Post and photos by Victoria
Why you’ll love Traditional Homes Swotha
Positioned a stone’s throw from Durbar Square, Patan is this charming B&B housed within a beautifully renovated Newari home. The owners have kept the original architecture of the building – the traditional wooden windows, low ceilings and pillars are still intact – but have modernised it to create a welcoming retreat from the busy streets.
The six bedrooms are located over four floors (bedroom 7 is currently being used as an office) and the lobby and café sit on the ground floor. Downstairs feels very compact but by contrast the rooms are light and airy and decorated in calm, contemporary colours. Traditional carpets decorate the bare floors and cushions embroidered with Nepalese designs sit on the beds.
Traditional Homes Swotha is very much in the heart of Patan so don’t come expecting peace and tranquillity. Life in these narrow streets is very much cheek by jowl but with this comes wonderful views of the tiled rooftops from your bedroom balcony and some wonderful Nepalese hospitality.
Why the kids will love Traditional Homes Swotha
Family-friendly Swotha is a base from which to explore Kathmandu rather than a destination in itself. But if you’re looking for reasonably priced accommodation, flexible family accommodation and a dose of traditional Nepalese friendliness then you’ve come to the right address.
Its position in the centre of Patan makes sightseeing the local area a breeze and kids of all ages tend to enjoy exploring the old cobbled streets. There are giant stone statues to discover, temple steps to climb and shopping for trinkets and knick-knacks to be done. Patan is also a more family-friendly neighbourhood than the tourist ghetto of Thamel. It’s worth remembering that you are in the heart of the old city and so it can be noisy at night.
Traditional Homes houses six rooms simple but stylish rooms. Alcoves in the exposed brick walls hold vases, books and other knick knacks, the beds are dressed in white with Nepalese print cushions and the bare floors are accented by colourful traditional rugs. Some guests have commented that the beds are very hard. The larger rooms have armchairs and a coffee table or a writing desk. There is no A/C in any of the rooms, only fans upon request. In winter months gas heaters keep the rooms warm. There are no TVs or coffee / tea making facilities. Tall travellers be warned, the ceilings are quite low here!
The rooms are located as follows:
Room 1: This is a twin bedroom located on the 1st floor. Room 2 is next door but is used as an office.
Room 3: Positioned on the 2nd floor, this room has a king size bed and a balcony.
Room 4: Also on the 2nd floor is this twin room (no balcony).
Room 5: This is a twin room located on the 3rd floor.
Room 6: Also on the 3rd floor is this room with a king size bed.
Room 7: This is the attic room and comes with the best views.
Best Rooms for Families: Traditional Homes has four extra beds in total and they are very flexible when it comes to additional sleeping arrangements. Most rooms can accommodate one extra bed, two at a squeeze.
Room 7 in the attic is the largest but also has the most number of stairs to reach it. For larger families or families with big kids and teens then rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors work well.
The hotel has no baby cots so bring your own if you’re travelling with infants.
Located on the ground floor is the hotel’s café, Swotha. Visitors (both residents and non-guests) rave about the food here, some commenting that it’s the best they’ve had in Nepal. The menu changes regularly and there’s a good range of Nepali and western dishes to enjoy.
Choose from an English or a Healthy Morning breakfast from the all-day breakfast menu. Both are served with black tea, green tea, masala tea or a pot of coffee.
The lunch and dinner menu are the same and there’s a good variety of choice.
Appetizers include hummus, eggplant caviar or yak cheese rolls. For main dishes you can choose from Grand Ma’ Soup, homemade quiches or lasagne, beef or paneer burgers and, of course, Nepalese ‘Daal Bhat’. Specials when we visited included salmon steak, several pasta dishes and quail eggs. The deserts are delicious, in particular the chocolate brownies.
For Kids: There’s no dedicated kids’ menu but the main menu is kid-friendly. The staff are also very eager to please and can tailor dishes as needs be. There’s one small kid-sized chair available for mini globetotters.
There’s little to do in the hotel itself other than drink tea, eat chocolate brownies and ask the lovely staff to book a massage for you – massages can be carried out in your room.
The Patan Tourist Development Organisation has developed a great walk through the courtyards and lanes of the old town. See here for more details.
Visit Durbar Square and its mass of temples all built in the traditional Newari style and then wander around the old cobbled streets.
Step into the Royal Palace of Patan that occupies the entire eastern side of the Durbar Square. Parts of the palace were built in the 14th century but most of the construction was carried out during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Go shopping for handicrafts; you’ll find everything here from jewellery and prayer wheels to clay pots and paintings.
Explore Durbar Square and see how you measure up to the enormous stone lions and elephants standing guard.
Ring the bells! Giant brass bells are positioned near the palace; see if you can get them to make a sound.
Climb up and down the temple steps; every one is lined with stone figures including animals, larger-than-life guardians and people on horseback.
Big kids and teens will love shopping for the jewellery, knick-knacks and crafts that line the old streets.
Join the crowds of school kids at Nepal’s only zoo, located in the southwestern part of Patan. Here you’ll find elephants, tigers, leopards, giant tortoises, monkeys and more.
The nearest hospital is approx. 10 mins drive, extra beds (2 per room), laundry service, travel desk, WiFi.
When to go:
Kathmandu doesn’t have extreme weather seasons so it’s possible to visit at anytime of the year. That said, the summer months (May to September) can get hot with temperatures often reaching 30C and above. The winter months (December to February) see bright sunny days with average daytime temperatures of 20C. However, the nights can get very chilly, although it never snows in the Kathmandu valley.
The monsoon rains fall from June to September and during this time the city streets can get clogged. August and September is festival time with plenty of celebrations to watch and enjoy.
Location & Travel:
Traditional Homes Swotha is located near Durbar Square in Patan, Kathmandu, Nepal.
1) If noise bothers you at night, take ear plugs just in case! You’re in the heart of the city here and there is bound to be the odd dog yapping.
2) Their fresh mint soda is worth the wait.
3) You can never have enough door handles. Why didn’t I buy more?