You're staring at Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam. Nipping into your en suite bathroom, you take a hot shower, and you try your best not to lose the soap as you're gawping at outrageous snowy peaks through the bathroom window.
Of course you saw it all the night before too, whilst having dinner (and perhaps a cheeky glass of wine) before retiring to the comfort of your bedroom and admiring the lofty Himalayas, now dark silhouettes beneath the even darker but star-filled sky. To top it off, you've got electricity and wifi, so you can really annoy your friends back at home with 'live' images via 'facetweets'. You still had to trek there, so you did earn it. And yes, the above scenario is a reality. It's not a dream.
The advent of a new breed of higher-standard luxury trekking lodges in Nepal is great.
We'd describe them as 'amazing', particularly when you take into account that they are often days or weeks from the nearest road head. Just how did they get the beds, toilets, and the like up there?
At the moment, these luxury trekking lodges are to be found primarily in the Everest and Annapurna regions, although one or two are popping up in other areas like Upper Mustang too.
In Nepal, we refer to this new breed of trekkers lodges as comfort lodges. However, western tour operators (perhaps with overzealous marketing departments) promoted them as luxury trekking lodges (without seeing them for themselves), and as that seems to have caught on, then we do too.
These purpose-built establishments are (all things considered) a marvel, but let's not confuse them with a 5-star deluxe hotel.
Unlike the standard trekkers lodge or tea house, the luxury trekking lodges in Nepal tend to be part of a management group (e.g., ESL, Yeti Mountain Homes, Ker & Downey), and they are most certainly of a much, much higher standard than the basic trekkers lodge.
Of course they vary, but as a general rule, they all provide private, comfortable bedrooms with much more in the way of creature comforts than a simple tea house.
Cosy beds with clean linen and blankets or duvets are the norm, as is the welcome addition of soft furnishings too. Bedrooms usually have electricity for lighting and some plug points. Sleeping bags are definitely not required.
Importantly, all rooms are en-suite with western-style flushing toilets, hot showers, and hand basins. Towels are provided too.
The lodges will have a dining room, lounge area, and sometimes even a bar as well.
Invariably these comfort trekking lodges are in some fairly spectacular locations and given their remoteness you really do have to wonder how they were built at all. Many have some form of private garden, too.
Most, if not all, have free wifi.
The staff is usually professionally trained to provide a high level of customer service, and the meals served are of a higher standard than at a basic lodge. Unlike the basic tea houses, the meat dishes served at these luxury trekkers lodges tend to be safe to eat.
However, even these so-called luxury trekking lodges have limitations due to their locations, particularly heating. Some lodge bedrooms may not have any heating source due to the limited power supply high in the Himalayas. But, public areas will have a fire/stove and at night your bed will either have an electric blanket, or staff will provide you with a hot water bottle.
Were you to step inside a locals home in these parts of the Himalayas, then these comfort lodges are indeed luxurious in comparison.