- The serenity of a Buddhist Monastery and my encounter with a monk in Kathmandu
- Caring mountains and tourist spots: forward-looking planning is an urgent priority
- Aloft Hotel brands for the global traveller
- Himalaya Airlines starting Dhaka flights from July 22
- Nepal’s central bank bans use of unregistered foreign digital payment systems
Mr Vikram Singh is the General Manager of Aloft Hotel, Chhaya Center in Thamel Kathmandu. The soft opening of the hotel will take place on 17 July 2019. He talked about different aspects of the newly commissioned hotel and tourism promotion in Nepal.Exercepts
Has Aloft Hotel been added as a 5 star hotel? What are your current operational preparations for a positive start?
Aloft Kathmandu Thamel, has received 5-star certification. Aloft hotels are part of Marriott International’s distinctive hotels all around the world, and we are very happy to have received 5 star certification in Nepal. We are gearing up for our vibrant launch in August 2019 , and ensuring all our rooms, amenities, spa, pool are fully functional for our opening. We are in the process of soft launch on July 17, 2019 and moving forward hosting pre-opening events to ensure our service is up to par to meet all international standards.
What kind of a hotel is it? (Capacity and services)
Situated in the heart of the bustling capital, Aloft Kathmandu Thamel is different by design, and currently has 167 rooms. Each of our spaces has a unique name which you would not hear anywhere else, and our entire hotel is focused on music, design and technology. We offer 167 guestrooms & suites, 9 foot high ceilings, plush beds, free WI FI, 48’ LED TVs and walk-in showers with rainfall showerheads.
We have In Touch WI FI available 24/7, an expansive All Day Dining restaurant called the Nook, an outdoor Backyard to mix & mingle and a Re:mix Lounge and W XYZ bar for music and cocktails. We have a 14th floor infinity Splash pool, along with Akua, a poolside bar, and Live at Aloft music and acoustic performances to encourage emerging artists. We have a luxurious banquet hall Sankalan, which is the ideal space for large conferences, wedding or celebrations and Tactic rooms which are state-of-the-art for business meetings and workshops.
In addition, we are also a located in Chhaya Devi complex, which has more than 200 retail outlets, movie hall, beauty salon, SPA center, multiple restaurants, night club and many more for the guest to indulge. In fact, the hotel provides a one stop experience to the guest.
What is your hotel’s target audience?
Our hotel’s target audience are global travellers who love open spaces, open thinking & self-expression. We also offer vibrant social scenes for Nepalis looking for a different experience within the tourism hub of Thamel. Aloft Hotels are for music lovers, design enthusiasts, and tech-savvy globe trotters, who work hard, and want to play and stay in vibrant spaces.
There must be a reason why this hotel has been placed with the tourism hub center of Chaya complex?
Chhaya Center is truly a Thamel, within Thamel. It’s a multi-faceted mega complex with over 200 top notch retail stores, multiplex theatre, corporate offices, Banquet hall, Conference Halls, Casino, “Playboy” Discotheque from New Delhi, a Food Court and a spacious under-ground parking facility. With an open courtyard of 12,000 sq ft., Chhaya Center also houses Aloft Kathmandu Thamel, the next-gen of hotels which brings together music, design & technology to enhance the experience of guests with its dedicated entrance and parking. Thamel has always been the hip tourism hub of Kathmandu, and what better place to have our new hotel, bring in different by design experiences in the heart of Thamel.
Recently there have been five star hotels getting added one after the other in Nepal. What do you think is the reason that everyone is more drawn towards 5 star hotels?
Nepal has always been a beautiful destination, home to rich heritage, adventure, spirituality, regional diversity abundance in wildlife and natural resources, arts, recreation and entertainment and warm hospitality. To provide them an exceptional experience, there is an importance on retaining and upgrading facilities, while creating new opportunities to the Nepalese people. In our case, Aloft Kathmandu Thamel is known for its concept “Different by Design”. We are technology friendly, spacious spaces and fresh purposeful environment to bring people together.
What is the base for new hotels to get business?
Marriott International brand is itself a well-known brand across the globe, which has more than120 million members on its portfolio. Aloft hotel being one of its best brands located in over 26 countries over 140 properties, reflecting the unmatched benefits, single loyalty portfolio and experiences. Our 120 million members have access to the world’s leading hotel portfolio at the best room rates and member benefits, as well our collection of Moments experiences that bring exploration and discovery of the world to the forefront.
The government is celebrating visit Nepal 2020 as a tourism year. Do you think we can bring in 2 million visitors?
Nepal is hosting Visit Nepal 2020 with commitment of providing new products and world-class services and targeting 2 million tourists. The completion of the construction and expansion of the international and domestic airports, heritage sites and other tourism infrastructure in the country will directly impact the success of this campaign.
5 star hotels are known to be for high-end tourists. How does this hotel brand itself?
Internationally Aloft Hotel brands itself as a hotel for the global traveller that is different by design.
No matter where you go in the world, the moment you step into an Aloft property, you are immediately introduced to our three passion points – music, design, and technology, along with impeccable service. Aloft Hotels are vibrant hub of activity, with several dynamic environments designed to bring people together. As a new addition to the nightlife in Thamel, guests also have the opportunity to experience our signature music series, Live@Aloft, where they get a taste of the local emerging music scene.
Why did you bring in an international chain & brand?
The pace of travelling today is ever evolving- the modern day traveller is one that relies on technology and experiences of their peers rather than a guide book to experience a local culture. With Nepal constantly being on the top of travel lists for its serene beauty, enchanting heritage sites, and great hospitality, we wanted to be able to provide the modern day traveller with a dynamic 5-star alternative to the usual back-packing hotels that are found around Thamel. By bringing in an international chain and brand into Kathmandu, we wanted to shake up the industry and only show how tech-forward a hotel can be in Nepal, but also raise the bar for what a hotel experience can be.
How is the skilled labour force in the hospitality sector?
Well, we have a great skilled manpower, with fresh ideas and enthusiasm to do something. Yes, we cannot deny the fact that the numbers of skilled manpower is abroad whereas the academic institute like NATHM, Silver mountain, GATEWAY and more others are investing on grooming the new talent to fill the gap. Similarly, we also have a in-house Learning and Development team, who always coach the people and mould the talent according to the needs.
What are ways in which you plan to manage and establish your brand presence?
For Aloft Thamel Kathmandu, the main message we want to push is that we are a hotel that is different by design. Whether you are looking for the ideal venue for your next conference, a relaxing getaway, or you simply want to unwind, Aloft has several dynamic properties that redefine how guests work, play, and stay.