What makes Bhutan so interesting, apart from her people, is the architecture which is very defined and easily recognisable, as the farmhouses in the country are invariably built in one traditional, vernacular style. They also utilise the 13 arts and crafts which the kingdom is famous for, but also is reliant from as a source of income.
The traditional hitherto government owned traditional hotel has always been quaint, often rooms built in wood, spartanly furnished, ignore the electrics and wires hanging about the place and the food palatable – just – if one was incredibly careful…. To a degree this is still the case, but now there have been a number of privately owned, Bhutanese five star hotels that have emerged, that still retain the style, but have clearly upped their standards. These are a good alternative for those trying to save money.
However, if one wants a truly wonderful, boutique style experience, then the answer lies with the Aman group of hotels, who have erected their luxury lodges in Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey and Bumthang and the Como group in Punakha and Paro. There is also recently a new, privately owned and invested beautiful lodge in Gangtey – which has just started to offer hot air ballooning at certain times of year.
What is so clever about these hotels, is that they have been built in that traditional, Bhutanese vernacular style in most cases – many of them resembling miniature dzongs rather than hotels. They employ Bhutanese people and these places don’t feel like hotels at all. They feel more like gorgeous, boutique style, pampering Bhutanese lodges, which are traditional at every turn. It is incredibly clever and fulfilling.
Hot stone massages which is a signature of Bhutan, is offered at most of these places, together with spa treatments and massages. The most amazing thing about them though is their restaurant – this is without doubt, the finest food that you will eat anywhere in Bhutan and this is what transcends these particular hotels and make them worth every penny.
They have also mapped out all the best walks from the lodges – which nobody else knows about and you will be the only people walking in the forests together with your guide. They have also spoken to the local farmers whose houses you can visit and you can learn more about their farming methods and principles (and even milk a cow, should you wish!).
A luxury holiday to Bhutan should include these hotels!