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Top Luxury Hotels in Bhutan

November,20 2019 BY Sonam Tenphel 0 COMMENTS

Hidden away in the Himalayas between China and India, this small country is the size of Switzerland, but with a much lower population. Known as the Dragon Kingdom or the Forbidden Kingdom, Bhutan is one of Asia’s best-kept secrets, and until recently, was an isolated country deliberately cut off from the rest of the world. Now becoming a popular tourist resort for those who can afford the high-end prices, Bhutan was visited in 2016 by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, better known as Prince William, heir to the British throne, and Catherine Middleton. Filled with stunning landscapes and soaring mountains, Bhutan is one of the few places on the planet that applies sustainable tourism, and has a belief known as Gross National Happiness, which is one of the operating concepts of governance in the Kingdom.

Ruled by King Jigme Singye Wangchuk the fourth, Bhutan is a fiercely independent nation, which has never been colonized and whose people are intensely proud of their ancient traditions. The people of Bhutan are deeply religious and soul-loving people, and they work hard to maintain their traditional heritage and way of life, while still welcoming foreign visitors to the country. The only place in the world that constantly maintains seventy percent of its land area as natural landscapes, with verdant plains, rolling hills, spectacular mountains, and unspoilt valleys, Bhutan is a blend of evolved spirituality, divine physical beauty, and a fascinating culture that will leave you in awe of its magical landscapes.

In order to maintain its integrity, Bhutan only allows a limited number of tourists to the country every year, and all flights in and out of the nation’s only international airport are run by the country’s own two airlines. One of the advantage of this restriction on tourism to Bhutan is the lack of tourist crowds due to the limited number of flights and the high tourist fees that are required to be paid by every visitor in order to enter the country. Tours to Bhutan can also only be arranged through a limited number of local tour operators, which are regulated by the government and even the Bhutan Visa cannot be arranged without one of these few tour operators. Many of the country’s hotels are of a high standard already, with a few five-star hotels, boutiques, and resorts dotted around the country. If you're looking for a Bhutan luxury tour, the following hotels could be your optimal choice.

Gangtey Lodge, Gangtey

A delightful wood and stone built luxury “farmhouse”, the Gangtey lodge was designed to blend a sumptuous luxury design with a comfortable, homely feel of typical Bhutanese lodge. Fitted with rich local fabrics, dark wooden beams, plush chairs and sofas, and earthen fireplaces, the lodge includes a spectacular floor to ceiling full-width window in the dining room and lounge area. Each of the lodge’s 12 super luxury rooms has a free-standing bath, cozy wood-burning stove, and a breathtaking view of the Gangtey valley and monastery.

 Gangtey Lodge, Gangtey Gangtey Lodge, Gangtey

The hotel offers excursions to its guests that include trekking and cycling with your registered guide, as well as balloon trips over the stunning pine-forest encrusted hillsides. The hotel has a new addition for its guests that will be a delight after a long day of exploring; a traditional Bhutanese hot-stone bathhouse and steam room. The bathhouse includes an aromatic bathing pool, and has on-hand masseurs for that professional relaxing massage. Now long established in the Bhutanese tourist scene, the Gangtey Lodge offers a warm and homely luxury experience.

Gangtey Palace Hotel, Paro

More than one hundred years old, and once the palace of the Penlope of Paro, the Gangtey Palace Hotel is one of the most beautiful and charming buildings in the town. All the rooms include private bathrooms with bathtubs, comfortable luxury beds, and stunning antique furniture, with views over the Paro valley and Paro Dzong. In-room entertainment includes flat-screen TVs with cable channels, and complimentary Wi-Fi internet as standard in all rooms. With 14 standard rooms and five luxury suites, the hotel is one of the best in Bhutan, and even the standard rooms are of almost luxurious design.

 Gangtey Palace Hotel, Paro Gangtey Palace Hotel, Paro

The building oozes with historical charm, and is convenient to the local sights such as the Rinpung Dzong and the Bhutan National Museum. The fully stocked bar and lounge area has a wide selection of drinks, including imported beers from around the world, and the restaurant offers local and international cuisine. The hotel also has an on-site spa and a full business center, as well as luxurious sculptured gardens for a light evening stroll.

Jumolhari Hotel, Thimphu

Located in the heart of Thimphu, the Jumolhari Hotel is a small hotel with very comfortable rooms and easy access to the town’s sights and shopping. With only nine suites, the hotel is an exclusive place with well equipped bedrooms, bathrooms, and their own lounges. Established in 1984, the hotel caters to the more discerning travelers, and has a boutique-style décor that combines marvelously with the traditional Bhutanese hospitality. The rooms all have Wi-Fi internet, flat screen TVs, International Direct Dial phones, 24-hour running hot water, air conditioning, and a mini bar.

 Jumolhari Hotel, Thimphu Jumolhari Hotel, Thimphul

While the hotel does not have the sculpted grounds of its fellow top-range hotels, it does boast a multi-cuisine restaurant offering one of the best dining experiences in Bhutan, with Bhutanese, Indian, Chinese, and Continental cuisines. The hotel’s sumptuous bar and lounge offers the best in Bhutanese and international beverages, and the spa includes sauna and massage rooms for the perfect relaxation, with well-trained Himalayan therapists providing nourishment to the body, mind, and soul. And for those who want to know more about Bhutanese history, the hotel has its own library of historical tomes to help travelers unravel the mysteries of this ancient land.

Amankora Hotels

Situated in five locations around Bhutan, the Amankora Hotels chain comprises of five luxury lodge hotels in Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey, and Bumthang. These luxurious lodges offer travelers a rich luxurious experience amidst the stunning landscapes of Bhutan’s Himalayan peaks and the rich cultural and historical heritage of the Kingdom.

 Amankora Hotels Amankora Hotels

The lodges are one of a kind buildings with all the modern luxuries one comes to expect from five star hotels, and include private pools, forest and mountain views, wood-paneled interiors, landscaped courtyards, open-plan bedrooms, serene valley views, and tranquil locations. One of the few chains of lodge hotels in Bhutan, the Amankora lodges brings luxury to lodge accommodation.

Uma Hotel, Paro

The first retreat resort to open in Bhutan, in 2004, the Uma Hotel is a COMO Hotels and Resorts dedicated retreat that combines the culturally rich Bhutanese location with an understated philosophy of “quiet comfort”. Located on a woodland hilltop just outside the town of Paro, the hotel is defined by its luxury sense of style, it holistic wellness spas, and its gourmet cuisine. Holistic wellbeing is the center of the Uma Hotel experience, and the retreat offers many Asian therapies, such as a Shambala massage, the traditional Bhutanese hot-stone bath, professional yoga classes from visiting international yoga masters, and other traditional spa therapies.

 Uma Hotel, Paro Uma Hotel, Paro

The rooms are luxurious and airy, with private bathrooms and balconies, and sumptuous living areas, and the deluxe suites have their own dining areas for room service dinners with waiter service. For those who like to adventure more outdoors, there are treks organized around the Paro Valley area, or you can just wander around the hotel’s 38 acre grounds that are filled with alpine forests and small lakes. The retreat also has its own archery range, where visitors can try their hand with the ancient and traditional Bhutanese bows.

Dhensa Boutique Resort, Punakha

One of the most amazing blends of traditional Himalayan art and modern contemporary design, the Dhensa Boutique resort is located in the very heart of the Punakha Valley, set amidst lush, verdant meadows and flanked by dense alpine forests. The peace and tranquility of the location reflects the true Bhutanese character, and the 24 private suites in six buildings on the resort’s grounds encapsulate the beauty of its design and the understated simplicity of the spacious suites. Each suite has its own balcony or veranda, private bathroom with tub and 24-hour hot running water, dining area, and spacious lounge.

 Dhensa Boutique Resort, Punakha Dhensa Boutique Resort, Punakha

Set in a dedicated cottage, the Dhensa Spa offers a haven of revival for those tired muscles and a way to reconnect with and recharge your soul. Offering a range of yoga, spa treatments, and a very unique, wood-fired, outdoor bathing pool, the Dhensa Spa allows you to relax and rejuvenate while you take in the stunning natural beauty of the location. The steam room and sauna also have floor to ceiling windows that overlook the lush Punakha Valley.

Zhiwa Ling Ascent, Thimphu

Situated at the foot of a mountain, this all-wood building is a combination of alpine and Bhutanese architecture that is reminiscent of an alpine ski lodge with undertones of a Bhutanese farmhouse. All 20 of its deluxe rooms overlook the majestic views of the mountains and forests that surround the hotel, and provide a level of comfort and luxury that is beautifully combined with subtle elegance. The park-like setting has some of Thimphu’s most spectacular views, and the hotel’s staff are all trained by the Bhutanese Royal Institute of Hospitality, Bhutan’s premier tourism industry training institute, inaugurated by the Bhutanese royal family.

 Zhiwa Ling Ascent, Thimphu Zhiwa Ling Ascent, Thimphu

The hotel’s spacious rooms have private bathrooms and lounges, and are designed to capture the sunlight throughout the day. The hotel’s on-site restaurant is dedicated to seasonal and healthy cuisine, and the meals are both creative and trendy, and based on simple, delicious local recipes. Majority of the menu features organic ingredients, and all produces, from vegetables and fruits to meat and fish are sourced locally to encourage the use of local businesses. The lounge bar serves a wide range of local and international beverages, and you can spend your evenings unwinding with a cocktail and taking in the spectacular sunset views over the Bhutanese Himalayas.

Sonam Tenphel

About the Author - Sonam Tenphel

Energetic, responsible and reliable, Sonam is a guide with more than seven years experience informing visitors about heritage sites and attractions places in Tibet.

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