Bhutan

Como Uma Paro

Rates from (ex tax)$480.00

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD576.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Mod-con mountain lodge

Setting

Pine-lined Himalayan hills

Perched on a pine-covered Himalayan mountainside, the elegant and imposing Como Uma Paro hotel is one of Bhutan’s few boutique properties. From its peaceful surroundings – the pool offers postcard-beating views – you'd hardly guess the main airport is just 10 minutes away. Delicious dining, local art and the blissful Como Shambhala spa complete the picture.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A private courtyard dinner for two (excludes drinks); early check-in and late check-out; archery lessons (subject to availability)

Need flights?

For exclusive packages, call

1 800 464 2040

Facilities

Photos Como Uma Paro facilities

Need to know

Rooms

29, including nine villas.

Check–Out

11am. Later check-outs may be accommodated, subject to a possible half-day’s room charge.

Rates

Double rooms from $480.00, excluding tax at 20 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of $95.00 per person per night prior to arrival and an additional government tax of $40.00 per person prior to arrival.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD576.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates include breakfast. Villas offer a private butler service.

Also

The excellent Como Shambhala spa is set apart from the main lodge, encircled by forest. There’s an Ayurvedic focus, and the signature Traditional Bath, warmed with hot, mineral-rich stones and chased up with a massage, is worth climbing mountains for.

At the hotel

Lounge, Como Shambhala Retreat spa, yoga studio, private cars. In rooms: TV, DVD player, minibar. Deluxe Rooms, Superior Rooms and Como Suites have free internet access.

Our favourite rooms

The wrap-around windows in Room 30 offer the most staggering mountain-scape views in the hotel (closely followed by room 40). You could lose hours just staring at the magical Himalayan landscape. If you’re after the private spa and butler service of the villas, number 15 is the most secluded and romantic.

Poolside

The hotel’s quiet, compact pool is set into a chic stone-walled space with windows looking out over the pine-clad valley of Paro. Loungers beckon from the adjacent alfresco sundeck.

Packing tips

Bhutan is trekking country, so boots made for walking are essential footwear. If you wish to remain contactable during your mountain retreat (and we really don’t think you should), ensure your mobile operator has a roaming agreement for Bhutan.

Also

Smoking is allowed in the bar and courtyard. Como Uma Paro will organise all visas necessary to visit Bhutan – the government maintains tight control on tourism.

Children

Under-12s stay for free and extra beds can be provided for US$50 a night. Babysitting is available for US$5 an hour, with a day’s notice. Food can be tailored to suit childish palates.

Overview

Under-12s stay for free at Uma Paro, and extra beds for older children can be provided for US$50 a night.

Best for

Older kids who can make the most of the trekking, cycling and other cultural activities on offer.

Recommended rooms

Rooms in the main lodge are closest to the restaurant and pool with lovely views, so would suit families travelling with infants. Villas are a short walk away, but provide more privacy and space for families, along with butler service.

Activities

Kids will love having a crack at archery, Bhutan’s favourite sport, in the hotel’s verdant grounds. Hitting the target’s trickier than it looks, but staff will patiently talk you through the technique. You’ll see local games breaking out all over Paro town. Older children should be able to manage some of the shorter treks on offer, including the challenging, but jaw-dropping, one-day walk up to mountain-perched monastery Tiger’s Nest, strewn with prayer flags. You’ll meet donkeys, horses and monks on the ascent, and guides can pack a delicious picnic tiffin box for en route snacking (there’s a vista-toting café halfway up if the hike proves too much for any of your party). If mountain biking’s more your speed, Uma Paro offers a freewheeling downhill ride through nearby villages that will be a buzz for all ages. Kids can also chill out toasting marshmallows by the fire at the hotel’s outdoor camp. On a cultural tip, Paro offers a museum and dzong (monastery), which children may also enjoy.

 

Swimming pool

Uma Paro’s heated, indoor pool has a fairly adult feel, as it’s sleekly stone-walled and compact, but kids can take a dip and then play outdoors as it gives onto an alfresco sundeck.

Meals

Children are welcome at Bukhari restaurant, where food can be tailored to suit childish palates.

Babysitting

Available for US$5 an hour, with a day’s notice.

Also

One-bedroom Villas work well for families, sporting a master bedroom, plus your own spa treatment space with a second sleeping area for kids, and dining indoors or out on the terrace – or bag the more spacious Two-bedroom Villa for extra luxe.

Eco‐friendly

Restaurant ingredients are organic and locally sourced and many members of staff are involved in local clean-up and conservation projects.

Food and Drink

Photos Como Uma Paro food and drink

Top Table

The circular shape of the room means almost every table has 300º views of the valley, but table 10 has the edge. Priivate dining in the courtyard or garden can also be arranged.

Dress Code

<i>Driglam namzha</i> – Bhutan’s natty national dress – is only compulsory for its citizens; most guests opt for smart-casual blacks, usually coupled with hiking boots.

Hotel restaurant

A warm, round space encased in glass, Bukhari restaurant centres on twin woodburning stoves (bukharis) with lush forest views. The chef offers a choice of Bhutanese or Indian set dinners, as well as western dishes and more complex à la carte options. Portions are generous, drawing on delicious seasonal, local ingredients such as buckwheat, honey, red rice, matsutake mushrooms and fiddlehead ferns.

 

Hotel bar

The low-key lobby bar is a jazzy chill-out area panelled with dark wood. Although it’s rarely busy, it’s popular with guests hankering for a pre-dinner Cheli La Latte (Kahlua, tequila, Bailey’s, espresso, cinnamon and nutmeg).

Last orders

The stoves are ablaze until 10.30pm but the bar is open for snacks until the last guest retires – usually around midnight.

Room service

You can have meals brought directly to your room between 7am and 10pm. Villas sport outdoor terraces, if you'd rather dine with a view.

Location

Photos Como Uma Paro location
Address
Como Uma Paro
PO Box 22 Paro
Bhutan
Bhutan

Planes

Fly in on Bhutan's national carrier Druk Air (www.drukair.com.bt) from regional gateways including Bangkok, Delhi and Kathmandu.

Automobiles

To manage the rough and ready roads in Bhutan you'll need a driver – fortunately included with a car in your daily tourist tariff. If you're coming from Bhutan's capital Thimphu, Como Uma Paro is a 45-minute drive away.

Worth getting out of bed for

Como Uma Paro offers an enticing menu of excursions, ranging from light hikes and day-trips to more intense treks across Bhutan's dramatic terrain. A definite highlight is a visit to the Taktshang Goemba (Tiger's Nest), the country's most iconic monastery, precariously hanging off the mountainside not far from Paro. It's a challenging one-day trek, but the enchanting prayer flags, donkeys and monks you'll spy on the ascent make it worth it. Your guide can bring a tasty picnic tiffin box for snacking en route, or call in at the vista-toting café halfway up to rest your pins. The hotel's freewheeling, downhill mountain biking trip is also a must or try your hand at the national sport, archery, in the verdant grounds. Uma Paro's free morning yoga sessions are our top tip for chilling out, with serene Himalayan views through the studio windows.

Reviews

Photos Como Uma Paro reviews

Anonymous review

It was a scenic 10 minute drive from Paro Airport to Como Uma Paro in Bhutan; possibly the shortest amount of time from touchdown to check-in in the history of this Mr & Mrs Smith. But those 10 minutes were pretty dramatic – the hairpin turns that were to become very much part of our experience of driving in this mountain kingdom saw us being thrown from one side of our car to the other. As we zipped past the picturesque archery field in the 38-acre compound, Mr Smith muttered something about putting his bow and arrow skills to the test, and using our driver as the target.

The chic, low-rise mountain lodge may not impress those expecting traditional architecture to complement the intricate local carvings and paintings on display, but this slick, darkwood-clad fantasy lodge is Bhutan as filtered through the vision of jet-setting international tastemaker Christina Ong. And that certainly appealed to this Mrs Smith.

I loved its tack of showcasing some, rather than all, of the beauty and complexity of the country, leaving the intrepid traveller to discover the rest for herself. It’s a far preferable approach than the force-feeding of history, culture and art we’ve experienced at other establishments. Mr Smith liked the trans-cultural, hip, yet surprisingly tranquil club tunes that filled the lobby, bar and cosy adjoining Bukhari restaurant. This was a space that embraces each guest with a warm welcome, irrespective of whether North Face or Prada is their label of choice; whether they are part of a lip-locked twosome or an easygoing family travelling the world. We were all made to feel cool, stylish and utterly in our element.

After nearly getting lost in the circle of interconnecting rooms in our one-bedrooom villa (which we did love, because it came with its own spa room), we made our way back to rustic-luxe Bukhari for lunch. The circular dining room, lined with floor-to-ceiling picture windows, offered a panoramic view of a valley framed by tall pine trees. Wood-fire stoves kept the intimate room pleasantly toasty. Outside, down by a cobblestoned garden path, a family of puppies frolicked in the sun, keeping us entertained throughout our meal.

Let it be known that I had low or rather no expectations of Bhutanese cuisine, given that food-obsessed Mr Smith (who first visited the country in 1997) and a certain internationally renowned American food critic had proclaimed dining in Bhutan to be unequivocally bad. So the wide range of Western classics, fusion dishes, Bhutanese specialities and Indian fare naturally exceeded expectations. In fact, the chefs at Uma Paro were exceptional by any standards. Their healthy, organic options enticed even spa cuisine unbeliever Mr Smith.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first meal of traditional buckwheat noodles with a contemporary twist. Tossed with broccolini, pine nuts and basil, then topped with grated cheese, it was packed with wholesome, unadulterated flavour. Mr Smith rapidly worked his way through a platter of vegetable dumplings with chilli sauce (tshey sey da datse momo) and made plans to try the scrumptious-sounding Indian menu that evening.

We were thrilled to discover complimentary high-speed WiFi available in the lobby and, when other guests loudly bemoaned the fact we were using our computers in their presence, we gladly swapped work for a short, guided acclimatisation walk (Smith tip: wear hiking boots, even for this little stroll). The air was crisp and the route unchallenging, which I was thankful for, given that even tottering across the street in Louboutins leaves me breathless. Although the bird’s eye view of the airport runway left us a tad unimpressed, the 45-minute hike inspired me enough to commit to the two-hour long Zuri Dzong hike the next day.

We made our way back to the hotel, carefully avoiding the cowpats, and sipped on freshly made fruit juices before Mr Smith headed over to the archery field. He didn’t leave much of an impression on the target, which he could hardly make out from 150 metres away, but he didn’t hit anyone in the vicinity either.

As we dined that evening, our discreetly ever-present personal butler lit a fire in our villa and set out a pot of hot masala tea for us. Exhausted from the day’s adventures, we stretched out on the comfortable daybed in our living room and watched flames dance in the hearth until Mr Smith could resist the call of the in-house DVD list no longer. The cavernous bathroom remained somewhat cold, even when every conceivable heating element was in use, but the intoxicating scent of Revitalise (a blend of geranium, lavender, peppermint and other essential oils) and the range of Como Shambhala toiletries provided more than made up for it.

At breakfast, I relished the delightfully tasty ham and cheese omelette. Be warned, though, that fat is prized in Bhutan and local chefs tend to not trim it off their generous helpings of ham or bacon. Then it was off for a a strenuous morning of trekking to Zuri Dzong and Ta Dzong, home to Bhutan’s National Museum. At lunchtime, tiredness seeping through our bodies, we unpacked our lodge-supplied picnic of sandwiches, salads, trail mix and biscuits at a pretty vantage point and shared a few choice morsels of our glorious meal with the neighbourhood’s friendly dogs.

A short drive later, we were back at Uma, which I was reluctant to leave for the remainder of our stay. This Mrs Smith was not ready to brave the vertiginous route to the much talked about Tiger’s Nest. We agreed that we would tackle it on our next visit – which, given how much this mountain lodge had impressed me, I made Mr Smith agree to plan in the very near future.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Como Uma Paro’s Guestbook below.
No Smith members have posted their reviews of Como Uma Paro yet. You could be the first!

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Como Uma Paro’s Guestbook below.
No Smith members have posted their reviews of Como Uma Paro yet. You could be the first!