Located on the hilly fringes of Pokhara valley, Raniban Retreat promises enchanting mountain vistas, exquisite fares, and an enriching experience.
A twenty-minute drive from Pokhara city’s airport and bus station, this resort is located on top of the Raniban Hill on the outskirts of the Pokhara Valley. As its name states, Raniban, or the Queen’s wood is a lush green hillock overlooking Pokhara valley, the riverine plains of the Seti Gandaki (White River), the dotted villages, and providing a magnificent panorama of the pristine snowscape of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges.
After climbing a flight of stony stairs, we reached the gates of the Raniban Retreat all exhausted. We were greeted by the friendly staff with wet towels and fresh fruit juice, and were told that an accessible road will been connecting the resort in a month’s time, and that would make it a lot easier to commute. Although frustrated after our long climb, all was forgiven once we got a glimpse of the enrapturing mountain view. The snowclad mountains stood lofty and formidable, and so close, it could captivate just anyone. It’s where we can agree to why Raniban Retreat prides itself as the “The hotel with the best view in Pokhara”—the view was just spellbinding.
The verandas are filled with hung wicker baskets, traditional ornamental lamps, birdhouses, and even stacks of hay barrels to give a very rustic outlook. The courtyards are filled with bright yellow marigolds in the backdrop of grassy green lawns.
The resort offers its guests with a choice of three rooms, namely: Sunrise rooms, Mountain View rooms, and Deluxe rooms. The exterior of all three annexes are a very simple— wooden thatched hut with verandas overlooking the Pokhara valley and the mountains. Raniban will also be extending with Sunset rooms in the coming year. The rooms’ interiors are aesthetically pleasing; traditional, but with a pinch of contemporary. Accessorised with Nepali rugs, paintings, and dim lights, the rooms have a snug and cozy vibe to it. The minibar is replaced by a variety of fresh locally grown fruits. Mornings in the Sunrise rooms give enchanting views of the sun rising above the World Peace Stupa, and the dunes beyond.
The restaurant on the other hand is entirely the opposite—very chic, but with a reflection of traditional Nepali work by adding paintings of the various ethnicities, ghantis (small brass bells), kalas’ (small brass vases), wicker baskets, and traditional Nepali musical instruments. The bar showcases an array of fancy drinks, and the bartenders will readily shake up some exotic cocktails for you. Raniban’s multi cuisine eatery offers a range of delicacies, concocted by amiable chefs that are sure to cater to your appetite. It is recommended that you give your orders at least forty-five minutes earlier, as Raniban uses only locally grown organic products while preparing the dishes, and that could take time.
Relaxing and praising the beguiling mountain vista doesn't have to be only thing you need to do while you’re at Raniban. The majestic World Peace Stupa is a ten-minute walk from the place, and the view tower is a twenty-minute hike. Being in close proximity with Pokhara city, the staff will gladly arrange a cab to take you down to the city.
Raniban Retreat has opted a sustainable model in its functioning which many other hotels could learn from. The resort is completely powered by solar energy, and uses only organic produce brought from nearby farms. Along with promoting sustainability, the resort also aims in creating social awareness among the nearby villages by hosting numerous health campaigns and cultural programs.
Raniban has even more plans in the coming years. Its Sunset rooms once completed, is sure to provide breathtaking sunset views in the evening. The retreat also aims in the establishment of a swimming pool, and even yoga and meditation classes in the near future.
Take some time off to simply contemplate, blend with nature and repose. A visit to this peaceful refuge is an escape from your hectic lives, and whether it’s with friends, family, or by yourself, choosing Raniban as your next vacation venue for your trips to Pokhara is a great change from
the usual lakeside leisure. For people wanting to destress in solitude, this sanctum not only gives you the time to ponder, but also exalts your mind, body and soul with its positive vibrancy.
Text: Shravya Karki
Photo /Video: Sijal Bajracharya