Home Beyond the Border Dwarika Chhen (World Heritage Hotel & Apartments): A Charming Boutique Hotel

Dwarika Chhen (World Heritage Hotel & Apartments): A Charming Boutique Hotel

by Ragini Puri October 13, 2017 9 comments
Dwarika Chhen, World Heritage Hotel & Apartments, Nepal, Nepal Tourism, Nepal Tourism Board, Kathmandu, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Basantapur Durbar Square, Hotels, Resorts, Property Review, Boutique Hotel, Travel, Tourism

During our travels, we get to stay in a variety of accommodations as per our travelling style and budget. While memories of run-of-the-mill hotels fade away faster than the dullest ink, recollections of unique stay experiences and accommodations remain fresh in a traveller’s memory for quite a long time. During my recent Nepal trip, I had the opportunity to stay at Dwarika Chhen, a charming boutique hotel in Kathmandu, and this stay did not just leave me with happy memories to cherish but also underscored my preference for boutique properties.

Here’s a little note on what makes Dwarika Chhen a unique stay option and why spending 3 days at Dwarika Chhen was a fantastic start to the 9-day long Nepal trip.

Behind the name ‘Dwarika Chhen’

Chhen in the Newar dialect means home. Newars, as you already know from my last post, are the original settlers of the Kathmandu valley and pride themselves as the custodians of the religion, culture, and civilization of Nepal.

So Dwarika Chhen translates to Dwarika’s Home. This unique property is, in essence, a traditional Newari house that has now evolved into a small and well-managed boutique hotel. Formally, the hotel is known as World Heritage Hotel & Apartments but is popular in the community as Dwarika Chhen. Named after its owner Late Dr. Dwarika Prasad Manandhar, this hotel has been home to the Manandhar family for over 300 years and is now owned and run by Mr. Sagar Manandhar and his lovely wife Mrs. Sindhu Manandhar.

Dwarika Chhen, World Heritage Hotel & Apartments, Nepal, Nepal Tourism, Nepal Tourism Board, Kathmandu, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Basantapur Durbar Square, Hotels, Resorts, Property Review, Boutique Hotel, Travel, Tourism, heritage, Nepal architecture, Travel Blogger

The hotel courtyard

Hands-on hosts

If I were to give just one reason on why the stay at Dwarika Chhen stands out in my memory then without a doubt it would be the warm hospitality of the owners and staff at the hotel. Mrs. and Mr. Manandhar are the most hands-on hoteliers I have come across. From early in the morning until quite late in the night, they were out and about, asking after the hotel guests and supervising the hotel staff.

Mr. Sagar Manandhar, in particular, could be seen animatedly interacting with the guests and talking to him was like getting access to a goldmine of city knowledge! Not only I could ask him questions about the history of the Kathmandu Durbar Square but also got to learn plentiful trivia about Nepal’s famous Indra Jatra festival.  Isn’t it wonderful when you get the insider version about a country’s festival rather than the textbook touristy answers!

Awe-inspiring architecture

One of the many things that I absolutely loved about Dwarika Chhen is its pretty architecture that seamlessly blends with the ancient buildings in the neighbourhood. The main red brick building of the hotel complex is embellished with ornamental wooden windows and doors.

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Heritage windows

Some window panels date back to over 800 years and it is incredible how they have been preserved all these years! While these windows added character to the facade, the ones inside my tastefully furnished room were just as delightful. Look at the window panel in the picture below, if only I had time, I would sit there and observe Kathmandu street life for hours!

My room at Dwarika Chhen

Dwarika Chhen, World Heritage Hotel & Apartments, Nepal, Nepal Tourism, Nepal Tourism Board, Kathmandu, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Basantapur Durbar Square, Hotels, Resorts, Property Review, Boutique Hotel, Travel, Tourism, heritage, Nepal architecture, Travel Blogger

The wooden jaali screen for the windows

Strategic Location

Dwarika Chhen cannot be more strategically located – the guests living here can walk out of the back door and step right in the middle of the Kathmandu Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hotel is located in the heart of the city, right next to the Durbar Square. The Durbar Square is a complex of ancient temples and shrines with incredible architecture and tops Kathmandu’s must-see lists.

Savouring traditional Newari meals

It will be an injustice to Dwarika Chhen’s hospitality if I do not mention its food here. The multi-cuisine menu here has a variety of Indian, continental and traditional Newari food. Though honestly, some Nepali delicacies are definitely an acquired taste but having tried a few items on the menu, I can say that I enjoyed sampling the local fare, particularly the samay baji set and poori bhaji.

Dwarika Chhen, World Heritage Hotel & Apartments, Nepal, Nepal Tourism, Nepal Tourism Board, Kathmandu, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Basantapur Durbar Square, Hotels, Resorts, Property Review, Boutique Hotel, Travel, Tourism, heritage, Nepal architecture, Travel Blogger

Dwarika Chhen, World Heritage Hotel & Apartments, Nepal, Nepal Tourism, Nepal Tourism Board, Kathmandu, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Basantapur Durbar Square, Hotels, Resorts, Property Review, Boutique Hotel, Travel, Tourism, heritage, Nepal architecture, Travel Blogger

Poori Bhaaji – a favourite!

The only grouse was that sometimes the food took forever to arrive, but of course, when it finally did, the freshness and taste compensate for the endless wait.

Small on size, big on personality

Dwarika Chhen is not a very expansive property, and with most of its hustle and bustle centred around its courtyard, it makes for quite a cozy and homely hotel. So in essence at Dwarika Chhen, I could experience the best of both worlds – a homestay and a boutique hotel. The charming traditional setting, the intimate atmosphere, and the authentic Newari experience all made for an unforgettable stay experience.

If you are looking at trading the cookie-cutter experience of regular hotels with a stay experience that is more personalized and spirited then do consider Dwarika Chhen when you are in Kathmandu next.
You can know about the hotel from their website.

Note: My Nepal trip was sponsored by Explore Himalaya Travel & Adventure, in association with Nepal Tourism BoardThe views expressed in the post are my own.

*This is not a sponsored post.

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9 comments

Kristel October 13, 2017 at 9:03 pm

Looks like a cozy place to stay. I’m actually currently planning an India & Nepal itinerary and following your Nepal posts. 🙂 Btw, food photos look so appetizing!

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Anu October 13, 2017 at 9:18 pm

I wish I knew about this when I visited Nepal. We stayed so far away from the city that we spent a lot of time travelling to and from the city.

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Megan October 13, 2017 at 9:32 pm

This looks so inviting and interesting, and delicious! Thanks for the tip on a great little hotel. 🙂

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Yaswanth Jayakumar October 13, 2017 at 9:44 pm

Amazing photo of the room. Nepalese cuisine is awesome, although as you do say, it is an acquired taste. But, the freshness of the vegetables kind of makes the long wait worth it.
Do read our blog posts about Lumbini in Nepal.

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Synz October 16, 2017 at 7:39 am

I see a growing list of world heritage hotel and apartment. This is an awesome stay. And with a host so hands on with their guest and staff I would definitely stay in this hotel. I love to hear historical stories about the place directly from a local, rather than reading it on a guide book.

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anshul October 27, 2017 at 10:54 pm

Nice description. It is 11 PM and now I want to eat Puri Bhaji

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Marvi October 28, 2017 at 11:08 am

Love that the owners are very hands-on. It’s pretty seldom to see that these days. 🙂 And you’re quite right.. The architecture is pretty unique for a hotel. Vey well-preserved! It doesn’t hurt too that the location is great! 😉 It would pretty much save time and money to be in the center of the activity!

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arv! October 28, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Looks like just my kind of hotel. Having a strategic location is a big boon, saves time and money!

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Holly October 28, 2017 at 6:02 pm

The courtyard looks like such a relaxing place to sit and enjoy some of that delicious poori bhaaji…that seriously looks so tasty! I completely agree with you that great hospitality can really take your stay to the next level. So many places don’t understand that but it sounds like they really go the extra mile. What a great find!

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