Trekking in Nepal – in the Everest region of the Himalayas – had been on my “absolutely must do” Travel List for years. Finally, my big dream was becoming a reality as I assembled a group of like-minded sports friends and found a great guide to lead us. Gary Scott, an Aussie-American mountain climber, had spent 25 years in Nepal as a guide. Yep, he was our man!
Our Nepal trip would include 9 days of trekking and 4 days in Kathmandu (at the start and end). Our intrepid group counted 6 from San Diego and 6 from Hawaii – with an average age of 55. We would begin the trek with a flight into Lukla, gateway to the Everest region. There, we would meet our Sherpa guides and porters (who would carry our large duffles). We would stay in guest lodges all along the way, offering a range of accommodations (plus meals) from basic to decent.
As we finalized our Nepal plans, Gary wanted to spice things up with a special treat – a one-night stay at the Hotel Everest View. Since our group was not trekking (happily!) all the way to Everest Base Camp (17,500 ft.), the hotel was our best chance to get some great Mount Everest views (weather permitting!). Of course, it would cost more than the other lodges but we were game – especially after learning more from the website (below).
Hotel Everest View: Our Coming Attraction
Designed & built by the Japanese, Hotel Everest View is spectacularly located on a densely-forested ridge overlooking Mount Everest & the Everest range (see top photo). Opened in 1971, the hotel offers 360-degree views of the awe-inspiring Himalayan peaks. In addition, the hotel has received praise for the simple yet elegant design that coexists beautifully with its pristine surroundings.
Hotel Everest View’s altitude is 3880 meters (12,730 ft.). In 2004, it was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “Highest Placed Hotel” in the world. The hotel has 12 rooms, each offering panoramic views of Mt. Everest and the surrounding peaks (when skies are clear!)
Hotel Everest View serves delicious cuisine (including a Japanese set meal) in its 30-guest dining room as well as food and drink on its popular outdoor terrace. The hotel also has a sun room (solarium) and a rooftop patio. All to take advantage of the unbeatable views. All sounds great – Sign Me Up!
Let the “Easter Surprise” Story Begin
We’ve now arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal and flown to Lukla by small plane (photo above). From there, it took us two days of trekking (mostly UP!) to reach Namche Bazaar, the region’s largest town and main trading center. Namche (altitude ~12,000 ft.) supports a multitude of trekkers from around the globe – many on their way to Everest Base Camp.
The bustling Sherpa town of Namche offers visitors a wide variety of lodges & guest houses, restaurants and bars, trekking stores, tourist shops, plus Internet cafes and tasty bakeries. There’s even a small movie theatre (selling popcorn!) showing films like “Into Thin Air” (which we attended). It was all quite a fun scene!
Saturday, April 7 – Nepal Trek Day 4
After spending two nights in Namche Bazaar at the Sherpa Land Hotel, we headed out around 9am for a really big day. First, we would be hiking to the traditional Sherpa villages of Khunde and Khumjung for a quick visit before making our way to Hotel Everest View for a late lunch and our overnight stay.
After a bit of an uphill climb from Namche, we passed the unpaved Syangboche airstrip (12,400 ft.), which delivers some of Hotel Everest View’s guests (a 45-minute walk away). Immediately after the airstrip, we took the left “fork in the trail” to trek to Khunde where we had a lovely visit (plus food & butter tea) at the home of Pemba & Nima, our head Sherpa guides.
It was a short walk to the neighboring village of Khumjung. There we toured the local Gompa (Tibetan monastery) and the Hillary School – built in 1961 for local Sherpa children by famous (& beloved) mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary. As you know, he was the first to conquer Mt. Everest (along with Tenzing Norgay) in 1953.
Hotel Everest View – We’ve Arrived!
From Khumjung, it was just a short half-hour walk (albeit a bit of a climb!) though beautiful scenery to reach Hotel Everest View – our long-anticipated destination. We arrived around 2pm, just in time to sit down for an elegant lunch, complete with china and white tablecloths. This was definitely not your typical trekker guest lodge & meal!
After lunch, we checked into our spacious rooms. Each had large windows (and sliding glass doors) that opened onto a large patio. Unfortunately, the mountains of Everest were covered in clouds so no great views right now. However, we had all our fingers crossed that the skies would clear sometime before we left the next morning. We desperately wanted to see those “out of this world” Everest views!
Even though all rooms had bathrooms, the water was apparently much hotter down the hall at the “community shower” near reception. So, we signed up for a time on the shower list and dutifully waited our turn. The shower had two stalls, complete with soap, shampoo and really hot water. Plus, there was a heater inside and a hair dryer too. For us trekkers, this was decadent and worth the wait!
Dinner & Entertainment (By Gary & Nature)
Around 6pm, we met in the dining room area where staff had started a fire in the large central fireplace. We sat around the warm fire chatting until it was time for dinner. We were served a beef dish, vegetables, French fried potatoes, and lemon custard. One other guest was staying at the hotel that night – a German trekker – so he bravely joined our jovial group.
After dinner, we headed back to the fireplace – where Gary entertained us with his many stories from years of mountain climbing & guiding, including a few on Everest itself! I vaguely remember one story involved a sighting of the fabled Yeti, the Abominable Snowman of the Himalayan region. Hmm… could this really be true?
Around 9pm, the “weather gods” took mercy on us and parted the clouds just enough to give us our first view of the mountains! Excitedly, we headed outside for beautiful night views under moonlit skies. Gary helped identify the three big peaks – Mount Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablan in front of us. Very cool!
Unfortunately, the weather quickly fogged up again by 9:45pm. But, at least, we had gotten a peek. Before we headed off to our rooms, we all made a pact that the group’s early risers (not me!) would make sure to knock on patio doors to wake us up if the skies cleared again in the morning. I imagine that I wasn’t the only one making a special prayer request that night!
Sunday, April 8 – Nepal Trek Day 5
The next morning, my roommate Debbie and I were awakened at 5:40am by a loud knock at the window. The first hint of light had appeared and the skies were totally clear! Plus, the ground was covered in white – it had snowed overnight! This was unbelievable – our prayers had been answered. We quickly put on warm clothes and joined our friends out on the patio.
We could hardly contain our excitement as we gazed out at the spectacular view before us. There was Mount Everest at the end of the long valley – just 20 short miles away! A large plume of snow, as is often the case, was blowing from its summit. This iconic plume, apparently, provides evidence of the strong jet stream winds that can buffet the world’s tallest mountain.
We all stood there enjoying the majestic scene, in the ever-changing morning light. Cameras were busy flashing, as we drank coffee and reveled in this very special moment. In time, we migrated upstairs to the hotel’s rooftop patio & observation deck for some more views, group photos and low-key snowball fights.
We eventually worked our way back down to the dining room for breakfast, still enjoying the clear skies and stellar mountain views shining through the large windows. It was then that we realized that today – this Sunday morning, April 8th – was Easter! What serendipity…
What an amazing Easter Surprise we had been given by God/ Spirit/ Nature/ the Universe/ Good Luck (whatever name you might use). We had truly been blessed this Easter morning with clear skies, freshly fallen snow, and the most amazing views of Mt. Everest – including a spewing plume of snow!
As we departed the hotel at 9am to begin another full day of trekking, we looked back for a final view of Mt. Everest & the Hotel Everest View. We had such gratitude for this unique Hotel that had provided us trekkers with such good food & lodging – and a special Easter Everest experience we will remember the rest of our lives!
Answers to Your Common Questions
For those of you who like mountain stats, here are the heights of those three peaks – Mount Everest (8850m /29,035 ft.), Lhotse (8501m /27,890 ft.), and Ama Dablan (6856m /22,493 ft.).
How Do People Get to Hotel Everest View?
The Hotel Everest View attracts both overnight guests and day-trippers. Some are trekkers who come from Namche Bazaar (2 hours away) to enjoy lunch & the views before returning to Namche or continuing to the nearby villages of Khumjung or Khunde. In addition, the hotel is a popular breakfast destination for visitors after taking a helicopter mountain flight.
Per the hotel website, it is possible for guests to charter a 5-seater helicopter to take them directly from Kathmandu (4,500 ft.) to the nearby Syangboche airstrip (a 45-minute walk from the hotel) OR land at the hotel’s heli pad. During the peak months in spring and autumn, a helicopter shuttle service between Lukla (9,300 ft.) and Syangboche (12,400 ft.) is often available.
The Syangboche airstrip has no scheduled air services. Most aircraft landing and departing are helicopters and STOL (short takeoff and landing) aircraft making chartered flights from Kathmandu or Lukla.
It is not uncommon for people visiting the Syangboche airstrip to be out of breath, due to the high altitude (12,400 ft.) – especially if they have just flown in from lower elevations. Trekkers who have walked all the way to Namche Bazaar from Lukla (and onto the Hotel Everest View) have much less of a problem since their bodies have had time to acclimate more gradually.
Hotel Everest View keeps oxygen tanks on hand for guests who might be suffering ill effects from the altitude. Luckily, none of our group needed oxygen but the photo helps tells the story.
For More Information on Hotel Everest View:
To learn more about the Nepal Trek, check out my other post: Trekking in Nepal’s Himalayas & Everest Region – What’s It Really Like?
COMMENTS: Have you gone trekking in Nepal? If so, which region? How was your experience? If not, would you want to visit or stay at the Hotel Everest View?
John McNeil says
Janet, reading and seeing the pictures of Mt Everest were fascinating. Your writing made me feel like I was with you on the trip! I always look forward to reading your monthly travel stories!
Planet Janet says
Thanks so much, John. Glad you enjoyed the “vicarious” trip to Mt. Everest with me. We both had it way easier than the actual mountain climbers who continue all the way to Everest Base Camp and then attempt to scale that beautiful but deadly mountain!