I recently made two separate stays at Crown Plaza Kathmandu also known as “Soaltee” ( literally means sister’s husband’s brother) hotel. The first one was on occasion of Christmas 2016 and the second was on new year eve 2017. Overall I spend 6 days on Soaltee.
At the moment there are three major international chains with loyalty program in Nepal namely Hyatt, Club Carlson, and IHG. All three of them have a property in Kathmandu and I’ve recently visited and reviewed Hyatt Regency Kathmandu as well as Raddison Kathmandu. Even before I booked Soaltee I expected my experience to be somewhere in between of Hyatt and Raddison and after spending 6 days at Soaltee I can safely say that prediction was spot on.
Soaltee, one of the few 5 star hotels in Nepal Soaltee, is a 12 acre property located in Kalimati – one of the residential neighborhood of Kathmandu. As such there isn’t anything too exciting happening nearby. The only major nearby attraction (in walking distance) is Swayambhunath stupa, which is about 30 minutes away on foot. Do note that Swayambhu lies on a hilltop so you’ll have to climb some stairs but once that is done you’ll be greeted by a world heritage and a decent view of the Kathmandu city. Oh and there are lots of monkeys up there so don’t bring any food out in open.
This hotel, alike Hyatt and Raddison in Kathmandu, costs $100-145 per night. However, since this is a category 3 hotel it costs a whooping 25,000 IHG points. I was able to book each night for 5,000 points each, all thanks to the pointbreaks program.
First impression on arrival
Alike Hyatt hotel, it takes a nice 5 or minute walk to get to the hotel from the main entrance. Once I got to the lobby the very first thing I noticed was that they’ve plenty of help desks and staffs to help you.
While checking in we were served with a glass of juice and soon after the receptionist started to go over the benefits of my status and whatnot. During both my stays I was upgraded without even asking for one.
The benefits of Platinum status
The most noteworthy benefit was the free breakfast. I was verbally told of this and could not find it anywhere in writing.
Now almost every morning we went for a breakfast, a staff member would come over, and put a paper on our table saying “platinum member”. It seemed like platinum was a pretty big status around here.
As for the breakfast itself, it was definitely better than that of Radisson but not as good as that of Hyatt. By the end of both my stays I was tired of eating more or less same breakfast every morning. It didn’t help that they had limited options when it came to vegetarian food.
First impression of the room
It was a pretty clean room that had everything I had come to expect from a 5 star hotel in Kathmandu. There isn’t much to say here so I’ll let some picture do the talking.
The view from my room from either of my stay wasn’t particularly exciting but it wasn’t all that bad either.
Now to my surprise the content of complimentary fruit basket was different on both my visits. This came as a surprise because this hotel barely bother to change things up for breakfast.
A day before Christmas (or maybe the day of Christmas…I can’t remember), hotel staff were delivering these little fellas to every room.
Then they had couple of Christmas trees by the lobby. Unfortunately those gifts are empty and the tree was never lit up. Nevertheless this was a pretty cool thing considering less than 1.5% of Nepalese population is Christian.
On the contrary the hotel property was lit up pretty good on New Year Eve.
The hotel had events going on during both Christmas and new year eve. Unfortunately we felt that the ticket pricing for these events were too costly (roughly $50-100) and passed on them.
Last but not least the hotel staff were pretty cool. I had mentioned in IHG website that we were there for an occasion (which I will not disclose here) and they were rather quick to pick up on that. Soon after checking into the room a call came by inquiring if we will be celebrating the occasion by dining downstairs. Then I was told that they were baking a cake for us and that it would be “on the house”.
Is the booking cost worth it?
I will flat out say that paying $100+ for a hotel in Nepal isn’t of my taste. That $100 can do a ton of things for me in Nepal. Additionally I think 25k points per night is too high of a fee for award booking in this hotel. I was fairly pleased with my 5k pointbreaks redemption.
If you’re looking for a resort like experience in Kathmandu in this price range and if for some reason you can’t book Hyatt then this is the hotel to go with. Otherwise, points booking is too costly and the location isn’t all that exciting (compared to say Lazimpat of Raddison). But this is not to say that this isn’t a good property – after all this is where some foreign head of states, including Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana, have stayed during their visit of Nepal.