Dorje Lama: Nepal's Hospitality Pioneer

7, Aug 2023 |

The dedication to excellence and the continuous pursuit of perfection is what set them apart in the hospitality landscape, leaving a lasting impression on each and every guest who walks through the doors

Dorje Lama, the Managing Director of Dusit Princess Kathmandu, brings with him over two decades of valuable experience in the hospitality industry. Having successfully established two other hotels, Hotel Tibet and Hotel Tibet International, he has played a significant role in the construction and manufacturing aspects of the business. With the recent opening of Dusit Princess, he has shifted his focus to the daily operational aspects, determined to make it the number-one hotel in Kathmandu.

Can you tell us about your background and experience in the hospitality industry?

Over the past 25 years, I have been deeply involved in the thriving hospitality industry. My journey began with the establishment of Hotel Tibet, a remarkable venture that has now been delighting guests for three decades. Following its success, we extended our hospitality endeavors by introducing Hotel Tibet International in the enchanting area of Boudha, which has been warmly welcoming guests for the past 15 years.

While my background primarily revolved around the behind-the-scenes aspects, particularly in construction, our family enterprise has an even broader scope. We are proud owners of a flourishing carpet business, well-known as Shangrila Carpet and Handicrafts, with a legacy spanning 30 years. Our commitment to excellence has earned us a reputation for exporting top-quality carpets from Nepal.

With the establishment of Dusit Princess Kathmandu, our third property, I embraced a more hands-on role, delving into the operational aspects and collaborating closely with the esteemed Dusit brand. As we continue to grow and evolve, we remain steadfast in our mission to elevate Nepal's hospitality and craft industries, contributing to the growth and development of our nation on the global stage.


What are your challenges as the Managing Director of Dusit Princess Kathmandu?

As of now, I primarily focus on the construction aspect of our business, while the operational side of the hotels faces its own set of challenges. The hospitality industry, in general, has been grappling with shortages of skilled manpower, liquidity crises, and difficulties in securing sufficient funding from banks. These obstacles have posed considerable hurdles for our operations.

In the year 2023, a new five-star hotel brand is set to complete its establishment, which adds to the already competitive landscape and further intensifies the challenges within the industry.

Despite the various hurdles, we remain optimistic and look forward to a more positive season for the hospitality sector. We believe that with strategic planning, dedicated efforts, and the reputation we have built over the years, we can overcome these challenges and continue to thrive in the ever-evolving hospitality landscape. Our commitment to delivering exceptional guest experiences and upholding the highest standards in construction and operational excellence will be instrumental in navigating the path ahead. 

What are your future plans and vision for the hotel?

Ten to fifteen years ago, we had the foresight to acquire substantial land holdings in various picturesque locations such as Pokhara, Lumbini, Nagarkot, and Chitwan. These carefully selected plots have been reserved for future developments as part of our expansion plans.

With the completion of the current property, I envision that within the next year or year and a half, we will be well-prepared to embark on the exciting journey of constructing another exceptional hotel, this time in the enchanting city of Pokhara. By strategically leveraging these prime locations, we aim to further elevate the hospitality industry in Nepal while creating unforgettable destinations for travellers from around the world. Our commitment to excellence and attention to detail will undoubtedly shine through in every aspect of this new endeavor.


What sets your hotel apart?

The reason behind our partnership with Dusit lies in our understanding that creating a successful hotel goes beyond simply constructing a building. It's about infusing the property with a brand that epitomizes excellence in hospitality. For the past 25 years, I have travelled to Thailand with my family for regular check-ups, and during these visits, I have been consistently amazed by the exceptional Thai hospitality.

While we Nepalese also possess a strong tradition of hospitality, we recognize that the Thai approach is truly exceptional. Hence, our vision was to blend the best of both worlds—the warm and welcoming Nepalese hospitality with the unparalleled grace and finesse of Thai service. This fusion is at the core of our partnership with Dusit.

Acquiring the brand name alone was not enough; we understood the need for comprehensive training, learning, and development. Through the brand's training, we have been taught how to communicate effectively, and we have gained valuable insights that set us apart in the services we provide.

Moreover, our hotel is not just a mere structure; it embodies a captivating story and a meaningful essence that distinguishes it from other hotels. Every aspect of the building has been thoughtfully designed to evoke a sense of wonder and connection for our guests.

Our collaboration with Dusit represents a harmonious blend of cultures and a commitment to delivering an unforgettable experience. We are confident that you will witness and feel the difference when you stay with us. Our dedication to excellence and the continuous pursuit of perfection are what set us apart in the hospitality landscape, leaving a lasting impression on each and every guest who walks through our doors.


What is the current state of Nepal's hospitality industry, and what opportunities and challenges lie ahead for the upcoming season?

As we eagerly anticipate the upcoming season, we firmly believe that the timing of our hotel's opening couldn't have been more perfect—just a few months before the peak period. We recognize that launching the hotel is only the beginning; delivering exceptional services is equally crucial. Therefore, we have dedicated ourselves to extensive training to ensure our team is equipped to provide the best experiences for our guests.

We are optimistic about the positive outcomes that lie ahead. The overwhelming response we have received thus far, with numerous queries from travel agencies and guests planning their visits for next year (2024), fills us with excitement and motivation.

During these next six months, we are determined to infuse our efforts with positivity, and we are proactively reaching out to the media to spread the word about our unique offerings. Our property boasts 108 rooms, but our focus extends well beyond that; we are committed to generating 50% of our revenue from our exceptional Food and Beverage outlets.

One of our highlights is the Thai specialty restaurant, where guests can savor authentic Thai cuisine. To ensure an unparalleled culinary experience, we have a Thai chef specially flown in from Thailand, and all our ingredients are imported directly from there. Additionally, Dusit Gourmet, our exquisite bakery, delights guests with a wide range of freshly baked items.

Our rooftop pool and bar offer a breathtaking ambiance that transports guests to the vibrant settings of Hong Kong or Singapore, even as they are in Nepal. We are determined to extend our top-notch services to local clients, creating a welcoming space for them to enjoy.

As we move forward, we are driven by the goal of making 50% of our revenue from these remarkable outlets, embodying our dedication to providing exceptional experiences to all our guests, whether they are from near or far. We are committed to continuously raising the bar and establishing ourselves as a prime destination for unforgettable stays and culinary delights.

Any other issues you would like to speak on

Nepal's hospitality industry faces significant challenges, notably due to a lack of government support and a burdening 2% luxury tax. Despite being a major contributor to the economy and a source of employment, the industry struggles with the scarcity of dollars and restrictions on luxury items, impacting businesses heavily reliant on foreign currency.

To encourage growth and attract entrepreneurs to invest in hotels, the government should offer incentives, fostering a positive environment for local talent to contribute to the country's development. Retaining skilled professionals is also a challenge, as many seek opportunities abroad, leaving Nepal's hospitality sector striving to create local employment prospects.

Despite the COVID pandemic, optimism remains for industry revival. The goal is to provide rewarding careers, especially for the youth, encouraging them to gain experience in Nepal before seeking opportunities overseas. Cooperation between the government and the hospitality sector can pave the way for a promising future, benefiting both industry and the nation.

Photos by: Sankalpa Nakarmi

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