Number of five-star hotels in Nepal reaches 12The Soaltee Westend Premier, Nepalgunj and the Swiss International Hotel Sarowar, Pokhara have been awarded five and four stars respectively, bringing the number of hotels in the two categories to 12 and eight. According to Rajesh Kumar Lamsal, a Tourism Department official, the two hotels were awarded the star rating after assessing all the required criteria.
The Soaltee Westend Premier, Nepalgunj and the Swiss International Hotel Sarowar, Pokhara have been awarded five and four stars respectively, bringing the number of hotels in the two categories to 12 and eight. According to Rajesh Kumar Lamsal, a Tourism Department official, the two hotels were awarded the star rating after assessing all the required criteria.
The department has completed an evaluation of the Hotel Central Plaza, Nepalgunj which has applied for a five-star rating. “A decision whether the Hotel Central Plaza should be granted five stars will be made soon,” said Lamsal, indicating that the property may get the prestigious rating soon.
Lamsal said hotels were proliferating in Nepalgunj due to the flood of Manasarovar-bound pilgrims in the city. This trade and industrial hub in southwestern Nepal is a convenient jumping-off point for Indian tourists making the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra in Tibet, China. More than 15,000 Indian pilgrims visit the sacred place over the Nepalgunj-Simikot-Hilsa route annually. The season for the holy journey normally begins in May and lasts till September.
Hotel Diyalo, Birgunj, which threw open its doors on Wednesday, has applied for a four-star rating, he said. According to industry insiders, three five-star hotels—Chhaya Centre, Thamel; Marriott Kathmandu, Naxal and Hotel Pawan Palace, Lumbini—are set to open by June.
They said that with the entry of these four new five-star hotels, the country will have 16 five-star hotels. Among them, the Fulbari Resort and Spa, Pokhara has closed while the Everest Hotel, Baneshwor, which closed following the 2015 earthquake, will reopen after retrofitting.
In 2017, the Tourism Department awarded a five-star rating to the Tiger Palace Resort at Kotihawa, Bhairahawa. The 100-room property, which is the first integrated five-star casino resort in South Asia, was developed by Australian-listed Silver Heritage Group.
There were only two four-star hotels in the Kathmandu Valley until two years ago—Hotel Himalaya and Hotel Shanker. The new entrants to the four-star club are Swiss International Hotel Sarowar in Pokhara, the Hotel Siddhartha View and Cygnett Inn Krishna Hotel in Nepalgunj, Hotel Opera in Mahendranagar, Hotel Ichchha in Simara, and Hotel Mystic Mountain in Nagarkot. The Soaltee Westend Premier, formerly Soaltee Sibkrim Hotels and Resorts, in Nepalgunj, had initially applied for a four-star rating, but it reapplied for a five-star rating after the government relaxed requirements for the construction of star hotels outside the Kathmandu Valley in a bid to spread out tourism.
As per the new provision, a five-star hotel can be opened outside the Valley with 80 rooms. Earlier, the minimum number of rooms required was 100. Four-star hotels in the Kathmandu Valley are required to have at least 80 rooms, each 230 square feet in size and with an attached bathroom. Moreover, 10 percent of the rooms should be suites, and the lobby should have a capacity to accommodate 40 guests. Four-star properties should also be equipped with air-conditioning and CCTV, and feature a conference hall, swimming pool, health club, fitness centre, sauna bath, sports facilities and coffee shop. As per the new rules, four-star hotels outside the Kathmandu Valley are required to have at least 60 rooms.
The government has allowed hotels and resorts to import furniture, carpet, kitchen equipment and other industry-specific items during the construction and operation phase by paying the minimum 5 percent customs duty. The Tourism Department will recommend to the Customs Department to provide the privilege after the hotels and resorts apply for it.