Tucked away in the Himalayas is Bhutan, a mystical place that values gross national happiness over gross national product. The isolated country only opened up to foreign visitors in 1974 and has avoided becoming overrun by tourists thanks to its motto of high-value, low-impact tourism. And while the most discerning travelers have had their eyes on this spiritual haven, it’s now becoming an even more popular destination due to the addition of several new luxury hotels.
This past August wellness-inclusive Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary welcomed its first guests, while next year andBeyond plans to inaugurate its first lodge in Asia with a property set in the ancient kingdom’s Serigang village. But one of the most anticipated openings of 2017 (and 2018), which has been saddled with numerous delays, will finally unlock its doors this spring, and we’re certain the wait will have been worth it: A collection of five boutique lodges spread over some of the country’s most legendary valleys, Six Senses Bhutan will add to the ease of hopping around and unearthing the nation’s unique culture.
All five of Six Senses’ new properties have been uniquely designed to reflect their respective surroundings. Thimphu, situated within apple orchards and pine forests, is the largest of the five and will come first in February, followed by Punakha (set among rice fields) and Paro (perched above 12th-century ruins) in March. Gangtey and Bumthang, located in the winter home of black-necked cranes and a pine grove, respectively, are expected to open in May. Suites will start at 646 square feet and will feature floor-to-ceiling windows and expansive decks—save for those at Paro—affording guests unhindered views of the lush landscape from their quarters, while spacious multi-bedroom villas, some outfitted with private pools, are perfect for families traveling together. There’ll also be plenty of spaces to unwind after a full day of exploring, such as cozy living rooms, relaxing lounges, sunken decks, and outdoor patios outfitted with a fire pit. Just don’t miss out on the brand’s signature spas, which will offer facilities like meditation halls and treatments that vary from hot stone baths to swedana (relaxing Ayurvedic) therapies. If all goes according to plan, we’re expecting to call Six Senses Bhutan one of our favorite new openings…we’ve certainly waited long enough for it.