Entrance to the Kathmandu Guest House in Thamel ©Solange Hando
The Kathmandu Guest House remains top of the list for newcomers to Nepal and returnees attracted by its convivial atmosphere. It's a place to share stories, exchange advice, find a trekking companion or, who knows, a long lasting romance.
Set well back from the road, in the busy district of Thamel, it's a peaceful oasis where sightseers and trekkers can rub shoulders with serious climbers and even celebrities.
In a restored Rana mansion, this first hotel in Thamel opened with just 13 rooms but now offers over 100, including quality accommodation in a newly-open annexe. Most pleasant and generally quieter are the garden-facing rooms.
The hotel prides itself in a wide choice of rooms catering to every budget. An ultra basic single is just USD 2.00 a night while single tourist class rooms with private facilities and buffet breakfast range from USD 40.00 for standard to USD 160.00 for a luxury suite. Double rooms are available and an extra bed can be provided for a small charge. VAT and service are extra, 13% and 10% respectively. Look out for discounts which pop up from time to time.
Eating Al Fresco, Kathmandu Guest House ©Solange Hando
Restaurants include the Café Bahal (above) where international fare and Nepali specialities are served in the courtyard and the new Inner Sanctum offering a varied menu and candle-lit dinners.The Raksi Bar is for chilled drinks and cocktails while the Café Pomelo serves coffee and cool drinks in the garden.
Among other amenities, you'll find a small shopping arcade for jewellery, souvenirs and books,a beauty parlour, ATM, free internet and WiFi zones plus in-room WiFi connection.
But the guest house greatest asset is its lovely garden, tucked away from the dusty lanes. There are palms and manicured lawns, potted plants, pomelo hanging from the trees and roses, chrysanths and dahlias in all shades and colours.
It's the perfect place to unwind and sip Nepali tea under the trees. They say that many articles and books have been written in this garden and it remains one of the most delightful escapes in busy Thamel.
However, if you really want to get away from it all and enjoy spectacular views, you could stay in the hill top monastery of Kopan in the Bodhnath district.