Hotels

Inside the New Six Senses Thimphu in Bhutan

With views that sweep the snowcapped Himalayas, Six Senses Thimphu is known as the 'Palace in the Sky.' Produced by the Bhutanese king's brother-in-law, Thimphu may be the first of five Six Senses lodges to spread out over the Kingdom.

As one journeys together, each lodge reveals more of the country's character. Bhutan may be the last Buddhist kingdom, known as the happiest country on Earth, and Six Senses Thimphu, set above the capital, introduces the monumental landscapes and intimate moments which make Bhutan so moving.

It even includes a resident monk who gives blessings in the incense-scented Prayer Pavilion. The lodge's villas are lavishly sized, and also the spa is sprawling (well suited for acclimatizing to the altitude).

For all its grandeur, eco-friendly Six Senses suits the Bhutanese ethos (the country is carbon negative), and also the lodge does its part by bottling its own water and growing organic produce with local farmers.

At 3,358 sq . ft ., the Three-bedroom Villa is one of the largest suites within the Kingdom. The sleek space includes a minimalist chalet feel with warm woods, cozy knit carpets and traditional bukhari wood-burning stoves. Mountain views light up the living room, bedrooms and 398-sq-ft terrace. The in-villa spa has its own Bhutanese hot stone bath, where water is warmed with fire-roasted stones.

With wellness at its core, Six Senses excels in delicious, healthy cuisine made with organic ingredients. Namkha (sky in Dzongkha) serves superfood-packed bowls, fresh fish and momos (a Bhutanese dumpling) with fiery ezay (chili) sauce, a local favorite.

Leave the property and explore a few of the area's most incredible sites by having an expert guide in the hotel. Tour Thimphu Dzong, a fortress that houses the king's offices; browse richly embroidered traditional dress yourself in Thimphu town; and also have a birth-chart reading at Pangri Zampa Lhakhang, a 16th-century school of astrology.

Continue the journey and visit the other lodges, Punakha, Paro, Gangtey and Bumthang (it's recommended spent two weeks traveling between them). On the way, you'll visit Bhutan's most beautiful dzong in the lush Punakha valley, hike to the iconic Tiger's Nest monastery in Paro, trek via a rhododendron forest in Gangtey From top: Natural facade is within preserving Bhutan's aesthetic; dine with a stunning view over the mountains and ride on horseback to Kencho Sum Lhakhang in Bumthang, a brilliantly painted eighth-century temple.

Ease into the altitude with a yoga and meditation session using the in-house master, swim laps in the glorious glassed-in pool, or make use of Bhutanese healing practices with a Hingsangsa Zoni bathing ritual. You will be scrubbed clean with Himalayan salt and left to soak inside a traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath before your treatment ends with a decadent full-body massage. Refreshed, settle into the wood-scented bar for any cocktail created using local pine extract, pomegranate or garden-fresh butterfly pea.

Price: Three-bedroom Villa from $4,250 per night

Contact Tashi Wangchuk, lodge manager, reservations-bhutan@sixsenses.com, +975 235 0773, sixsenses.com

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