Nestled between India and Tibet, in the eastern Himalayas, Bhutan remains an unspoilt and relatively undiscovered gem. A Bhutan holiday provides an insight into a veritable Shangri-La. The Kingdom’s treasures are its scenery, unique culture and incredible wealth of flora that it has so carefully nurtured and preserved.
Great hotels were not what you used to go on holidays in Bhutan for. All of that has changed with the advent of the superlative Uma by Como and the Amankora hotels that have now come up across the country and there is a Taj Hotel in Thimphu. These places have set new standards and allow visitors to not only explore this fascinating country but also to do it in comfort and style.
Amankora is a series of small lodges across the central and western valleys of Bhutan. Each lodge’s location has been carefully chosen to provide a unique insight into the surrounding region with one being in a village (Amankora Paro), one in a blue pine forest (Amankora Thimphu), one near to the incredible 17th century Punakha Dzong and Puntsho Pelri Palace (Amankora Punakha), another in the lesser-visited Phobjikha Valley with glorious views of the valley and including the 16th Century Gangtey Goemba monastery (Amankora Gangtey) and finally the last one in the area known as Bumthang next to the first and second King of Bhutan’s palace.
Uma by Como, Paro is home to 28 beautiful villas, all completely private and offering mesmerizing views of the surrounding forest, mountains and valley. The design effortlessly combines traditional Bhutanese décor with a contemporary edge. The sister hotel, Uma by Como, Punakha sits at the far western edge of the Punakha Valley and boasts sweeping views down the valley from its hillside location.
Taj Tashi Thimphu is housed in an impressive, large building in the heart of Thimphu and offers all the facilities of a larger hotel such as the Jiva Spa where guests can enjoy a traditional Bhutanese ‘hot stone bath’. The hotel has a relatively small number of rooms for its ‘physical’ size and still retains character with classical hand-drawn Buddhist murals adorning the walls of the bedrooms.
However, for those who cherish the more basic but immensely warm and welcoming Bhutanese hospitality of the past, we are happy to arrange this for you too. The standard Bhutanese lodges are in terms of rating, probably between a western standard of two and three-star, although in some places we can offer five-star Bhutanese local lodges. Whilst some of our clients choose the luxury route throughout, others like a combination of sampling one or two Bhutanese lodges with the luxury lodges to experience the best of both worlds.
Whichever combination of accommodation is chosen, a holiday in Bhutan will leave anyone lucky enough to have experienced it spiritually and physically refreshed and with lasting memories of incredible scenery and wonderful people.
By Marcela Kunova - 20th April 2017
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