We escaped the chaos of Kathmandu city for a day at the Shivapuri Heights Cottage and you can too!!!
There is no doubt that Kathmandu with its hustle and bustle is quite an amazing city to live in. It’s old and young at the same time and has something on offer for everyone. But every once in a while the shuffling crowds, the noise and the unbearable pollution just gets to you and you want to break free. And if that’s the case, Shivapuri Heights Cottage might be just the place for you.
Shivapuri Heights Cottage is a retreat just on the edge of the city limits, close enough for the convenience of Kathmanduites, yet far enough for a relaxing time away from the stressful city.
After reaching Budhanilkantha, we were soon picked up by Steve, the proprietor of the resort along with his wife Neeru. If you are planning to stay at the cottage, you can either have a ride arranged or walk for about 15 minutes from Budhanilkantha to reach the retreat. Budanilkantha is about a 20 minute ride from the city center. Once we reached the gates, we were buzzed in. If you’re out of shape, this might be a good time to reconsider your exercise habits as you will have to walk up quite a few steps to reach the main house at the resort.
Here at the main house known as the Jasmine cottage, the first thing you notice is the magnificent view of the Kathmandu valley from the front porch. It’s a great place to relax with a glass of lemonade, as Ramita the manager at the Shivapuri Heights Cottage greets you and briefs you on your accommodation, dinner and breakfast schedules as well as the activities you may choose to indulge in during your stay at the retreat.
We stayed at the main Jasmine cottage, which is comprised of two deluxe rooms along with an amazingly cozy upstairs lounge and dining area. You can also choose to stay at any of the other two cottages nearby– the Bougainvillea cottage or the Poinsettia cottage.
The Poinsettia cottage boasts two charming attic rooms and one deluxe room as well as a lounge area, a fully stocked bar and a kitchen where you can cook your own food if you so desire. The nearby Bougainvillea has one room upstairs and one downstairs – both of which open out to a beautiful balcony with a fabulous view of the valley. Those travelling in a large group should book both the cottages as they sit right next to each other and are ideal for large parties who want their own space to have fun.
Shivapuri Heights Cottage also offers tented accommodation that you can rent. And although the word tent might throw you off, rest assured that these tents are fully furnished with all the amenities you might expect in a hotel.
It all begins with freshening up and getting comfortable. You can then simply relax and lounge about the cottage enjoying the tranquil atmosphere. While staying at the Jasmine cottage, you can make use of the entertainment system to watch movies from the large selection of movies available. You can also relax in the cozy upstairs lounge area where you can read one of the hundreds of books from the shelves or play a board game. We enjoyed a riveting game of Bagchaal (tigers and goats) while we waited for dinner time.
Dinner at Shivapuri Heights Cottage is an experience in itself. Unlike most places where you order your dinner at your own table with your own group of friends, here everyone sits around the same table to enjoy the set dinner and meet the other guests. Cell phones are highly discouraged and dinner conversation might lead you anywhere from cute stories as to how Steve and Neeru met to the current state of Russian politics. You’ll definitely meet people from all around the world and get to share in their experiences. After dinner, you can sit in the balcony and enjoy the beautiful view of the city lights as we did for a while before getting into bed.
The next morning, we enjoyed a hot cup of coffee that was already set up on our personal balconies when we woke up, just as Ramita promised when we arrived the previous day. Every morning you will get a tray with coffee and tea delivered to your balconies, waiting for you to enjoy at your leisure. You can also choose some of the shorter activities like yoga or a short walk for the morning as the ambience at dawn is unbelievable.
Breakfast at Shivapuri Heights
Cottage starts at around 8 in the morning, by which time you should have finished exploring the surroundings. The food prepared by the chef Jas Bahadur is simply yummy.
We left shortly after breakfast, but we know most people will love to stay longer and enjoy the relaxing and rejuvenating atmosphere of Shivapuri Heights. As Steve describes it, you’ll get the feel of home with the service of a hotel – not something you readily find around here.
Things to do at the Retreat
Long and short Walks
There are a number of walks available around the Shivapuri area, around the national park and into the village, all arranged by the resort staff. With prior notice, a guide can be quickly arranged to take you on these walks.
Yoga and meditation
Shivapuri Heights Cottage can provide yoga and meditation programs in the morning provided prior notice is given to the cottage.
Neeru’s spa offers a rejuvenating spa experience with various relaxing massages, manicures and pedicures. The best part about the entire experience is that you can enjoy all of this, not in a closed room, but in a semi open shelter with windows looking straight out into the beautiful view outside.
If you’re interested in replicating the delicious food at this cottage, you can learn some of their kitchen secrets, recipes and more.
The best thing to do at Shivapuri Heights Cottage is to do absolutely nothing at all. Read some books, play board games, chat with other guests and just enjoy your time at the retreat. You can also work on your own solitary projects without any distractions to disturb you. According to Steve, some of his guests have described the cottage as the ultimate writer’s retreat and we must say we agree.