The turtles are dying, the ice caps melting, the ozone layer depleting, the urban sprawl increasing, and oh, how this terrifying list goes on and on. Of course, globally, people are taking action like the ban of plastic in Morocco, removal of toxic tires from the French Riviera, progressing with the de-carbonizing in the power sector in some parts of the world, et cetera. Nepal, too, is trying to step up its game, no matter how minuscule the steps may be. One of these is by the public themselves taking an initiative, and we see it in one of Kathmandu’s very own hotels.
On the beautiful terrace of Traditional Comfort, looking over at the astonishing view of Swoyambhunath surrounded by the concrete jungle as the Tibetan flags above us danced with the wind, Mr. ShivaDhakal and I were deeply engrossed in a conversation about sustainable tourism in Nepal.
Being a country that has seen a lot of environmental degradation over the recent decades, this boutique hotel is administered with awareness. Using an average of about forty percent of solar energy to heat water yearly, using solar energy to also power the building, minimizing the use of plastic bottles within the premises, unless it is inevitable, Traditional Comfort is what kids would call “woke.”
Their openness extends to social issues, as well. Not only is their staff more than fifty percent female, they also support an organization called Kiran Namaste, established byDhakal to provide vocational training to single mothers.
The little things around were what mattered most to turn this philosophy to reality. Making good on the motto “shop local”, which is gaining momentum in Kathmandu lately, Dhakal said that every element in the architecture and interior of the hotel is a Nepali product. For instance, the gorgeous chariots on the terrace itself were made right here in Nepal.
As the discussion continued, we broached the topic of what the tourists expect from their visits to Nepal and how this hotel had been built to cater to their wants of living in a place that would provide them an ultimate experience of the striking Nepali culture while feeling at home simultaneously. “Nepal is not a luxurious country,” said Dhakal, “But, we can make it a more comfortable stay for our guests.”
As our conversation neared an end, I was filled with awe and wonder. I had not been that familiar with the hotel industry in Nepal, Kathmandu in particular. But, after listening to Dhakal, I was filled with warmth and hope; the future is less terrifying knowing that hotels like Traditional Comfort exist.