the late princess Princep Rajya Laxmi. The 104-room posh property was inaugurated by the late king Mahendra.
In 1969, the hotel was converted into a private limited company and India’s Oberoi Hotels, with a capital share investment, was entrusted with its operational management under the brand name Hotel Soaltee Oberoi.
In 1975, the company was converted into a public limited company with an investment by Soaltee Enterprises, Nepal Industrial Development Corporation, International Finance Corporation, Oberoi Hotels, Nepal Airlines Corporation and the public. It constructed an additional 180 rooms named the Himalaya Wing Block in 1981.
In 1987, it hosted the delegates to the Third Saarc Summit. In 1994, it was renamed as the Soaltee Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza Kathmandu under the management of Holiday Inns China Limited, a fully-owned subsidiary of the world famous InterContinental Group.
Again in 1998, it was rebranded as the Soaltee Crowne Plaza Kathmandu. In 2011, Oberoi Hotels sold its entire stake in the hotel to a Nepali company Sibkrim Land and Industrial Company, a member of the NE Group.
“The Kathmandu Valley is on course to add 4,000 hotel rooms by 2020, with a number of five- and four-star properties currently under construction,” said Amar Man Shakya, president of Hotel Association Nepal.
“A number of popular global hotel brands are entering the Nepali market and this reflects a bright side in the hospitality sector.”
He, however, said that the industry faced a huge challenge increasing tourist numbers.
“Obviously, we need to focus on the Chinese and Indian markets to boost arrivals.”