Punakha , Bhutan

Six Senses Bhutan Punakha Lodge

Style

Paddy power

Setting

Stairway to heaven

Six Senses Bhutan Punakha Lodge overlooks terraced rice paddies that are carved into the mountainside, making it seem as if the hotel has unfurled a staircase to higher plains. Not content with mere elevation, the designers aimed for levitation with a cantilevered lounge that juts over the pool, making it feel as if you’re floating above the water. Yet for all its loftiness, the hotel couldn’t be more rooted to the local landscape: the rooms are clad in warm-toned woods sourced from nearby forests, creating sleek, zen-like interiors that heighten the pacifying power of the view. Foodies will be equally taken with pan-Asian restaurant Ari, a window-walled wonder that gets all of its greens from the hotel’s organic farm. The open-air meditation salas and rustic spa village will make short work of any last lingering worries, as will guided hikes through golden rice fields and fragrant pine forests.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

Your choice of a 30-minute foot massage for two or a body scrub for two

Facilities

Photos Six Senses Bhutan Punakha Lodge facilities

Need to know

Rooms

19, including 16 suites.

Check–Out

Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.

Also

Alongside a host of eco-friendly commitments, Six Senses has pledged support to various social initiatives, including the training and employment of Bhutanese chefs and the construction of an eco-friendly village for local farmers.

At the hotel

Meditation salas; gym; free WiFi; free laundry. In rooms: flatscreen TV; Bose speaker; Nespresso coffee machine; minibar; tea kit; free bottled water.

Our favourite rooms

In keeping with Punakha’s traditional farmhouses, the rooms are decked in warm woods and feature traditional bukhari stoves, giving them a chalet-esque feel that chimes perfectly with the mountainous landscape. All of the rooms are furnished to the same exacting standards, but it’s worth upgrading to a villa for its valley-facing plunge pool.

Poolside

The views from the crescent-shaped infinity pool stretch for miles in either direction, from the fields on the valley floor to the mossy pines that march towards the clouds. Sunloungers line the back edge, making the most of the views – if you’re supervising little Smiths, you could also settle in an armchair in the cantilevered lounge, which juts over the pool like a vast diving board.

Spa

The spa is laid out like a miniature village, with each treatment room housed in a cosy, pitched-roof hut. The relaxation process begins before you even set foot inside, as your therapist lead you there on a walking meditation. The menu reflects Bhutan’s rich wellness traditions, particularly Ayurvedic medicine, practiced in these mountains for centuries. Alternatively, work up a sweat in the window-walled fitness studio, complete with free weights, yoga mats, a treadmill, elliptical trainer and exercise bike.

Packing tips

Bring kit for yoga, mountain biking and hiking, ensuring you have plenty of layers if you’re visiting outside of summer.

Also

There aren’t any accessible rooms at the lodge, making it unsuitable for wheelchair users.

Children

All ages welcome. A cot (free) can be added to rooms on request, and there’s a list of dedicated children’s activities.

Best for

Over-6s, who’ll be able to make the most of the activities on offer.

Recommended rooms

The Two-bedroom Villas are perfect for families, complete with spacious indoor and outdoor lounge areas, a plunge pool and a dining area that can be staffed by a private chef.

Activities

Staff can arrange vasrious children’s activities, including yoga classes, cooking classes and visits to the organic farm.

Swimming pool

The pool is family-friendly but unsupervised.

Meals

There isn't a children's menu, but the chefs are happy to adapt dishes or heat up milk. Children are welcome in the restaurant at all times.

Food and Drink

Photos Six Senses Bhutan Punakha Lodge food and drink

Top Table

On balmy evenings, take a table on the terrace for the best mountain views.

Dress Code

As you like – up here, it’s the view that steals the show. Bring an extra layer if you plan to eat on the patio.

Hotel restaurant

Valley-facing restaurant Ari is styled like a traditional Bhutanese farmhouse, sporting rattan walls, simple wooden furniture and a ceiling hung with bamboo baskets, here moonlighting as rustic chandeliers. Chef Choda Jamtsho sources the best farm-fresh produce he can, putting it into dishes that borrow from Bhutanese, Asian, Indian and Western cuisine.

Hotel bar

The bar is part of the lounge area, commanding sweeping views from one side of the valley to the other. Many of the cocktails are made with local fruits, flowers and herbs – try the floral Butterfly Pea Daiquiri, infused with the flower’s deep-purple petals.

Last orders

Breakfast is served from 6.30am to 10.30am; lunch from 11am to 3pm; dinner from 6.30pm to 10.30pm.

Room service

The full menu is available during restaurant hours.

Location

Photos Six Senses Bhutan Punakha Lodge location
Address
Six Senses Bhutan Punakha Lodge
Six Senses Punakha Phesipang, Kabji Gewog
Punakha
Bhutan

The hotel soars over stepped rice paddies that descend towards the floor of Punakha Valley, a mountain-flanked cleft in northwestern Bhutan.

Planes

When arriving in Bhutan, you’ll almost certainly be flying into Paro, the country’s only international airport. Most people get there by flying to Delhi, Bangkok or Calcutta, then hopping on a Druk Air or Bhutan Airlines service. If Punakha Lodge is your first port of call, it’ll take about four hours to drive there from the airport; return transfers are included in your rate.

Automobiles

Bhutan’s tourism laws make it essential to arrange your transport in advance, so it’s unlikely you’ll be doing any driving of your own. Many travellers stay at more than one Six Senses lodge over the course of their trip – the other outposts are in Thimphu, Gangtey and Paro.

Worth getting out of bed for

Start your day with a yoga session in one of the open-sided meditation salas, where you’ll be able to smell the pines and breathe the crisp Himalayan air (if it’s a little too crisp, you’ll be in the wood-clad fitness studio instead, where the floor-to-ceiling windows face into the valley. If you’re looking to lift the lid on Bhutanese culture, book a cooking class, visit the hotel’s organic farm or join a talk on Gross National Happiness (GNH), Bhutan’s alternative to GDP.

For an impressive example of Bhutanese architecture, ask your guide to take you to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal. This four-storey chorten (an important Buddhist monument) was commissioned by Bhutan’s queen, intended to deflect negative forces and create peace and harmony for all living beings. You can also hike to smaller Chorten Ningpo, passing several traditional villages on the way. In summer, the rice fields will be in full bloom, thick with swaying sheaves that turn a toasted gold. On the valley floor, don’t miss Bhutan’s longest suspension bridge, Punakha, arched across the Po Chu River. Nearby Punakha Dzong is said to have been built in just two years – no mean feat considering it’s one of the largest and most beautiful buildings in the country. Although it’s no longer the seat of the government, it’s where every Bhutanese king has been crowned, and houses the remains of the Bearded Lama, who unified Bhutan in the 1630s.

Local restaurants

All of your meals are included in your rate, and even if they weren’t, you won’t find many restaurants in the valley.

Reviews

Photos Six Senses Bhutan Punakha Lodge reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this zen-inspiring lodge in Bhutan and unpacked their khada (the traditional Bhutanese scarf), a full account of their meditative mountain break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Six Senses Bhutan Punakha Lodge...

The nickname for Six Senses Bhutan Punakha Lodge is the Flying Farmhouse, and once you’ve seen a photo, it’s easy to see why. For starters, the buildings do clearly borrow from a traditional Bhutanese farmhouse, reinterpreting their pitched roofs, ornate woodwork and furniture carved from local timber. Unlike its neighbours, however, the hotel has a cantilevered lounge that juts out from the mountainside – a glass-walled triumph that really makes the views soar.

Sitting in the lounge may be the experience that comes the closest to actually flying, but many of the hotel’s other assets produce similarly lofty results. There are the therapists in the spa village, for example, who draw on centuries of Ayurvedic medicine to return body and mind to their placid best. In Ari restaurant, you can savour dishes from Bhutan and beyond that have been made with organic ingredients grown in the valley, safe in the knowledge that any indulgence is contributing to – and not taking from – the local economy. Sessions in the open-sided meditation salas, guided forest walks and visits to local villages all bring you closer to the landscape, which the locals have used to bolster their wellbeing for centuries.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Six Senses Bhutan Punakha Lodge’s Guestbook below.
No Smith members have posted their reviews of Six Senses Bhutan Punakha Lodge yet. You could be the first!

You’ll also find Six Senses Bhutan Punakha Lodge in: