Himalaya Lodge, Ghandruk
The former mountain home is perched over the ancient village of Ghandruk at an altitude of 1,980 metres. Whilst trekking in the Annapurna region there are numerous tea houses (what lodges are commonly known as in the Himalayas) that play host to weary walkers offering simple but warm and welcoming accommodation. Himalaya Lodge is now owned by Ker & Downey which guarantees a set level of great service. Rooms are simple but have warm blankets and ensuite bathrooms with hot water! The added luxury of puffa jackets, fleece hats and gloves are also provided (remember not to walk away with them!) for when the temperature drops radically as the sun goes behind the mountains. There are 10 rooms spread over two levels and the Annapurna range is in full view from each room. Accommodation in the mountains is often basic and rather uncomfortable, but the Ker & Downey lodges are a welcome change. Although hot water can never be guaranteed in Nepal, Himalaya Lodge makes a strong effort in ensuring a 98% success rate!
Food at the lodge is vegetarian and diners can expect steaming plates filled with freshly made momos and chilli sauce. After the sun sets, you want to make a beeline for the main lodge has two huge open fires which keep guests toasty in the cold evenings. Everest beer is also served, even in this remote village, so you can celebrate making it to the end of the day with an ice cold beer, or indeed a warming cup of spicy chai tea!
Whilst stopping over at Himalaya Lodge it is a must to walk down into Ghandruk itself. Ghandruk is the second largest Gurung village in Nepal (the Gurungs are the tribe from which the Gurkha regiment focus their recruitment) and rural village life bustles along quietly in this remote region, prayer flags flutter next to Buddhist shrines and the bright orange robes of monks hang on washing lines. Some entrepreneurial youngsters have also set up a coffee stall at the top of the village near Himalaya Lodge – so start your day well by heading there for a Nespresso and biscotti.