Ms Yak & Yeti
On any given day, General Manager Monika Scheiblauer can be seen making her way over the polished wood floors of the Yak & Yeti Hotel, her smile gracious and the lilt of her speech easily recognised as German.
Scheiblauer is the first woman general manager of the hotel located off Darbar Marg and the only woman general manager of a five-star hotel in Kathmandu Valley at the moment. Before she came to Nepal in 2017, she managed hotels in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Thailand, Malaysia, and Bahrain.
“It has been more than two years that I have worked in this organisation and I feel at home, with an overall sense of warmth and belonging,” says Scheiblauer, who says she had always dreamt of visiting Nepal. “I have made wonderful memories here that will stay with me forever.”
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Although Scheiblauer always wanted to visit, she had never imagined that she may one day live and work in Nepal. “It was never on my bucket list,” she admits. But since her arrival, Scheiblauer has been fascinated by the country’s rich heritage, cultural diversity, variety of cuisine, age-old festivals and kind people.
Scheiblauer encourages more young women to join the hospitality industry at higher managerial positions. “I feel we are living in a constantly changing world and it is empowering that women are given more opportunities in today’s context,” she says. “Women tend to have high emotional intelligence, which is extremely important in the hotel industry where people serve people.”
In her two years at Yak & Yeti Scheiblauer has overseen the restoration of Lal Durbar, the re-launch of The Chimney, the hotel’s oldest restaurant, and the establishment of Spice Room, a fine-dining Indian restaurant. The iconic Lal Durbar, built by Bir Shumsher Rana in 1885, was turned into Nepal’s first hotel for international clientele, The Hotel Royal, in 1977 and now comprises one of Yak & Yeti’s two wings. Its distinctive façade has been faithfully restored. The red marble used inside was originally shipped from Italy and carried by porters from Kolkata to Kathmandu and the building now houses the hotel’s conference facility.
The new Spice Room serves an array of elevated north and south Indian dishes. The Chimney, for its part, is 50 years old and houses a 60-year-old copper chimney. The restaurant rebranded itself as a ‘fun-dining’ restaurant in 2018 but continues to serve such dishes as Russian borscht and Chicken ala Kiev, timeless classics introduced by Boris Lissanevitch when he established the restaurant and for which it has been known.