ON THE INNOVATIVE RISE: ALOFT KATHMANDU
Unless you are someone who has not been to Thamel area for the last year or so, you may be familiar with a hotel there with a tall building, overlooking the entire city. Aloft Kathmandu resides over the Chaya Devi Complex in Thamel and since it started running, it has made quiet a name as prominent and innovative hotels in Kathmandu. Although, it does come with benefits of being established in the tourist hub of Kathmandu valley and no doubt the location is a key factor in the hotel’s popularity.
Aloft Kathmandu, which opened for business officially in July 2019, is a franchise chain of Aloft hotels under Marriott International. The hotel embodies a “different by design” philosophy which has created bold, open and vibrant environments that bring people together. This chain of innovative hotels is also branded as Marriott International’s music makers and music lovers. All these elements of an Aloft Hotel can be sheen highlighted in detail at the new Aloft Kathmandu and they have carried the Aloft name with a success.
First impression of Aloft Kathmandu is unmatched. When a hotel greets you with a pre-lobby and then the main lobby at the 6th floor you cannot help but feel a sense of grandeur. From the designs and interiors we can clearly see the resemblance of the abroad Aloft hotels as they have done a meticulous job of portraying the theme and core designs of the franchise.
Upon entering the hotel through the clear glass doors, one can feel warmth, comfort and the passion of the hotel to provide a high quality hospitality for its customers. The pre-lobby is a prelude to what’s to come while your stay at the Aloft Hotel. From the contemporary ceilings to the polished marble floors and walls to the furniture complementary to the interiors, the place oozes of lavishness and luxury. The elevators are all inter-linked and are controlled by a central AI, making it much more efficient and easy for the guests to use them. The elevator gives access to explore the grand hotel in its entirety; however, you will need keycards to access floors with accommodating rooms.
Through the pre-lobby of the hotel, you are led to one of four elevators which then take you to the main lobby of the hotel. The main lobby shares the floor with the hotel’s other major attractions and the facilities; The Nook Restaurant, WXYZ Bar and Re:mix Lounge, that helps Aloft stand apart.
For starters, the reception desk is unique on its own. The circular design with bight and colorful pictures on it definitely give off a modern and contemporary look to the reception area adding that extra flare to the innovative side of the hotel. This design not only looks the part but seems to be more effective and efficient in terms of communication and hospitality appeal. The circular design makes it so that the guests can easily and freely communicate with the staff and vice-versa. The Reception area comes with a fully stoked ‘Re:fuel’ Section which allows the guests to purchase different commodities and products without having to go look for them in the shops.
Right next to the reception area is the Re:mix lounge and WXYZ bar where guests can relax and entertain themselves. The main thing that stands out is the contemporary and creative designs that fill the space. From the modern wall paintings and art pieces to the choice of lights to the furniture of the lounge and bar you are immediately drawn to the free and chill-out space. This attention to the creativity is not just limited to their interior designs but reflected in other small things as well; like how the complimentary drinks are served in a glass bulbs. These small things contribute to the hotel’s motto’ ‘Different by design’. The lounge area also consists of a pool table and smart LCD TVs where guests can entertain themselves with a game of pool or enjoy the different media through television. This unique and innovative space also hosts music nights and events on particular days of the week.
The Aloft Kathmandu has in total of 167 rooms for the guests to say in. the rooms are categorized into 5 categories; 103 Loft King Rooms, 49 Loft Twin Rooms, 2 Accessible rooms, 7 Savvy Suites and 6 Breezy suites. It can be seen that the design ideology of the hotel has been implemented in these rooms with the sleek and colorful interiors. The rooms have plush platform beds with a vibrant painting hanging on top, a smart LED Television, an Electronic safe, a mini fridge, an iron board and hair dryer to name a few. All the rooms share a wooden floor and muted color tones which complements the elegant stay at the Aloft Hotel. As the hotel towers above the city of Thamel, the view from these rooms are splendid. From the prestigious Swoyambhunath Temple to the spread out urban city, the view you get from these room is something the hotel prides in. The aesthetic and the ambiance of the room along with the view of the city provides an exceptional hospitality experience.
The Loft King and Loft twin Rooms are similar to one another in terms of space and design and the only difference about them is the category of the beds. The Loft King comes with a king size bed where as the twin room has two twin bed systems. The Savvy Suites and breezy suites are both bigger in size comparison. The Loft king and Loft twin rooms are of 25sqms where as the Savvy Suite is of 47sqm and the breezy suites are of 63sqm. The breezy suite however comes with living room area and the rooms in this category id highly suggested for an even beautiful and magnificent scenery.
The Aloft hotel also hosts 3 Meeting and Event halls; Tactic one, Tactic Two and Sankakan Hall. The state of the art meeting space combines luxury, technology and flare of elegance to make the events exclusive and sophisticated. The Tactic rooms are solely designed for business meetings and workshops. Holding the capacity of 100 people in total, these rooms provide guests with modular conference tables and other flexible furniture. However, the Tactic rooms can be combined in a single room as well.
The Sankhalan Hall is another of the main attraction of the Aloft Hotel and among the newest addition to the hotel. With a versatile look, this space if ideal for large conference, weddings, social events and many others. The halls in total covers 8700sq ft and carries the interior design of the Aloft hotel from around the globe. At an initial look the hall looks like a royal banquet hall with its high ceilings and well crafted furniture and walls. The floor is covered with high end carpets which add more to the regal vibes.
The hotel is also famous for its swimming pool, the pool side bar, Akua and fitness space, Re:Charge located in the top floor of the building. This space also hosts their Nilgiri’s Skye Lounge, which will shortly be open for service. The hotel provides guests with a health and beauty regimes including various spas. The gym offers many state of the art equipment for guests to maintain their fitness even on vacation.
‘Nook’ is an expansive all-day dining restaurant of the hotel. The contemporary interiors are carried out here as well with wooden ceilings, polished and patterned marble floor and an open kitchen. The restaurant plays with mute yet complementary color scheme which adds to the dining experience of the hotel. The restaurant follows a new style of approach, ‘House Kitchen’ which is both creative and modern. Hosting the capacity of more than 100 people, Nook falls among the facility the hotel holds with pride. The restaurant opens up to the ‘Backyard’ area of the hotel where many ‘Mix and Mingle’ events are hosted.
The restaurant’s unique approach combines the al-a-carte with buffet dining experience bringing in personalization of al-a-carte menu with the variation of a buffet meal. When it comes to the cuisine, the restaurant has a rotation cycle which depends on the staying guest. Executive Chef Shailendra Singh explains the rotation of cuisine helps the dining be something new and exciting experience for the guest without becoming mundane. The switch in taste and a style not only is a brilliant way to satisfy the taste buds but also keeps the kitchen team on their toes to perform better than before.
Regardless of the rotation of cuisines, one thing remains unchanged; the quality and the taste of the food served. The new approach to food and beverage experience does not compromise the hotel’s belief to provide the guests with gastronomical satisfaction.
One thing is for sure, the generosity when it comes to the food is nearly unmatched and every bite you have here is worth spending every rupee. Speaking of generosity, the hotel also does not shy away in terms of the quantity. When the guests are served with multiple variations of cuisines and choices of a buffet table, they are left with nothing less of a full tummy and a satisfied appetite.
This generosity even left us in a shock as we were befuddled by the selection of choice for presented before us. The dinner we were served on our stay was nothing short of a lavish full course meal, from the appetizers to the deserts, you name it and it was there. Maybe that is the beauty of a menu course combining the buffet and a-la-carte style, you are not just limited to the buffet. The restaurant follows a theme, ‘Go Local’ where the main focus is to highlight and promote the locally produced and grown produce.
Starting off with the appetizers, the restaurant had prepped a cold noodle and salad bar alongside variation of soup and bread. The guests are free to experiment according to their taste and preference. These create an interactive experience for the guests keeping them entertained and enjoy their meal even more. However, take caution and not to over fill in the salad and noodle section as the dining experience is just starting.
Moving on to the main course section of the evening. The cuisine served the day was a combination of European cuisine and Indian cuisine. The dinner included freshly cooked Vegetarian Ratatouille, Fish Meuninere, sautéed butter vegetables, mutton curry, vegetable Jaipuri, Paneer Lababdar, Daal Makhani, Vegetable biryani, steamed rice, Chicken in soya and ginger sauce, green veg curry and a special Dosa prepared by the executive chef himself right in front of us. Just by listing the names you can clearly see the variation of dishes and the ample generosity. To have them stay warm throughout the dinner they are placed on induction stove that continues to heat them up. Eating the food prepared in front of your very eyes takes the dining experience up a notch. Talking about the food, it successfully meets your expectations of dining at a five start hotel.
To understand the entirety of the meal we proceeded to taste every dish on the menu. Regardless of the cuisine the dish came from the thing that stood above all was the taste and quality of the food. In often times when there is a large variation of food prepared they may be some compromise in taste and consistency. However, this was not the case dining at Aloft as every bite showed the amount of care and dedication that went to prepare the food and it did not fail to deliver the Aloft hotel standard. The dessert selection was no less in comparison as well, from assortments of cakes to sweets, the dessert table displayed variety of sweet delights from different cuisines.
The breakfast next day followed the same flow as the dinner with the variety of selection of dishes from multiple cuisines. From cornflakes to porridge, hashed browns to puri tarkari, omlettes to sausages yo bacon, the breakfast buffet included left no stones unturned. Not to mention a separate table for bakery items displaying wide range of bread, waffles, pancakes, muffins, and croissants. They are all freshly baked right here at the hotel with the local produce. However, throughout the sea of delectable food items and dishes, on particular item stood above all for us, the croissants. In our opinion, one of the best if not the best croissants we ever had the pleasure to gobble upon in Nepal. It was as if we were biting onto a piece of a soft fluffy cloud that would just melt in your mouth.
Regardless to say, tasting the entire selection meal (even in small amounts) proves to be daunting task yet worth the every bite. The dinner at Nook in Aloft was a experience unmatched to others leaving us with a happy food coma. What more could you ask than great food made from the local produce and with utmost care.
Overall, the experience at the Aloft Kathmandu, Thamel was sublime. From a top notch hospitality service to the high end quality of the hotel, our stay at the Aloft hotel was truly a remarkable experience. They are among the leading hotels in Kathmandu at present and after experiencing their services first hand, it is no wonder the fame and popularity they have accumulated. The hotel is truly bringing a new wave of innovative hospitality and definitely is the new generation hotel.
WORDS BY BAIBHAV SHRESTHA | PHOTOS BY SARAS STHAPIT SHRESTHA