Shanker Hotel, Kathmandu. Our Digs
I don’t very often do blogs about our digs but this is a special one as Bear chose it (not a common thing) and the Hotel Shanker was built as a palace. So straight from the booklet in our room comes the following story:
A living reminder of the majestic art and neoclassical architecture of the Rana rule (1846 – 1953).
The Hotel. Hotel Shanker is a heritage hotel, housed in a 19th century palace in the heart of Kathmandu. It was the regal residence of the rulers of Nepal from 1894 until 1964, when it was converted into a luxury hotel.
The facade was kept intact but the interiors were redesigned to give travellers the kind of comfort they’d expect of a world class hotel. The hotel is characterised by exquisite and authentic objects d’art. For example, the carved windows displayed in the lobby bar are over 200 years old.
Agni Bhawan 1920
Background and history of the palace: At the turn of the 19th century, Gen. Jit Shumsher Rana, brother of HH Sri Tin Maharaja Bhir Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana, hired architect Kumar Narsingh Rana to build the most elegant palace in Kathmandu. Most items used in the interiors such as gilt mirrors, velvet, marble and sunburst chandeliers were imported from Europe. The exteriors were fashioned in neo-classical style. The construction was completed in 1894 A.D.
Gen. Jit Shumsher died in 1913, and this palace eventually came into the possession of Gen. Maharajkumar Agni Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana - the son of HH Sri Tin Maharaja Juddha Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana, one of the most distinguished of the powerful Rana Maharajas. Agni Shumsher's grand-daughters - HM Queen Aishwarya, HM Queen Komal and HH Princess Prekshya, were born in the palace – which was known as “Agni Bhawan” until 1964, the year in which this magnificent building was converted into a hotel.
Mr Ram Shanker. From the booklet and the picture of him hanging in the lobby.
Our Founder’s Legacy: In 1964 A.D., Late Mr. Ram Shanker Shrestha bought this palace and converted it into the hotel, commencing operations with 23 rooms. His ingenious concept of maintaining the old age beauty and merging it with modern comforts is the existence of Hotel Shanker, Kathmandu.
Today, the hotel maintains and cherishes its position as a grand beauty of unmistakable class. He posthumously received the Order of the Gorkha Dakshina Bahu, an order of knighthood of Nepal. It is one of the highest honours given for the distinguished contribution to the country traditionally by the King and now the President.
Hotel Shanker in 1972.
Ours is a uniqueness carefully nurtured through three generations. A uniqueness maintained by not bending with the times or compromising on our basic identity.
The Lobby: We have the kind the kind of ambience that will make you feel at home even though you will stay in a former palace. This is the uniqueness of Hotel Shanker.
Standard Rooms: Accommodation: Open the doors to any of our rooms and you will be impressed with our comfortable and cosy yet classic furnishings that evoke an air of ‘Old World Elegance’ only found in a few ‘great’ hotels around the world.
Seize the opportunity to relive a bygone era of Nepal’s history at a price you cannot beat. Get the royal treatment that you have deserved in an authentic heritage hotel in Kathmandu.
Now and again I ask Bear to chose where he fancies staying. It’s not because he can’t do it – far from it. The simple fact is travel planning is a pink job, quite time consuming and he has enough on his plate with a very long blue list to get Beez as perfect as possible to take on the Indian Ocean and beyond. When he chose the Shanker, as I do with all hotels before booking, I search Trip Advisor and read the top three comments and the bottom three. I have to say I nearly rejected Bear’s choice when I read:-
There is no way this hotel is even close to 4-star. I stayed 2 nights - woke after the first night covered in bed bug bites even saw a bug crawling across the sheets and managed to kill it. Was offered another room and on inspection there was blood on the sheets and signs it was also infested. Offered a third room and whilst I did not see anything obvious awoke the next day with more bites. So of the 3 rooms I saw all had bed bugs. I am now faced with the arduous task of ensuring I don't transfer them into my house. Hotel Shanker whilst apologetic offered no form of compensation. Certainly not a 4 star hotel. But, in fairness, this comment came from a few years ago. Needless to say the first thing I did after our door closed was to strip the bed to the mattress and look very carefully in the creases for creatures. None found, I breathed a sigh of relief. The property is indeed unique, a quiet refuge save for the birds chirping and the staff are attentive. (one chap at breakfast is a little bit tooooooo helpful). It is true to say there is a slightly musty odour in the bathroom and the bath is stained. If you lick a tissue and wipe anywhere on the floor it’s clear the mop is not up to much. Other than that the food is good, a great selection at breakfast and an inexpensive a la carte menu (the same for room service). Would we come here again, Yes, but I have already booked a different spot closer to one of the Durbar Squares on our return at the end of our month here in Nepal. Back to the blog.
Cosy Kailash and winter breakfast buffet
We have the friendliest environment among major hotels here, notwithstanding our regal nature and four star rating. Traditional woodcraft is an integral part of the Cosy Kailash where besides the welcoming environment, you can expect delectable cuisine.
One Eyed and Durbar Halls.
Where we eat our breakfast – served until ten.
Fruits from the hotel’s website. Now our pictures from bimbling about.
Where I go to stand to test the temperature outside.
Bear looked in a cupboard and found a couple of original pillars.
Bear enjoyed our candle’s progress at dinner the first night.
Our corridor and heavy woodwork.
ALL IN ALL OLD WORLD CHARM
VERY PLUSH AND VERY LOVELY