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COMO Uma Punakha
COMO’s second property in the Himalayan kingdom is the Uma Punakha, an intimate resort situated on bend of the Mo Chhu river, in the fertile valley of Punakha. Eight valley view rooms (some with private terraces) all enjoy incredible views—while two villas (a one-bedroom and the two-bedroom COMO Villa) are an even more private option for those who wish to live as a (very spoiled) local. In keeping with the Bhutanese building codes, the traditional design styles are met, with local materials and elements in keeping with local farmhouses. Interiors are contemporary and sleek, with local fabrics, rugs and earthy accents to respect the outdoors within. Como’s signature Shambhala Spa, while small, offers a range of treatments, meditation and yoga. It is also possible to arrange overnight camping ventures into the Himalayas for the more intrepid.
Gangtey Lodge is an independently owned luxury hotel with a unique and special vibe. Founded by the owners behind Balloons Over Bagan, the highly respected hot-air balloon operator out of Myanmar, the intimate lodge is located at the northern edge overlooking the vast Phobjikha Valley, near the 17th-century Gangtey Monastery, the largest school of Buddhism in the country. A special experience is to wake up early in the morning and go to the monastery to witness the monks chanting mantras and practicing their meditation.
The farmhouse-style lodge was designed by Mary Lou Thompson, the eye behind Aman Sveti Stefan. Upon entering you are welcomed into the heart of the property, the informal dining area and lounge, where guests can sit by the fire and watch the Gangtey Valley’s most famous residents, the black-necked cranes, circle the valley below. The homey-feeling lodge has just 12 rooms, all with fireplaces, earthy accents and local fabrics, creating a space that feels comfortable and uniquely Bhutanese. Each room has a beautiful copper tub that looks out onto the landscape that surrounds the lodge and the floors are all heated. While there is no large spa, there is a separate building where hot stone baths can be drawn. For those in need of a massage or a facial after a long day out in Gangtey, the property can arrange treatments in your room.
The only lodge on the Amankora circuit that is in a village, Amankora Bumthang has sixteen suites and is immediately adjacent to a former royal palace.
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