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Legendary Kathmandu hotel to reopen

The Yak and Yeti hotel that played host to JL Nehru and Spain's King Carlos is set to reopen.

india Updated: Mar 28, 2006 15:58 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

A hotel here that has played host to Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Spain's King Carlos and Hollywood superstar Ingrid Bergman is poised to reopen after its closure last year.

The Yak and Yeti hotel, one of the capital's seven five-star hotels, had been closed due to a dispute between the management and employees.

But it could be reopened within a week, according to Shiva Ram Thapa, president of corporate affairs at the hotel.

The Yak and Yeti had metamorphosed into a luxury hotel in the 1970s from a restaurant of the same name run by Boris Lissanevitch, an extraordinary Russian émigré.

Lissanevitch was equally well known for his skills as a ballet dancer, and his prowess at tiger hunting and his fabulous hospitality made him the buddy of kings and maharajas.

Following differences between the man, known as the father of tourism in Nepal, and his business partner and Indian Radheshyam Saraf, Lissanevitch exited from the venture to start another restaurant. The Yak and Yeti passed into Saraf's ownership.

On Christmas Eve last year, the peak season for hotels, the Yak and Yeti closed down after a dispute employees and the management.

It has remained closed since then, causing the owners, according to Shiva Ram Thapa, president of corporate affairs at the hotel, a loss of nearly Nepali Rs 50 million.

The loss incurred in the last three months equals that sustained in the last five years, Thapa told the media.

The dispute rose over the employees' demand for hikes in pay, insurance and other facilities.

Things took a twist after that with the hotel introducing a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) to cut down on the number of employees.

At the beginning of this month, when the VRS deadline ended, only 10 staffers had agreed to retire though the hotel was trying to get 114 employees sign up.

At that time Thapa had warned that the hotel could remain closed "for at least six months to years" if the employees did not cooperate.

Since then, the hotel seems to have managed to reach an agreement with the two main employees' unions signing an agreement on Sunday.

But the full details of the 23-point agreement were not known immediately.

First Published: Mar 28, 2006 15:53 IST