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Journey through the vertiginous scenery of the western and central valleys, and you can’t help but find meaningful and uplifting experiences at every turn. That’s why Six Senses Bhutan’s guest suites are distributed between five intimate lodges. Each has a unique character and all embrace the Six Senses guiding principles, which include a Six Senses Spa and Wellness Center, mindful eating, sleep and self-discovery. Visit one, or any combination, and immerse yourself in Bhutan’s spirituality, heritage and hospitality.
The five Six Senses Bhutan lodges are scattered across the Kingdom’s mountains and valleys. Each lodge is unique, designed to reflect its surroundings. But Bhutan is no place to rush. It’s recommended to take approximately two weeks for a journey to all five lodges. But, if time is limited, travelers can choose amongst the properties which are best suited to their interests. The lodges are the stepping stones; you get to chart your own path.
Consider this “The Dramatic Introduction” as most Bhutan adventures begin here, in the country’s capital. Thimphu offers a taste of urban life, but it’s also the only capital city in the world without traffic lights! Begin your Bhutanese journey with a trip to the Thimphu Dzong, the center of commerce. Shop for textiles, meet monks in a monastery and tour the local market.
The lodge itself is set high above the city. In fact, Six Senses Thimphu calls itself the “Palace in the Sky.” The 20 suites have sleek woods, cozy carpets and Himalayan views from every window. The one- to three-bedroom villas (ranging from 1,400 to over 3,300 sq. ft.), have private spas with traditional hot stone bathtubs. Here, guests can expect to connect to nature as the hot stone bathwater is warmed with fire-roasted river stones. The spa is the largest across the Six Senses lodges, accompanied by a spectacular swimming pool surrounded by glass.
A two-and-a-half-hour drive from the capital, Punakha is widely considered the warmest of the Six Senses lodges. The former capital of Bhutan, Punakha is home to the most beautiful dzong in the country. The valley offers beautiful hikes with opportunities to visit more quaint villages. From September to May, adventurous travelers should consider trying white water rafting past the dzong.
Nicknamed the “Flying Farmhouse Amidst Rice Fields,” this lush valley lodge feels like a chic farmhouse. The 16 suites have an open floorplan, with sitting areas and terraces overlooking the valley. The one- to three-bedroom villas (ranging between 1,300-2,900 sq. ft.) each come with a private pool. For those that really want to center themselves, be sure to check out the “spa village” has freestanding treatment rooms and an open-air yoga pavilion and is surrounded by rice terraces.
From Punakha, travelers can opt to either head back to Paro (4.5 hours) or continue eastward to Gangtey (3.5 hours). Gangtey is an idyllic hiking destination, with trails that lead through forests. The valley is the winter home of the endangered black-necked cranes – a festival in their honor is held each November – and the site of the 16th-century monastery of Gangtey Goemba, one of the most important Buddhist sites in Bhutan.
With eight suites and a two-bedroom villa each, Gangtey and Bumthang are the two most intimate lodges. Set to open in summer 2019, Gangtey calls itself the “Traditional Birdwatching Bridge.” It’s all about taking in the the natural splendor of the destination here. The eight suites and the two-bedroom villa (2,260 sq. ft.) offer green valley views, perfect for connecting to nature. The spa features a unique Swedana steam treatment space and a pyramid meditation room.
Bumthang is the easternmost Six Senses lodge. The eight-hour drive from Gangtey leads through terraced farmland, river valleys and, maybe if you’re lucky, herds of yak! The country out here feels wild, but it’s not just wilderness – Bumthang is home to many of the country’s most sacred, ancient temples. From here, most travelers will fly back to Paro via domestic airline or helicopter. The drive back is 12.5 hours.
Set to open in summer 2019, this intimate lodge, nicknamed the “The Spiritual Heart” is one with its surroundings. Set inside a grove of trees, the lodge calls itself a “Forest within a Forest.” The eight spacious suites and one two-bedroom villa (2,400 sq. ft.) are outfitted with recycled wood furnishings and timber walls. The spa features a Bhutanese hot stone bath.
Best saved for last, Paro is often considered one of the most breathtaking parts of Bhutan. The valley is famous for Tiger’s Nest, the iconic monastery that clings to the cliffside. The hike to the top (about three to five hours roundtrip) is a highlight. Aside from Tiger’s Nest, the Paro Valley offers many hiking opportunities, from easy walks to overnight treks.
The lodge is on sacred ground nearby a 12th-century stone temple where you can have a candlelit dinner or simply visit the monastery and a temple. The 16 suites and one- to three-bedroom villas (ranging from 1,400 to 3,680 sq. ft.) feature some of the best Himalayan views of all the lodges. The spa is great for relaxation as it offers a large indoor pool and an outdoor sauna with cold plunge.
These lodges are perfect for those seeking a new destination for trekking and cultural immersion with a strong spa presence. Guests will find the lodge’s breadth extraordinary – whether for birdwatching from a bridge at the Gangtey lodge, gathering around an open fire at Paro or soaking up the forest views through expansive windows in their Bumthang suite.
A landlocked Himalayan Kingdom, Bhutan is rich in culture, tradition and spirituality that have been carefully guarded and preserved. Six Senses Bhutan comprises five lodges set in intimate locations and uniquely designed with spacious suites and villas.
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