The reclusive, landlocked Bhutan travel destination rose a few notches on the Gross National Happiness (GNH) scale for luxury travelers with the opening of three Bhutan Six Senses lodges in the beginning of 2019.
The uniquely designed suites and villas fit well into the global portfolio of the brand and the natural land topography. They were inspired by local architecture, culture and the flora and fauna that is abundant in Bhutan.
Bhutan, a Himalayan kingdom that is 60 percent under forest cover, is an exquisite destination for luxury travelers to experience a level of harmony, recharge of energy, inner calm and positiveness. Since 1995 the Six Senses hospitality concept has pioneered in wellness, sustainable practices and enveloping its properties, guests and staff in the respective ecosystem and the local community. The new lodges in Bhutan are certainly a highlight to discover.
Whether guests want to start their day with sunrise meditation, holistic spa treatments or walks and hikes through the pristine forest, the three hotels–soon five as two more are about to open in Gangtey and Bhumtang by this fall–offer out-of-the-ordinary experiences for visitors.
By law, foreign tourists must be accompanied by a licensed guide during their entire stay in the Kingdom and independent travel is not permitted. The lodges are located in the west and central valleys of the country and can be reached and connected by car or helicopter. The packages offered by the hotel promise a unique experience of the country, its people and the culture. Guests can travel between the properties and as all the hotels vary in design style and interiors according to the surrounding villages, it lets them see a variety of Bhutanese lifestyles.
The Bhutanese architecture adheres to simple lines and uses lots of natural timber furniture, wood-burning stoves, and vegetable-dyed, antique-washed Himalayan rugs that contribute to the overall harmonic feeling and well-being of the guests.
Focus is given to visitors’ sleep, nutrition and comfort to help them rejuvenate and relax in the fantastic setting away from their busy lifestyles. In consultation with the renowned sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus, Six Senses developed groundbreaking sleep standards for their guest rooms. People spend a third of their life asleep. Why shouldn’t this be the best time ever?
Optimal bedding, including handmade mattresses by Naturalmat in England, Hanse organic pillows and duvets, as well as Beaumont & Brown cotton sheets, ensure an inimitable sleep experience in Bhutan or in any of the Six Senses properties around the world, for that matter.
Better sleep coupled with personal consultations with wellness experts during a stay at Bhutan Six Senses set a high bar for deeper relaxation and life-balance. In Bhutan, guests can even get a private astrology reading to calibrate their inner and outer spheres.
Food and nutrition are other aspects that contribute to and increase the feel-good atmosphere. Bhutan Six Senses is committed to reducing its carbon footprint in the country and overall. In collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest (MoAF) and local farmers, the hospitality team is developing an ecological village for the purpose of local food production and education.
Local farmers and children attend training courses to learn about growing new crops and study new farming techniques, as well as picking up the latest trends in nutrition and recycling.
The organic and sustainable village is a pioneer project to introduce “superfoods” to the local community. Examples include kale, quinoa and chia seeds that could supplement the local and traditional cuisine of cheeses, vegetable and spices. Currently, a good amount of produce, dairy products, proteins and grains need to be imported to balance the local diet.
Bhutan Six Senses Country Food & Beverage Manager Roy Tedemann said, “We aspire to transform Bhutan’s farming and garden landscape over the next several years by sharing best practices in organic farming, nutrition, recycling and waste management.”
The first harvest of the village is expected in the fall of 2019 and should include grapes, apples, peaches, plums, lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, peppers, beans, pumpkins, zucchinis, artichokes, chia seeds and quinoa.
The harvested products will complement the products from the organic garden of the hotel. The aim of the management is to become self-sufficient.
Beyond healthy foods produced on-site and in the village, the Bhutan Six Senses properties use on-site reverse osmosis plants and crystal water refinery to collect and produce high-quality drinking water that is served in glass bottles. At the hotels, practices of active energy, water, waste and purchasing management are employed and the use of chemicals is closely monitored.
Sustainability and environmental conservation are important to the Six Senses team and contribute to the GNH pillars of the country that are sustainable development, environmental protection, cultural preservation and good governance.
Visiting the stunning Six Senses hotels in Bhutan which include the country’s rich biodiversity and wildlife is an opportunity for one’s own self-discovery in a holistic, spiritual environment that is infused with clean air and fantastic views.
The Six Senses group became part of IHG® (InterContinental Hotels Group) in February 2019.
Source: this article was inspired by Six Senses Bhutan. Photos are courtesy of Six Senses.