KATHMANDU: Hotel Central Plaza in Kohalpur, Banke has been awarded a five-star rating, bringing the number of hotels in this luxury category to 13.

Hotel Central Plaza was awarded the five-star rating on February 26 after completing an evaluation of the hotel, said Rajesh Kumar Lamsal, an official of the department. Hotel Central Plaza has 80 rooms with 99 beds.

“As Marriott Kathmandu has also applied for the five-star rating, we are preparing to conduct a field inspection of the hotel,” he said, adding that the hotel would be granted the rating soon if it meets all the required criteria.

According to industry insiders, two five-star hotels—Chhaya Centre in Thamel and Hotel Pawan Palace in Lumbini—are set to open by June.

As per the new provision, a five-star hotel can be opened outside the Valley with 80 rooms. Earlier, the minimum number of rooms required was 100.

In February, the department had awarded the five-star rating to Soaltee Westend Premier in Nepalgunj. The Soaltee Westend Premier, formerly Soaltee Sibkrim Hotels and Resorts, in Nepalgunj, had initially applied for a four-star rating, but it reapplied for a five-star rating after the government relaxed requirements for the construction of star hotels outside the Kathmandu Valley in a bid to spread out tourism.

With Hotel Central Plaza, Nepalgunj now has two five-star hotels. Hotels have been proliferating in Nepalgunj due to the flood of Manasarovar-bound pilgrims to the city.

This trade and industrial hub in southwestern Nepal is a convenient jumping-off point for Indian tourists making the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra in Tibet, China. More than 15,000 Indian pilgrims visit the sacred place over the Nepalgunj-Simikot-Hilsa route annually. The season for the holy journey normally begins in May and lasts till September.

In 2017, the Tourism Department awarded a five-star rating to the Tiger Palace Resort at Kotihawa, Bhairahawa. The 100-room property, which is the first integrated five-star casino resort in South Asia, was developed by Australian-listed Silver Heritage Group.

The country currently has 13 five-star hotels. Among them, the Fulbari Resort and Spa, Pokhara has closed while the Everest Hotel, Baneshwor, which closed following the 2015 earthquake, is expected to reopen after retrofitting.