I recently stayed at Radisson Hotel Kathmandu and prior to my stay I was rather excited about my stay particularly for two reasons. First the hotel is not far from a tourist hub. Second, since this is a category two Carlson property, booking only costs 15k in points. But when everything was set and done I realized that not everything was as golden as it seemed.
The hotel is located in Lazimpat which is a rather enjoyable part of Kathmandu. Thamel, probably the most popular tourist hub in Kathmandu, is walking distance from Lazimpat. Some parks and palaces like Ratna Park, Garden of Dreams, Rani Pokhari, and Narayanhithi Darwar are also nearby but they’re more of an attraction for Nepalese folks than for tourists. Additionally, there are fair amount of credit card accepting stores, restaurant, and bar and near the hotel. Last but not least, there are plenty of shops nearby that will sell you souvenirs.
First impression on arrival at the lobby
Before going to the hotel, I had called and asked asked for an upgrade. Now, when I got to the hotel lobby, the attendant told me that since I was Gold Elite, I had been upgraded to the newer building. When I inquired I was told the newer building has been around for about 4 years while the main one has been around for 16.
At check-in of the new building, the manager ordered a glass of juice for us and it arrived as we were proceeding with check-in. Additionally, the manager looked for any Gold Elite benefits he was missing to which I reminded “a welcome gift”. Soon after, he gave me a voucher of free breakfast to be used next morning. We were also handed in two free 15-minute spa session voucher but I suspect those are standard handout for all guests.
First impression of the room
The absolute first thing I noticed was that the door didn’t need the card to be swiped, instead it was sensor based. Other than that it was your typical standard room. The entire bathroom was see through, although we did have an option to lower shades inside the bathroom and make it not so see through.
Next, I went to the window and as expected I found the view to be rather lackluster. I could see the main Radission building and that was about it. Now, I have a hard time imagining that other rooms in the hotel have a much better view.
Then I saw what I absolutely hate – priced junk food out in open. Seriously, are you that desperate to make a few bucks? Can you not put them inside a drawer or something so I’m not tempted to eat them every now and then. Oh and as expected prices are outrageous. For instance the bag of potato chips is 3 times more expensive (without service tax and VAT) than regular everyday shops.
How was the breakfast?
Now, granted we did enjoy free breakfast, I was not all that impressed with the cooking. The noodle of chowmin felt a little too aged. The “bara” (sometimes known as “batuk” or “phurawala”) was not cooked well inside to a point I avoided consuming it all together. I’m sure some of you are not familiar with above mentioned dishes so let me just say this – those two dishes are rather common food in Nepal and as such one would think a 4-star hotel would never ever mess both of those items but they somehow managed to do just that.
Radission has rooftop restaurant called Terrace Garden and it might as well be the best view in the hotel. We chose not to dine there pretty much because we can find wide variety of better cooked and cheaper food in nearby shops and restaurants. Nevertheless, we did go to the Garden couple of hours before it opened and snapped some pictures.
Is the booking cost worth it?
This hotel generally seems to go for $90-120 per night. I will just flat out say that I will never pay that amount for this hotel. It just isn’t worth it. You can add few more bucks and book far superior Hyatt or IHG hotel. Alternatively, you can book pretty decent hotels in Lazimpat for around half the price. That said, I do think the hotel is worth it for 15k points.
Is it worth MS’ing for this hotel?
It depends. If you can MS at 1% then with AF Carlson card it would cost you $30 to generate 15k points. Essentially, you would be paying $30 for a night which is a pretty good deal for a branded hotel. But do keep in mind that you can generally book cheaper non-branded hotels in Nepal for around the same quality.
The hotel flat out pales in comparison to Hyatt Regency Kathmandu. I wasn’t all that impressed by the structure and design and I must remind you that I stayed at the newer building. My room’s washroom was a little messy in a sense that the water flow was away from shower so sometimes when I was a little careless water accidentally spilled over rest of the bathroom. That said I would pick this hotel over Hyatt 9/10 times pretty much because of its location. I also think point (not $) booking is the only good redemption for this hotel.
4/15/2017 UPDATE: 2nd and 3rd stay
When I inquired about “welcome gift” for gold members on my 2nd stay I was told that fruit basket was the welcome gift for everyone now. I think the receptionist was just trying to not hand out a freebie but nevertheless I thought this incident was worth sharing.
On my 3rd stay Radisson staff had gone out of their way to accommodate me on a rather short notice even though the hotel was showing full online. The result was that I had to stay at the (old) main building. This time around there was no welcome gift nor a fruit basket and I didn’t bother to nag them.
Because the staff accommodated me on a short notice, I was only able to get a twin bed room.
I thought the old hotel would be vastly be inferior to the new one but boy was I wrong. The main building itself had a lot of things going on. Even though I did not have much time to explore the building I still noticed that souvenir shops existed within the building and it also had seemed to have really nice dining room/hall with an artificial waterfall. Additionally the washroom of my room didn’t need a curtain to block everything being seen from the bedroom. Last but not least this washroom had a bathtub.