The Meera Hotel is a simple modest place. We stayed in the East Wing which is newer, and quieter. Even still it would be considered low end by most western standards. For instance, the beds are Nepalese style single thin mattress on a cot like spring meaning there is considerable sag; the TV has a 12 inch screen; the phone has a 18 inch headset cord; the bath area is a simple sink with exposed plumbing and no vanity; the toilet setup includes a bucket to augment the meager automatic flush and a waste can for all paper goods; thread bare towels; no dresser nor desk, some shelves instead. To the Meera Hotel East Wing credit, all the above were in excellent working order [which is unusual for Nepal].
Due to rolling power outages [see below] we had to sleep with our windows open most nights. Thankfully the screens were in good shape and there was never a bug problem. But the noise from the main street 100 yards to the west disturbed easy sleep. The noises changed: in the evening music from party establishments dominated; in the wee hours barking pairs of dogs pierced otherwise quiet solitude, and in the early morning, the beep beep beep of taxis and scooters started up.
The Hotel is fanatic about cleaning. At 6AM a crew is already at work sweeping and washing floors. Rooms are serviced by 10AM. The floors are washed again mid afternoon. Despite the cleaning, the dust on the top clothing shelf was so think that we blackened the only hand towel the first night by cleaning the shelf before we placed clothes upon it. And there was a persistent sewage odor in our bathroom, which permeated to the entire room if the bathroom door wasn’t closed. This odor gave the entire room a feeling of unseemliness. We resorted to propping open a vent and plugging all drains when not in use which seemed to cure the problem.
The room key is on very large chain which drives one to turning it into the front desk when leaving the premises, a custom not everyone finds to their liking. All rooms are reached by climbing central stairway where each floor looks same. After two flights, one is on the 2nd floor, where the rooms start with the number 3. After three flights, one is on the 3rd floor, where the rooms start with the number 4. Because all floors look the same, it is not uncommon for someone to be off one floor and attempt entry to a room one floor up or down [happened twice in our group of 12 persons]. Doors do not automatically lock upon entry-exit so unless you are interested in meeting new people, it’s advised to be careful to lock the door from the inside when you’re inside.
Because Nepal gets most of its power from hydro electric and there isn’t enough capacity in dry season to power the whole country, the electricity goes out once or twice a day at different times. Early evening and morning are popular times because usage is high. Establishments – from 5 star hotels to street vendor stalls -- simply crank up their generators. 5 star properties have automatic switchover. Smaller properties may take several minutes to switch over. The Meera Hotel was slow to switch and only did so if it were dark outside. As a consequence, finding things in the darker corners of one’s room can be a challenge. Candles are available in every room, but given the fire hazard, travelers are advised to bring [or buy locally] a LED headlamp. When the generator is running at the Meera Hotel, it powers only two lights in each room and no electrical outlets [in Nepal’s 5 Star properties, the electrical outlets are powered]. So one cannot charge batteries of any sort. To the Meera Hotel’s credit they post a schedule of planned outages.
If you have a bit of time, we suggest you head to the roof patio. The views of the city and the World Peace Stupa are wonderful. There is an awning to shade you from the sun or rain. There are no services on this patio, so bring your own drinks and munchies. You can take the spiral staircase at the north edge to go one floor higher, where you will find a table and four chairs. I thought one might be able to connect to one of the wifi networks along the main street from this lofty perch, but alas the signals are not strong enough. So for computer connectivity you have to walk to the main street 100 yards to the east to find the closest establishment renting computer time. If you have a laptop and wish a wifi connection, go the same 100 yards to the east and then another 100 yards to the south along the main street to the Moondance restaurant. Internet –albeit slow -- is 60 rupees an hour at the Moondance where you can also enjoy drinks and food. And they are pretty quick to start their generator when the power is off [one can even charge laptop batteries at several tables near outlets].
The preceding review may scare travelers who like the amenities and the level of functionality of three, four, and five star western hotels. However, the Meera Hotel is in Nepal and may very well be as good as one can find in the tourist area referred to as “lakeside” or “europe”. Comparing the outside of the Meera Hotel to others in the region, one would certainly place it in the upper quarter.
- Also Known As:
- Meera Hotel Pokhara
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