Six of the best: Luxury hotels in Bhutan


A product of the visionary Australian-Burmese founders of Balloons over Bagan in Myanmar, the gorgeous Gangtey Lodge overlooks the eponymous and remote valley, one of the most beautiful in Bhutan. Sensitively designed to blend with the surrounding traditional black and white Bhutanese​ farmhouses, Gangtey Lodge's 12 spacious rooms each feature their own fireplaces and standalone bathtubs strategically positioned to deliver breathtaking valley vistas. Guests can indulge in an authentic Bhutanese hot stone bath experience inside the newly opened traditional bathhouse. Doubles from $US425 a night. See


Despite being Bhutan's unprepossessing capital, Thimphu is not oversupplied with first-rate hotels (and, for that matter, traffic lights – there are none). In fact, excluding resorts, the imposing 66-room Taj Tashi is one of just a few genuine five-star establishments. Part of the Taj group, the respected upscale Indian accommodation brand, guests receive a blessing from a Buddhist monk on arrival with free cultural performances held in the early evenings. As befitting the Taj brand, every aspect from the service to food is top-notch. Doubles from $US305 a night. See


Loftily located for spectacular views of the valley town of Paro, situated at an altitude of nearly 2200 metres and the site of Bhutan's only international airport – Como Uma Paro features private cottage-sized villas scattered through a delightful and serene forest setting. The menu at the excellent yurt-shaped restaurant provides a welcome respite from the somewhat underwhelming local Bhutanese cuisine, with a full and delectable Indian menu available. In addition to the nine villas, built from handcrafted Bhutanese stone, timber and tiling, there are 20 rooms in the resort's large and attractive main building. Doubles from $US480 a night. See


To reach this superb lodge, designed by Kerry Hill, the venerable Australian-born resort architect, you must first cross a suspension bridge over the Mo Chhu​ River. On the other side you're dispatched by electric buggy to the lodge proper, framed by a stunning traditional Bhutanese farmhouse that was built some decades ago by an erstwhile Buddhist chief abbot. Today it serves as the main dining room and guest library for the lodge. One of a circuit of luxurious Aman properties scattered throughout Bhutan, the exceptionally well-appointed accommodation is set amid rice fields.  A swimming pool, looking across the splendid river valley, is being added. Doubles from $US1550  a night. See


Managed by an affable New Zealander and his charming French wife, the Bhutanese-owned Zhiwa Ling is close to Paro Taktsang​, or Tiger's Nest. This famed 17th-century Buddhist monastery – perhaps Bhutan's most recognisable symbol – is precariously perched on the side of a rocky, 3200 metre-high peak. Architecturally imposing, Zhiwa Ling is designed along Bhutanese principles right down to its elaborate hand-carved wooden and stonework features. On the second floor of the main building is the lodge's own Buddhist temple made from timbers sourced from of a 450-year-old Bhutanese monastery. Doubles from $US206 a night. See


Overlooking the scenic Punakha Valley and Mo Chu River, this is the sister property of Como Uma Paro – and it is every bit as appealing. The intimate hillside resort consists of just two private villas and nine rooms, every one  with panoramic views. Much of the produce at Bukhari​, the resort's partly alfresco restaurant, named after the Bhutanese word for fireplace, is sourced from the organic farmers in the fertile valley below. Nearby to the resort is the magnificent Punakha Dzong​,  a vast 17th-century white-washed temple fortress that was once the home of Bhutan's government. Many of Como Uma Punakha's guests sensibly combine a stay here with one at Como Uma Paro, and vice versa. Doubles from $US600 a night. See

Anthony Dennis was a guest of the Tourism Council of Bhutan (, Drukair ( and the featured establishments.