Six Senses Bhutan Will Open its Punakha and Paro Lodges March 2019, with Gangtey and Bumthang targeting May 2019 openings. The Six Senses Thimphu Lodge will actually open February 1, but generally clients prefer to spend more time in the other Bhutan lodges, rather than near Bhutan's capital city (even though it's a fairly small one, at ~115,000 inhabitants).
Several clients who have Bhutan on their travel wish list have been highly anticipating these lodges, as am I, particularly since their Country Manager is Mark Swinton, one of my favorite General Managers and previously the GM of Amanjiwo, Aman at Summer Palace, and Amankora (so he's familiar with operating luxury lodges in the remote reaches of Bhutan).
The most popular times to visit Bhutan are in the fall, October-November, and to a lesser extent, the spring months of March-mid-April, outside the monsoon season of mid-April to September, while avoiding the coldest months of December-February.
Six Senses nightly rates include daily breakfast and dinner, and TravelSort Clients enjoy the Virtuoso perk of two complimentary 60 minute massages during their Bhutan stay.
An additional opening offer is a complimentary private vehicle with drive an English speaking Bhutanese guide for Six Senses stays of 7 consecutive nights or more, from March 1 – December 31, 2019.
Six Senses Punakha
Punakha was the capital of Bhutan for 300 years, before Thimphu assumed that mantle in the 1950s. Highlights include the magnificent 17th century Punakha Dzong (fortress), which contains 21 temples and is where the current king of Bhutan was married. The Chimi Lhakhang, a fertility monastery, is also a popular visit.
The Six Senses Punakha includes 16 suites, as well as a 1BR Villa, 2BR Villa and 3BR Villa, with additional amenities including a living room and lounge, restaurant, library, outdoor pool and Six Senses Spa with three treatment rooms, gym, two meditation huts and yoga facilities.
Six Senses Gangtey
Gangtey is a rural settlement in the Phobjikha Valley, at an elevation of 9843 feet. It's the winter home of the endangered black-necked cranes, and the lodge is walking distance from the Visitor Center of the Royal Society for Protection of Nature's Black-necked Crane. Gangtey is also ideal for nature treks and mountain biking.
The Six Senses Gangtey features 8 suites and one 2 BR Villa, as well as a living room and lounge, library, restaurant, movie and game room, fire pit area and Six Senses Spa with two treatment rooms and two ayurvedic Swedana areas.
Six Senses Bumthang
The most remote Bhutan lodge is in Bumthang, reached either with a 35 minute flight from Paro (although it's not uncommon for weather to ground these flights) or a long drive from one of the other lodges; it's ~8 hours from Gangtey, 10 hours from Punakha, 11 hours from Thimphu, and 12 hours from Paro. Needless to say, it should only be included on longer Bhutan itineraries.
Highlights include the Kurjey Lhakhang monastery, one of Bhutan's most sacred sites, and Jambay Lhakhang, which is where one of the most popular Bhutanese festivals, the Jambay Lhakhang Drup is held (November 13-16, in 2019).
The Six Senses Bumthang offers 8 suites, one 2BR Villa, a living room and lounge, library, restaurant, and Six Senses Spa with two treatment rooms and hot stone bath facilities.
Six Senses Paro
Paro Valley is home to the dramatic Taktsang Lhakhang (Tiger's Nest) monastery, built on a cliff at an elevation of 9678 feet. Because of its location, there is no vehicular transport to the monastery; the only way to get to the monastery is by hiking, or by a combination of horseback riding and hiking. Depending on your fitness level, expect the roundtrip hike to take 4-5 hours. With the hour or so you spend in the monastery, plus time for lunch, it's easily a 7 hour day.
The Six Senses Paro includes 16 suites, two 1BR Villas, one 2BR Villa and one 3BR Villa, in addition to a living room, restaurant, indoor pool, library, and Six Senses Spa with 4 treatment rooms, gym, outdoor sauna with cool dip, yoga room, relaxation area and private meditation area.
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