Bhutan's luxury hotels are a beautiful combination of old-meets-new architecture and thoughtfully designed interiors inspired by Bhutanese design and aesthetics. At some of these properties, the decor is only outdone by the extraordinary scenery outside. Perks include spas, fine dining, and amenities such as meditation and yoga rooms.
Gangtey Lodge, Phobjikha Valley
Wall-to-ceiling windows looking out over the valley below are highlights of the gorgeous Gangtey Lodge. The rest of the building is made from natural stone, inspired by traditional Bhutanese design, and executed by internationally renowned designer Mary Lou Thompson. There are communal dining and lounge areas with large, comfortable leather couches, a nice place to unwind after a day walking in the hills of the surrounding Phobjikha Valley.
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Zhiwa Ling Heritage, Paro Valley
The five-star Zhiwa Ling Heritage is located on ten acres in the Paro Valley. The in-house temple, meditation room, yoga classes and peaceful tea house add extra serenity and spirituality to the hotel. Under-floor heating adds comfort. The temple was made with 450-year-old timbers that were originally part of Gangtey Monastery. There's also a spa, and a sister property in Thimphu, the Zhiwa Ling Ascent.
For ultra-luxury, you can't beat this renowned international chain. The Amankora lodges are situated throughout the country, in Paro, Thimphu, Gangtey, Bumthang, and Punakha. If you're looking for consistent luxury throughout your whole stay in Bhutan, the Amankora lodges should be on your radar. They all combine traditional elements and contemporary design, and they feature beautiful onsite spas, restaurants featuring interesting fusion cuisine (yak carpaccio, anyone?) and personalized events, such as picnics around the bonfire. Rooms at all lodges come with traditional wood-burning stoves, ideal for cold mountain evenings. The lodges are also eco-friendly.
Como Uma Paro
With nine private villas and 20 luxury rooms, the Como Uma Paro is surrounded by trees and offers peaceful rooms with forest or valley views. The Bukhari restaurant serves seasonally inspired Bhutanese cuisine, as well as international and Indian dishes. The Como Shambhala Retreat offers treatments such as Ayurveda, and there are also two hot stone bathhouses, an indoor pool, steam rooms, a gym, and a yoga studio. Picnics in the forest can be arranged. This is one of the finest luxury resorts in Bhutan. There's a sister property in Punakha.
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Le Meridien, Thimphu
The 5-star Le Meridien Thimphu is located in the center of the capital. The 78 spacious rooms are both traditional and contemporary in design, and come with views of the city or the surrounding hills. There are two onsite restaurants at Le Meridien Thimphu: Sese Shamu, serving pan-Asian cuisine, and Latitude 27, serving bar snacks. There's also a fitness center, spa, and heated indoor pool. The personalized service garners high praise.
Le Meridien, Paro Riverfront
Located close to Paro International Airport, the luxurious Le Meridien Paro is a fine choice if you have an early or late arrival or departure. The large hotel building is reminiscent of a traditional Bhutanese palace or temple, and is situated on the banks of the Paro River. The corner suite rooms are particularly gorgeous, with open floor plans and floor-to-ceiling views of the river and the farmland outside. All rooms have stylish dark hardwood floors and gold embellishments. There's even a dedicated Altar Room with traditional rugs, scrolls, and paintings, in case you're craving some contemplative time, as well as an "Arts & Crafts of Bhutan" installation.
Taj Tashi, Thimphu
The Taj Tashi combines traditional Bhutanese dzong (fortress) architecture with modern design. There's a wide range of room choices here, from deluxe rooms to luxury suites. Some even come with balconies and marble bathrooms. There are four onsite restaurants, serving everything from traditional Bhutanese cuisine to European classics, and a spa, heated indoor pool, and fitness center. As a premiere Indian hotel chain, this place is popular with VIP Indian guests.
Dhensa Boutique Resort, Punakha Valley
Dhensa Boutique Resort is one of the most stylishly designed hotels in Bhutan: imagine Swedish meets Bhutanese design made entirely by Bhutanese craftspeople. The rooms are minimalist, with natural wood and large windows overlooking the trees. It's located in the Punakha Valley, surrounded by thick forests, farmland, and numerous hiking trails. It's also very near to Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery, which holds one of the largest bronze statues in the country. The Dhensa Boutique Resort is certainly one of the most beautiful accommodation options in Bhutan.
For more on the best boutique hotels in Bhutan, check out this article.