Luxury travel company &Beyond is set to launch its first lodge in Asia, with &Beyond Punakha River Lodge scheduled to open in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan in September 2023. Situated on the banks of the Mo Chu River in the Punakha Valley, the lodge will feature six tented suites, as well as a two-room Family Villa with a private pool and a one-bedroom Villa, which boasts a plunge pool / hot tub, depending on the season.
Like all &Beyond’s properties, the lodge draws inspiration from its natural surroundings and combines traditional Bhutanese style with a unique twist. Safari-style tented suites are suspended from a traditional Bhutanese timber structure. Decorative painted and gilded details appear in the woodwork, particularly in the bathrooms, which feature elegant brass-cladded bathtubs.
The blue poppy, the national flower of Bhutan, also makes an appearance as a recurring theme woven throughout the interior design. Handwoven Bhutanese wool products are used as upholstery, linen detailing and blankets, bringing a touch of bold and bright colour and texture to the simple and unpretentious design. Warm and soulful, the overall feeling is a tremendous sense of peace and wellbeing, combined with a genuine sense of place.
Boasting uninterrupted views of the Himalayas, the lodge site offers easy and unrivalled access to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, a site that is a major drawcard for visitors to Punakha. A suspension bridge leads over the river and a selection of walking trails is situated nearby. The riverside setting is ideal for al fresco lunches and beach activities, such as yoga, massages and swimming.
The site also allows us to offer a variety of activities and experiences that is unmatched in the area, including cycling, river rafting and kayaking, as well as exceptional nature hikes and birding opportunities. The lodge’s direct access to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten Hike has allowed &Beyond to create a unique early morning experience. Other attractions in the area include the famed Punakha Dzong, as well as the Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery.
The Punakha valley, famous for its rice and chili farms, is not only home to the Punakha Dzong, one of Bhutan’s oldest and most beautiful traditional structures, but is also the winter home to the royal family of Bhutan. The lodge is also an adventure playground, making it the ideal base for the intrepid outdoor enthusiast. Choose from an array of activity-based experiences including rafting, kayaking, fishing, and a variety of hikes and longer treks in the breathtaking surroundings.
Those looking to be pampered, can indulge in a range of restful treatments and wellness therapies, lulled by the sights and sounds of the spa’s beautiful position in the orange orchard near a small perennial stream. Balance your chakras with gentle yoga sessions, or sink into the bliss of a traditional Bhutanese, and not-to-be-missed, hot stone bath.
&Beyond’s first property in Bhutan, Punakha River Lodge has been imbued with the same warm and authentic brand of hospitality, with exclusive experiences including paddy field lunches, surprise drinks stops and picnic lunches with unique views of the river. An extensive organic vegetable garden speaks to the company’s dedication to sourcing local, sustainably grown ingredients. Guests will also have the opportunity to visit a community farming project nearby.
For further information, visit andbeyond.com