Fish Tail Lodge
If you're a history buff or just on a mission to see all "1,000 Places to See Before You Die," request Room #17 at Fish Tail Lodge, where both Prince Charles and President Jimmy Carter stayed. It's one of four heritage suites at this historic 60-room property, composed mainly of cottages set on the tip of a peninsula on Phewa Lake, which can only be reached by boat or water shuttle.
The secluded location and unique history justify why Fish Tail Lodge (est. 1969) is more expensive than most in Lakeside, and the outdated rooms are charming nonetheless. Other amenities include a small spa, pool with bar (open seasonally), garden, restaurant, and access to boats.
Big Pillow Inn
Since opening in October 2017, Big Pillow Inn has already made a big splash in Pokhara's overflowing hotel market thanks to its incredible value, central location, and stylish decor. It's not trying to be anything more than a simple and cozy "cultural bed & breakfast" whose 25 rooms are inspired by the traditional architecture of three ethnic groups in Nepal: Newari (1st and 5th floors), Thakali (2nd and 3rd floors), and Gurung (4th floor).
And it delivers, particularly when it comes to the beds, which might be the plushest in all of Pokhara. Breakfast is served in the lobby and features local organic coffee and your choice of freshly made aloo paratha, eggs, fresh fruit, etc. Additional perks include AC, free WiFi, flat-screen TVs, attached balconies, an elevator, a limited concierge, and an amazing rooftop that's perfect for watching sunrise or sunset.
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Watch paragliders descend onto the north shores of Phewa Lake from the comforts of your room in this bi-level contemporary rotunda, which is a rare architectural find in Pokhara.
Krishna's Cottages, composed of two 800 sq ft suites, is tucked away on a hillock behind Krishna's Kitchen, a wonderful Thai restaurant with a garden on Khapaundi Cove just two miles north of Lakeside. Besides the rooms, which are sunny and spacious, you'll be blown away by the bathrooms and walk-in shower, which are by far the coolest in all of Nepal.
Mum's Garden Resort
Stone cottages surround a beautiful courtyard at Mum's Garden Resort, the perfect place to unwind—or do downward dog - after a long day of activities in Pokhara. Established 20 years ago, it's one of the most unique places in Lakeside, particularly because it's so environmentally friendly. But its eco-committedness comes with a little warning: there's no AC in any of the resort's 12 deluxe rooms (which stay coolish thanks to the bungalows made from hand-cut stone), so you may want to think twice if you're planning to visit in summer.
Mum's Garden Resort also has its own restaurant and bar. But if you want to venture out, it's only a 10-min walk to the best Italian restaurant in town, Caffe Concerto. Or, if you prefer to pamper yourself in other ways, head over to Kinjalla Spa at Temple Tree Resort, which is one of the best resorts around Pokhara and just across the street.
You'll want to make yourself at home as soon as you enter Hotel Karuna, a four-story, 24-room hotel that opened in 2017. The colorful and peppy lobby, featuring bright blue and lime pillows, cushioned wooden furniture, and contemporary Tibetan rugs, doubles as a boutique pour-over bar that serves Kar.Ma Coffee. (The Kathmandu-based brand sources much of its organic coffee locally from around Pokhara.) Enjoy a complimentary cup with your breakfast, also served in the lobby, either here or out in the courtyard. And if you need an afternoon pick-me-up, coffee is available for purchase throughout the day.
Twenty rooms come with balconies, and all are decorated in a fresh and modern Nepali style. Inside tip: The rooms on the upper floors have the best views (lake or mountain)—as does the rooftop. However, please note that this hotel does not have an elevator.
While it's not the newest hotel in town, the family-run Sampada Inn has excellent traditional character for a standard-priced boutique hotel. Unlike the concrete properties that are being constructed everywhere, 21-room Sampada Inn is made of ancient bricks from Bhaktapur and features dark hand-carved woodwork on the exterior, so it's Newari to the core.