A boutique hotel where archaic Nepali traditions meet classy modern comfort
A brick-red building stands tall and proud amongst smaller glass and cemented ones, and it is built differently - the architecture is more conventional like those of the pre-modern Newari structures. The site is certainly hard to miss in Kamalpokhari.
Established in 2016, Traditional Comfort is a hotel relatively small in size and a little less known compared to other boutique hotels but it is certainly gathering fame in both the national and international market due to its aesthetically time-honoured design and amazingly brisk service. The interiors and exteriors of the hotel are something you rarely see outside the local and predominantly Newari areas in the valley. You can see the wood carvings that have been painstakingly handcrafted by workers from Patan, all throughout the building; the Aankhi Jhya: (window), pillars, beams that have images of deities carved into them are an example of excellent craftsmanship and an attention to detail. Little bits and pieces of handy work like stone carvings that carry holy scriptures will also be visible all over the place, and you will be quick to notice the hand-painted murals on the wooden pillars and walls.
But before you enter and marvel at the anatomy of the building, you are greeted at the entrance by the warm and welcoming staff with a Khada, eager to serve you. And once you are inside, then you can see the true elegance and beauty of what a traditional Newari house would look like. The lobby is bustling with other guests, the restaurant just behind the sitting area. The common area on the first floor is very peaceful with cosy couches, computers and a bookshelf with informative magazines and books that resemble a nest-like structure.
The Residence Manager, Ajit Basnet, said, “Our goal is to keep up with the name of the hotel -- traditional meets comfort. And you can see that in our structure pretty clearly. Not only this, but we make sure that we are eco-friendly. Being in the hotelier industry, waste management is a pretty big issue that has to be acknowledged at the beginning itself, and at Traditional Comfort, we try our best to minimise our use of plastic, utilise solar energy, all the while promoting local Nepali products and craftsmen.”
And he remains true to his words; there are 36 rooms in the pagoda style inspired hotel that range from standard to deluxe but these days, all of their rooms have upgraded to a deluxe. Approximately 215 sq ft in sizes, the rooms are spacious and have a homey feeling with their neutral two coloured tones on three walls with the fourth one being brick-lined towards the window side. During a certain time of day, when sunlight passes through the intricately carved trellises, almost perfect geometrical patterns appear on the floor and wall opposite to the window. And if that isn’t enough to take your breath away, the furnishings, paintings depicting Nepal and Nepali life, bedding and other facilities certainly will. The rooms offer you basic amenities like television, Wifi, safe, mini bar, air conditioning and water. But not just any water, they offer water which they have filtered by themselves in reusable glass bottles and ask guests to drink that rather than the mineral water that comes in plastic bottles which they sell downstairs.
But what is notable is their commitment to promote and conserve. The bed linens are hand-made and hand-printed using customary block and fabric-painting techniques and are bought from local shops and producers from around town. The bed itself is a recycled feat as it is made from small pieces of scrap wood, sanded down and polished to create the most comfortable centrepieces of the room.
The bright LED lights in the hotel are all powered by the solar panels on their rooftop and the hot water in the bathroom is also significantly heated via solar energy along with electricity. Now talking about the bathrooms, they are certainly distinguished. The natural stones that almost illuminate under the lighting and the beautifully coloured tiles with Mithila art-like imagery isn’t comparable to anything else that you will see in other hotel bathrooms. The overhead showers are well maintained and there is no installation of bathtubs in order to reduce water wastage - the hotel is serious about developing sustainable tourism whilst preserving Nepal’s resources.
The rooftop is spacious and on a clear day during sunrise, gives you the scenic view of Nagarkot, Swayambhunath and other mountains. You’ll clearly see the pagoda influence once you get there and notice their wooden gazebos that are also handmade, a barbecue grill and gargantuan customised heaters.
You can enjoy your meals either on their roof, the restaurant or order in room service as well. Their restaurant is certainly extravagant with complimentary drinks served to the guests upon arrival and different types of cuisines made available as per the taste of the guest. The Moroccan Chicken Salad is a great appetiser that is essentially Moroccan with Nepali roots. Shredded cabbage, diced tomatoes and grilled chicken covered in herbs with a drizzle of lemony vinaigrette to give it that hit of brightness, the salad is filling and fresh.
Their next dish, the carbonara, is buttery and creamy and meaty- perfection for pasta lovers. Garnished with green herbs and an egg yolk on top that just adds to the richness and flavour, you are presented al dente noodles with a velvety alfredo sauce and a lot, I mean, a lot of cheese and bacon. But if you want to eat Nepali, surely, you should go for their Traditional Comfort Platter- an assortment of a standard Nepali Thali paired with snacks. You are offered a copper plate filled with starters: Papad, chicken and cottage cheese skewers, mutton tikkis, Sadheko peanuts, Mushroom Choila, Mint and peanut chutney. And in the middle of the plate are three bowls that contain the main course: rice, Aalu Tama, and Momo and the 4th bowl contains Gajar ko Haluwa, a dessert. This is their best selling dish and it is clear why; every element in it has its own unique flavour that somehow go very well together as a whole.
Traditional Comfort is a hidden gem among boutique hotels inside Kathmandu. And it is highly recommended that you consider staying at this hotel during your visit if you truly want to enjoy an authentic experience. With major shopping centres and tourists hubs close by like Thamel and Durbar Marg along with a spa and gym at a walking distance, you will have access to whatever you want to make your stay smooth and unforgettable. And what better way to create fond memories than relaxing at a hotel with people who genuinely care about the quality of your experience, their service, and the environment!
Text: Reeya Pradhan