If you go to Dhulikhel in Kavre district; Hotel Mt. Princess is a most heard name. They are well known for their hospitality. Jyotsna Sainju, the owner of the hotel runs it very proudly. However she is very simple as she works together with the staff and is always busy. Some people think she is merely a paid staff; so that is her modesty.There is high competition in the hotel industry, even in Dhulikhel. Many hotels have come up here with the passing time.
“Some people just start hotel looking at others. So there is unhealthy competition,” complains Sainju.
So far there are sixty hotels in Dhulikhel. But only three women are the owners of hotels so far. Renowned tourism entrepreneur Ambika Shrestha’s daughter Sangita Shrestha runs the Dwarika chain here. Also Fulmaya Tamang owns the Bhattedada guest house.
For Sainju it was not an easy task though, to run a hotel in loss. Her father Jyoti Prasad Sainju had commenced it in 2008 with great dreams. However his frail health condition because of blood cancer had swayed the family. Though they had two hotels, they had to sell the one in Banepa. She was the eldest of three sisters. And she strongly felt the responsibility on her shoulders. Almost two and a half years, they were in India for their father’s treatment.
Everybody thought as how the poor girls would manage the family business with father’s draining health condition.
“Many of our relatives pitied us, but they discouraged us to continue with the business. Some even approached us to sell the property to them,” she recalls.
But they were assertive about not putting a halt to their father’s dream project. Since there was a huge loan burden of three crore rupees on their head. So they had to sell one hotel. Only few relatives and friends showed genuine sympathy towards them. There were many who did the back biting and said they would not be able to put the business back into tracks.
“Now they say, oh these people have succeeded in grooming the business. They have kept the family name !” she reveals. Though the property was their own, first there were only 10 rooms. Though their father had a big dream about Mt. Princess, it was at the starting phase like a guest house. Their father left them when main building was being built. So they had to sell another hotel. Then each year with the profit earned, they have added more rooms to the building.
Jyotsna is actually a qualified Computer Engineer. But she diverted her career and chose to continue with her father’s business. Being the eldest daughter, she had no alternative. The second sister is a nurse in Australia and the youngest is in media. She had sturdy backing of her husband during the hard days. She never thought, they should yield to the imprudent remarks of some people, just because they were daughters. Since six years now, she has successfully conducted her duties and is satisfied with the business.
How did you get the courage? the walker team inquired. “I knew if we work hard, things would change one day,” she explains.
“Now we have little loan remaining,” she says with a smile. In the backyard, they grow some green vegetables too. There are also some fruit trees around like the Lemon, orange, peach, blue berries etc. In the limited space itself they have made effort to make the premises green. Now there are total 21 rooms in the hotel. She aspires to add more rooms and a hall now. NGOs, Government offices, banks along others come to their hotel for seminars, training and meetings. Families and couples come for week ends. The Newari food is popular.
Foreign guests often compliment her for the work she has been doing. “In your country women work a lot. During trekking we see a lot of women carrying big loads and doing hard work,” they tell her. She told the walker that this is because many go abroad, is the explanation she gives them. She has been to the US, Australia, Thailand and India. Also she wishes to visit Europe and Africa. She has heard a lot about the wild life in Zambia and others.
Three years back she had received an award from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supply. Also in 2018, she had been in the list of twenty successful women entrepreneurs of Nepal. She had been awarded by the SAARC Chamber Women Entrepreneur Council (SCWEC). She and the owner of Hotel Annapurna Srijana Rana had been selected from hotel industry. She earns an average of 15 lakh per month now, with some seasonal constraints. They have 15 staffs; 5 are part time.
They stay in Banepa, in their ancestral place. Earlier, that was the place where their ancestors had a family shop with a lot of farm land or fields. Their mother stays with them. Sometimes she also visits the hotel in Dhulikhel and is glad about her daughter’s work. So now it is the time to feel relaxed and think what next can be done now !