Bhutan’s 3 new luxury lodges just raised the bar: Timphu, Paro and Punakha

Timphu balcony view

You know the kind of holiday destinations you think you can only dream of, that’re filled with blue skies, stunning vistas, tumbling rice terraces and locals who’re only too happy to see, meet and host you?

It turns out, that exists. In Bhutan. Of all places.

Punakha hotel

There are three new lodges that have opened up in the small Himalayan Kingdom-state (LGBTIQ-friendly), that tout pretty much everything listed above, and more, in a luxurious arrangement that ticks so many boxes for so many people.

Bhutan is the place that famed itself with its Gross National Happiness (GNH) philosophy, and now Thimpu, Punakha and Paro – the three lodges – are contributing to that in their own, striking way.

Timphu bedroom

The lodges are all about a commitment to wellness, sustainability and out-of-the-ordinary experiences with the country’s rich culture, warm hospitality and omni-present spirituality.

They do the whole shebang, too; from holistic spa treatments to private astrology readings and butter lamp lighting ceremonies to incredible hikes and treks through pristine forests. The aim is to leave feeling enriched and reconnected.

Punakha hotel 1

Each location has been thoughtfully designed to fully immerse travelers into the local culture. The lodges, which vary in style, showcase the diversity and special character of each valley. Offering sweeping views, the spacious interiors are framed by subtle references to Bhutanese architecture, seen in the simple lines of the natural timber furniture and the presence of locally-inspired touches, like bukharis (traditional wood-burning stoves) and vegetable-dyed, antique-washed Himalayan rugs.

Sustainability is a big deal for the three lodges and is reflected through active management of energy, water, waste, purchasing and chemical usage.

Dochula pass

The Kingdom of Bhutan keeps 60 percent of its land under forest cover, as mandated by its constitution. The four pillars of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) philosophy are: Sustainable Development, Environmental Protection, Cultural Preservation, and Good Governance, all of which are carefully woven into the design, operations and identity of Six Senses Bhutan.

You can book Thimphu, Paro and Punakha now with introductory rates available through March 31. Full rates will be applied for stays from April 1 onwards. They’re opening another two lodges in summer of 2019, called Gangtey and Bumthang. The lodges are by Six Senses.

Paro view