Swotha Square, Patan (Lalitpur)Kathmandu, Nepal
Rates starting fromUSD 65
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Traditional Homes Swotha
Just a stone’s throw away from the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Patan Durbar Square lies Traditional Homes Swotha. Fed up with Kathmandu’s fondness for replacing heritage properties with drab concrete buildings, the owners of this 100-year-old traditional Newari residence set out on a painstaking renovation to restore it back to its former glory. The end result is a perfect balance of historic charm and honest simplicity.
Step inside Traditional Homes Swotha and you'll be greeted with all the character and charm that you’d expect from a 100 year-old home, with rough-hewn timber posts and beams, intricately-carved windows and polished concrete floors. Don’t mistake heritage for backwards though – you can still expect the modern conveniences of free Wi-Fi and hot showers to welcome you home after a day spent exploring the surrounding medieval temples. Where things do get a bit more contemporary is at the hotel’s well-regarded restaurant, Café Swotha. Serving a mix of Western and Nepalese fusion cuisine, it draws diners from all over the city looking to enjoy its organic, farm-to-table produce. Altogether, it’s the perfect way to experience Patan’s famed cultural legacy – one which, as the recent earthquake reminds us, should not be taken for granted.
- Bicycle rental
- Car rental
- Shuttle transport
- Laundry & dry-cleaning
- Luggage storage
- Free WiFi
- Safety deposit
- Airport transfers
- Wake-up service
- Multi-lingual staff
- Rooftop terrace
- Room service
- Non-smoking rooms
- Boutique Hotel
- No. of rooms:
- Swimming Pool:
- Disabled Access:
- Recommended for:
- Culture Vultures
- Group Getaways
- Kids Collection
- Solo Travellers
- Budget Boutiques
What to Know
- The hotel is masterpiece in restoration, with beautifully-conserved original details and sunny, spacious rooms.
- Staff are genuinely kind and professional, under the attentive supervision of the Singapore-trained General Manager Samun.
- Food at the in-house Café Swotha is delicious. It's also a popular meeting ground for Kathmandu expats.
- Excellent location in the heart of Patan’s traditional neighbourhood, within a short walking distance to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Patan Durbar Square.
KEEP IN MIND
- Many of the rooms have low ceilings. If you're over 6 feet tall, you may want to request for one of the few high-ceilinged rooms.
- Most rooms can only be accessed via a steep staircase – good training for future treks.
- Like most properties in Nepal, there is no central heating although space heaters are provided in the colder months. Hot water bottles (for warming the bed) can also be provided upon request.
- Electricity black-outs are a part of everyday life in Kathmandu. A solar-powered generator provides limited electricity and selective lighting during power cuts, although electronics devices can only be charged at the main lobby areas during this time. The front desk can provide you with a load-shedding schedule to help you time important activities.
- Taking into account Kathmandu’s overburdened water and electricity systems, the hotel has implemented a number of eco-friendly policies designed to lessen the load on Nepal’s fragile environment. Hot water and back-up electricity is generated via solar thermal panels, while rain water is harvested into underground tanks for washing and maintaining the lush rooftop gardens.
Warm sweaters and undergarments for sleeping are a must – like many older buildings, Traditional Homes Swotha can get chilly at night.
IN YOUR ROOM
Spread across four floors, each of the rooms at Traditional Homes Swotha are restful havens of crisp white linen, rustic wood beams and polished concrete floors. You’ll find handmade soaps and shampoos in the bathrooms, while natural cotton and woollen rugs warm the floors under your feet. The attached bathrooms are clean and modern, while most rooms enjoy access to a private terrace or a balcony overlooking the streets below.
Housed within a modern extension, the Family Suite boasts a Master bedroom, adjoining twin room and a cosy living room with two balconies on either side – perfect for group travellers. Our top pick is the Attic Suite, with exposed brick walls, a dramatic sloped ceiling and direct access to the rooftop terrace, which becomes exclusively yours after 8pm.
A beautifully-restored 100 year-old mansion in the heart of historic Patan, complete with a popular café.
Food & Drink
Open from 7am until 9pm, the hotel’s in-house café, Café Swotha, is popular with both guests and Kathmandu expats alike. Ingredients are all fresh and locally sourced from nearby farms, while the atmosphere is rustic and intimate. There's also a lovely outdoor dining patio that’s great during the warmer months. Grab a seat and tuck into a delicious seasonal rotation of Western cuisine with a Nepalese twist: think salads, quiches, burgers and other classics with a fusion touch. Room service is also available in case you don’t feel like leaving your room.
We thoroughly enjoyed our morning meal at Traditional Homes Swotha. Think hearty platters of fried bacon, sliced cheese, eggs and toast with butter and jam, accompanied by a choice of tea or freshly-brewed French-press coffee, lassi or juice. A traditional Nepalese breakfast of roti bread, lentil curry and eggs can also be ordered a day in advance if you feel like some variety.
The small café bar serves a limited range of local and imported beers, cocktails and spirits. Enjoy a cold glass of Gorkha beer or a mojito on the terrace, or sample their signature Swotha Chili Splash cocktail, a potent mix of vodka and guava juice.
To sample authentic local cuisine, head to nearby Layeku Kitchen at Mangal Bazaar for traditional Nepalese food and momo dumplings with a gorgeous view overlooking the square. Close by, Honacha is a family-run restaurant that has been dishing up classic Newari cuisine such as crispy golden bara lentil patties and buffalo curry for over fifty years and counting.
Dating back to medieval times, the surrounding Patan district was once a separate kingdom and today is one of Kathmandu's crown jewels. Just around the corner, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Patan Durbar Square contains the largest collection of Newari architecture with over 1200 monuments. Close by, the 16th century Patan Royal Palace Complex is home to the excellent Patan Museum as well as Patan’s most important temple, the Krishna Mandir.
Patan is also renowned throughout the country for its skilled craftsmen. The best place to hunt for handicrafts is in the Jhamsikhel area, while Kopundole Street is known for pottery, wooden carvings and toys and paintings. Pay a visit the Tibetan refugee camp at the Jawalakhel Handicraft Centre to pick up ethically-produced handwoven rugs in all sorts of designs and vibrant colours.
The best way to learn about Patan’s history as one of the world’s oldest known Buddhist cities is by joining a guided heritage walking tour. Sights include the majestic Golden Temple, the five-storey Kumbeshwar Temple dating back to 1392, and the 17th century Red Machhendranath Temple and the Mahaboudha Temple which contains over 1008 images of Buddha. For more strenuous pursuits, go on an outdoor adventure in the nearby Kathmandu Valley, rich with trekking, mountain-biking, whitewater rafting, paragliding and mountaineering opportunities. Traditional Homes Swotha's front desk can assist with the necessary arrangements.
Your Booking Makes a Difference
For every booking that you make at Traditional Homes Swotha, Indistay will donate 1% of profits to the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust to help fund the post-earthquake reconstruction of Nepal's historic monuments.Learn More
Nepal's Tribhuvan International Airport is the country's sole international airport, serving over 30 international routes from across Asia and the Middle East, including direct flights to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Delhi, Doha and Bangkok. The airport also connects travellers to a variety of popular domestic routes within the country such as Pokhara and Bharatpur.
FROM THE AIRPORT
The airport is connected to Patan through the Sajha Yatayat public bus system, which can be found in front of the international terminal. Alternatively, taxis can also be found outside both terminals. The drive to Patan takes approximately half an hour.
In The Area
Nested in a quiet courtyard in Patan (officially known as Lalitpur), Traditional Homes Swotha belongs to one of the most beautiful and well-preserved districts in Kathmandu, away from the chaos of more touristy areas such as nearby Thamel. Here, charming pedestrian lanes weave in amongst temple squares, historic alleyways and marketplaces dotted with cafes, restaurants and antique shops, while the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Patan Durbar Square is just a 2 minute walk away. It’s just a short 15 minute bus ride to the centre of Kathmandu, making this an excellent base to explore the city and surrounding area.
Taxi can be found in Durbar Square and Patan Dhoka at all times of the day and at night. Alternatively, hop on the public bus service at either Lagankel or Patan Dhoka bus station nearby, both about a 10-minute walk away. Regular buses operate from here to the city centre at Kathmandu Ratna Park as well as the surrounding districts and villages.
Patan Durbar Square: 2 minutes on foot
City Center (Kathmandu Ratna Park): 15 minutes by bus
Thibhuvan International Airport: 20 minutes drive