A newly established high-end boutique hotel set in the existing architectural haven of Baber Mahal Revisited seeks to provide quality service on par with the beauty of Nepal.
The idea of starting the venture germinated when Virat SJB Rana, an investment banker at Delhi KPMG together with his brother Varun SJB Rana, a graduate of Bachelors of Architecture from the Washington State University in USA, and Masters in Architecture design and theory from the University of Nottingham, left their high-paying jobs and returned back to Nepal to start something special here itself. They wanted to turn a small chunk of land they inherited at the Baber Mahal Revisited premises from their father Gautam SJB Rana, into an interesting business and thus started construction of the hotel in May 2014.
The structures in three different architectures viz. Newar, Rana and Mustang architecture surround the courtyard. The interior of the building depends upon what the building looks from outside. Mustang part of the rooms are decorated with Tibetan furnitures of different colors. In the Rana Durbar zone, the rooms have crystal chandeliers and look opulent. Meanwhile, the Newari side features theÂ traditional wooden furnitures reflecting the Newari culture.
Varun had once been on a trek to Lo-Manthang in Mustang and was astonished by the rich architecture of the place. “It is something we don’t find in Kathmandu. There are no architects who have interpreted Mustang architecture in their works. So, I wanted to incorporate an element from Mustang in the project, to make the guests understand how beautiful Nepal is,” shares Varun.
To him, Baber Mahal Vilas is more like his own baby, and very close to his heart.
As the services in most of the hotels in the town are not matching up with the natural beauty of our country, the hotel has made available all the amenities that are available in a typical 7 star hotel, from Air conditioning, 24-hour electricity, room services, and almost everything, says Varun. The hotel serves the typical Rana style of cuisine, a royal cuisine and their own family food, on silver plates.
We cannot compromise on the comfort of the guest just because we are in Nepal, and have Mount Everest. At Baber Mahal Vilas, we strive to provide the world-class standard of a boutique hotel. We have set a mission to change the way hotels in Kathmandu are operating, where the guests are not getting the quality service as per what they pay. We are operating with the motto of providing quality service at a price,” says Varun.
The hotel wants to introduce the rich history of Ranas to its guests. Varun feels that Rana days were the most glorious days ever. “In pictures, we can still see the prime ministers of Nepal shoulder to shoulder with the famous world-leaders. Unlike the present leaders, they didn’t show Nepal as a charity place where INGOs from all over the world could pourÂ money into. Nepal has a very rich history, which we want to show,” he says. He further shares that the guests staying in the hotel will get a feeling like they have stayed as royals in an old Rana Durbar, located in the centre of the city, and very peaceful. “You surely can’t get that feeling elsewhere. We have tried to make it a historical heritage home carrying the rich past of the nation.”
The hotel is completely sourced from Nepal, including wood carvings, furnitures and brass-works. To add more, the hotel gets all the supplies from Nepal itself.
Reminiscing the journey, Varun shares that the road into the venture was not an easy one. Having returned to Nepal leaving their whole career behind, the twin earthquakes and trade blockade made them to despair. “But, we didn’t lose hope, instead took a courage and continued on the project. Thus we are able to come this far, though we’re just starting the operation of the hotel,” expresses Varun.
They are also coming up with packages through various travel agencies. They are also available in Tripadvisor, Hotel.com and Expedia from where the clients can carry out hotel bookings.
Reflecting back the hard moments in the journey of starting the hotel, Varun shares that he has numerous of them. “When the earthquake happened, we were in the office. We got terrified, as the building was under construction. But, luckily everything was intact as everything was made as per the building code. And, there was no turning back as we had put our career at stake to do something here,” he says.
Sharing the happy moments into the venture, Varun expresses, â€œLaying the foundation stone of the hotel was the day I can’t miss. I used to get new joys every next day as I was closer to my dream of starting the hotel. Previously, this place was just an empty space, but now, Â a new building has been constructed with such an architecture, and business has formally started. I can’t express in words how overwhelmed I amÂ as I look back at what I have got. But, I’m still waiting for the next happiest day in my life into the venture,” shares Varun.
To the youths willing to start something new, Varun suggests to put the work in their heart, do it to the fullest, and finish it, making it a success and then only move on to the next. “You can’t work on multiple project at once, as like the saying goes, putting legs in two boats leads you nowhere. Make the company a debt free company, and make it as a smooth operating machine. And, then move on to the next,” suggests Rana.
Startups for a better Nepal!
Presented By: Basanta Kumar Dhakal