Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Temple Tree Resort and Spa and Other Hotels in Pokhara

Over time, we think we have learned a thing or two about hotels in Pokhara. After all, during each of our visits we have stayed at a different place. Pokhara offers a full range of accommodations, from the very cheap to the very pricey. While we are usually completely satisfied with hotels that are neat and clean but low on frills, this time around we wanted to stay somewhere a little nicer.

Our research first led us to the resort stand-bys: Hotel Shangri-La, Fulbari Resort and Spa, and Tiger Mountain Pokhara. We quickly nixed the first two because of generally poor reviews that suggest these two hotels really show their age. We also decided against Tiger Mountain, which gets excellent reviews but is very expensive. Moreover, all three are located a significant distance from Pokhara's lakeside, and we wanted to be within walking distance from cafes and restaurants.

Enter Temple Tree Resort and Spa.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug


This brand new hotel seemed to answer our prayers. It opened in March of 2011, so there could be no complaints about aging amenities, and its location is ideal, less than a five minute walk off the lakeside strip. We also named our price and paid less than the $80 (plus taxes) resident rate we were quoted over the phone (though this good fortune may have been due to our December visit -- such a steal is probably not possible during the high seasons of spring and fall).

So did Temple Tree deliver? Well, frankly, we didn't want to leave.

The grounds are lovely.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug


The rooms are comfortable.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug


Standard rooms include a flat screen TV, a heating/cooling unit (!), and a private balcony.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug


There are charming touches.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug


And the stone bathroom felt downright luxurious.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug


We ate breakfast every morning on the patio. The food was not notable, but it was not bad either. Temple Tree offers a fresh egg station, standard western favorites like french toast, pancakes, and breakfast meats, South Asian staples like chapati and curried potatoes, and cold cereals, fresh fruit, coffee, and tea.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug


Finally, the service and staff were excellent.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug


Temple Tree provides 24-hour power, which may seem standard to many readers but is definitely not the norm in power-starved Nepal, where 16-hour power outages are not unheard of. This made the built-in heater, which worked at all hours of the day, even more impressive. Hot water was available from 5 to 10 in the mornings and evenings. Again, this may sound appalling to many readers outside of Nepal, but here in Nepal during winter, this schedule is about as good as it gets.

Free wi-fi is another uncommon and appreciated amenity that Temple Tree provided. We found the service faster and more reliable than most others in Nepal and even used it for crystal-clear Skype calls. Flawless, complimentary wi-fi -- American hotels, are you listening?

We hear that the Temple Tree brand exists as a chain in other parts of Asia. While this location is unaffiliated with that chain, our satisfaction was not at all diminished. Those who are familiar with the chain, however, should expect some differences. We highly recommend Temple Tree if you're searching for a hotel that goes above and beyond the standard guesthouse offerings.

We also have suggestions, though, for Pokhara accommodations that hit two other price points.

For a solid mid-range option, we recommend Trek-O-Tel. We stayed there after we completed the Annapurna Circuit Trek, and we thought that it was really nice. We would have been happy to return to Trek-O-Tel again, especially for the rate they offered us of about $50, including taxes and breakfast, but we opted for Temple Tree to try something new.

For a great budget option, we suggest Hotel Peace Plaza, located on the northern end of lakeside. A single room with an attached bath ran about $10 a night (after bargaining). Rooms at Hotel Peace Plaza are spartan but clean and bright.


No comments: