Top 10 best hotels & lodges in Bhutan

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (October 21, 2019): Top 10 best luxury hotels & lodges in Bhutan.

Although five-star luxury may not be the first thing that springs to mind when one thinks of Bhutan, the country’s policy of “low volume, high quality” tourism has effectively made it a highly regarded destination among discerning travelers. ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’ offers a selection of high-end lodges, strategically placed around the Kingdom, with a level of sophistication and elegance of accommodation that is unrivaled in the Himalayas. Here’s my list of the 10 best hotels in Bhutan (with the top 3 being a category in their own and beating all the competition inside the Kingdom).

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10. DELUXE CAMPING IN THE WILD (PUNAKHA, GANGTEY, & BUMTHANG)

One of the most intense ways to experience the staggering beauty of Bhutan’s majestic landscapes is to camp out in the Himalayan Kingdom’s most remote corners. Under the guidance of the experienced team at ‘Guides of Bhutan’, travelers can fully enjoy the pristine wilderness on Nordic tipi-based adventures, without compromising on comfort or delicious food. Each spacious walk-in tipi is very well-appointed and comes complete with a wood burning stove, traditional rugs and solar powered lighting. Waking up to snow-covered peaks, wild streams, and blue pine forests gives a true sense of off the beaten track adventure.

luxury hotels lodges bhutan


9. LE MERIDIEN (THIMPHU & PARO)

Marriott’s mid-range Le Meridien brand manages two excellent (but rather large) properties in Bhutan. Le Méridien Thimphu is located in the heart of Bhutan’s capital, offering convenient access to Memorial Chorten, Tashichhodzon and other attractions. The nicely decorated hotel rooms boast authentic Bhutan-style furnishings and modern facilities. One hour away from the capital is the 59 room Le Meridien Paro, Riverfront, which is situated on the edge of the Paro River, offering panoramic views of the Eastern Himalayas. Both hotels features a spa, indoor pool, restaurants and conference facilities.

luxury hotels lodges bhutan


8. ZHIWA LING ASCENT (THIMPHU)

Set among tall cypress trees, Zhiwa Ling Ascent – Bhutan’s first contemporary concept hotel – is conceived by an Austrian architect and realized through a joint collaboration between Bhutanese and Austrian project planners. The hotel features 20 rooms in total. The rooms are designed in the most energy efficient manner which has the quality to capture all the natural sunlight. All rooms provide serene panoramic views of nature and the valley. The hotel’s ingenious restaurant offers fine dining experience with flavors straight from the organic kitchen garden.

luxury hotels lodges bhutan


7. DHENSA BOUTIQUE RESORTS (PUNAKHA)

Dhensa Boutique Resorts sits in the heart of the verdant and lush Punakha Valley. Flanked by thick pine forests, the property overlooks the Punakha River and hundreds of paddy fields that stair-step down to the valley floor. It is surrounded by plentiful walking and trekking trails. The lodge marries contemporary design with the Himalayan Kingdom’s ancient and alluring culture. There are 24 suites, set in six cottages, all with private balconies. At the core of the Dhensa Punakha’s philosophy lies the sense of innocence and peace that permeates everything about Bhutan.

luxury hotels lodges bhutan


6. BHUTAN SPIRIT SANCTUARY (PARO)

Named in 2019 by Vanity Fair as “the most charming 5-star property in Bhutan”, the Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary is a magical resort in the Himalayan Kingdom. This unique and utterly remote 24-room boutique hotel overlooks the beautiful Neyphu valley of Paro, just 20 minutes from the country’s sole international airport. This family run hotel was built from scratch to replicate a traditional Bhutanese fort or dzong. The rooms are flooded with natural light and have stunning views overlooking the valley below and the neighboring Eutok Samdrupcholing Goenpa Monastery.

luxury hotels lodges bhutan


5. TAJ TASHI (THIMPHU) 

Nestled in the heart of Bhutan’s capital lies the magnificent Taj Tashi, the gateway to a magical land brimming with fascinating mythology. Staying true to Bhutan’s ancient and alluring ways, Taj Tashi enchantingly blends Dzong architecture and modern design, and is adorned with classical hand-drawn Buddhist murals. The 66 spacious rooms and suites overlook the mountains and town, and capture the essence of Bhutanese art and architecture. Two restaurants, a tea lounge, bar and spa focus on a different aspect of Bhutan’s vibrant Mahayana Buddhist culture.

luxury hotels lodges bhutan


4. GANGTEY LODGE (GANGTEY)

The multi-award winning Gangtey Lodge Bhutan offers every comfort and luxury in one of the world’s most beautiful places. The 12 suite lodge, discretely positioned near a cluster of farmhouses, is perched above the spectacular Gangtey (Phobjikha) Valley. Its remote location and stunning design in the heart of Bhutan, allows one to take a step back in time, away from the stresses and distractions of modern day life. The 4th of the 5 valleys that make the Bhutan journey, Gangtey Valley is a protected reserve for the black necked cranes, remaining untouched from the outside world.

luxury hotels lodges bhutan


3. COMO UMA (PARO & PUNAKHA)

Como Uma manages two properties in the Buddhist Himalayan kingdom, providing a dual experience that opens up the many facets of the enigmatic ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’. Como Uma Paro offers nine exclusive private villas, 20 bedrooms and a Como Shambhala Retreat. Pared-back interiors are accented with work by local artisans while the hotel restaurant, ‘Bukhari’, is a royal favorite. The intimate Como Uma Punakha – a five-hour drive from Paro – is set within one of Bhutan’s most sacred valleys. Each of the 11 rooms command sweeping views of the valley, with the Mo Chu River snaking through the rice terraces and orchards below.

  • Hotel website: COMO Uma Bhutan
  • Save money: get complimentary VIP perks at Como Uma when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and one complimentary lunch for two; for stays of 4 or more nights, guests receive a 60 min massage).

luxury hotels lodges bhutan


2. AMANKORA (THIMPHU, PARO, PUNAKHA, GANGTEY, & BUMTHANG)

Combining aman, Sanskrit for peace, with kora or circular pilgrimage in Dzongkha, the Bhutanese language, Amankora is a series of lodges in Bhutan’s central and western valleys. A journey of discovery beneath the peaceful presence of soaring Himalayan peaks, Amankora’s lodge locations have been designed to offer travelers the opportunity to experience in comfort Bhutan’s rich cultural heritage and remarkable topography. Dedicated to providing an unparalleled experience of this pristine, year-round destination, each lodges is a sanctuary designed to complement its uniquely beautiful setting.

  • Hotel website: Amankora
  • Save money: get complimentary VIP perks at Amankora when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and a 60 min hot stone bath for two persons once during stay).

luxury hotels lodges bhutan


1. SIX SENSES BHUTAN (THIMPHU, PARO, PUNAKHA, GANGTEY, & BUMTHANG) 

Six Senses manages five individual lodges in five separate valleys in the colorful Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, which are all operated under the umbrella of one all-encompassing name: Six Senses Bhutan. Each location has been thoughtfully designed to fully immerse travelers into the local culture. The serene and luxurious lodges, which vary in style, showcase the diversity and special character of each valley. From sunrise meditations and 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 enriched and reconnected.

  • Hotel website: Six Senses Bhutan
  • Save money: get complimentary VIP perks at Six Senses Bhutan when booking via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, and one complimentary 60 min massage for two).
  • Review: read my review of Six Senses Bhutan’s Thimphu lodge here, Punakha lodge here, and Paro Lodge here.


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