Soaltee Hotel celebrated golden jubilee
26th Nov, 2016 | Tourism Mail Crew
KATHMANDU: The Soaltee Crowne Plaza celebrated its golden jubilee on Friday by announcing the launch of two new ventures outside Kathmandu. Nepal’s hospitality industry has suffered myriad problems in the long years since the landmark property threw open its doors in 1966.
“It’s our corporate culture that had a positive impact on the company’s growth,” said Prabhakar SJB Rana, chairman emeritus of the Soaltee Crowne Plaza, in an address to the celebration event.
“The first approach we took is the corporate culture. And we continue to maintain transparency. That’s why the Soaltee Hotel is one of the most transparent companies in Nepal,” he said. “After completing a half century of operations in Kathmandu, we are now moving outside the Capital.”
The Soaltee is expanding its portfolio with a four-star property in Nepalgunj, its first hotel outside Kathmandu. “And Pokhara will be our next venture,” said Rana.
The four-star property located in western Nepal’s commercial and travel hub is scheduled for a soft launch by mid-2017. Costing Rs550 million, the new property will bear the brand name Soaltee and offer 81 guest rooms. The new property incorporates a separate unit for vocational training related to the hospitality business, spa facility, swimming pool and banquet facilities for 250 people. The Soaltee has had a very interesting journey.
It was founded in 1966 by the late prince Himalaya Bikram Shah and the late princess Princep Rajya Laxmi. The hotel was formally inaugurated by late king Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev in 1966 with 104 rooms. In 1969, Soaltee Hotel was incorporated as a private limited company. In the same year, Oberoi Hotels (India) Pvt Ltd, with its investment in shares capital of the company was entrusted with operational management of the hotel and it was rebranded as ‘Hotel Soaltee Oberoi’.
In 1975, the company a proprietorship before was converted to a public limited company with an investment in the shares capital of the company by Soaltee Enterprises, Nepal Industrial Development Corporation, International Finance Corporation, Oberoi Hotels (India) Pvt Ltd, Nepal Airlines Corporation, promoters and public. It was renamed as Soaltee Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza Kathmandu in 1994 and was operated by Holiday Inns China Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of InterContinental Hotels.
In 1998, Soaltee Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza was rebranded as Soaltee Crowne Plaza Kathmandu. In 2011, Oberoi Hotels sold its entire stake in the hotel to a Nepali company Sibkrim Land and Industrial Company, a member of the NE Group. It constructed an additional 180 rooms named the Himalaya Wing Block in 1981.
“The Kathmandu Valley is on course to add 4,000 hotel rooms by 2020, with a number of five- and four-star properties currently under construction,” said Amar Man Shakya, president of Hotel Association Nepal.
“A number of popular global hotel brands are entering the Nepali market and this reflects a bright side in the hospitality sector.” He, however, said that the industry faced a huge challenge increasing tourist numbers. Obviously, we need to focus on the Chinese and Indian markets to boost arrivals.