A new year, a new panoply of hotel openings that we’re thrilled about. One of these highly anticipated debuts will be andBeyond’s luxury lodge in Bhutan. Situated on the banks of the Mo Chhu River in the fertile Punakha Valley, andBeyond Punakha River Lodge is slated to open in October 2020. Travel to the isolated Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, once forbidden to outsiders, has become a bucket list experience for intrepid travelers, and tourism is on the rise to the country. (When Bhutan first opened its doors to tourism in the 1970s, the government required a minimum daily spend per person, focusing on a "High Value, Low Impact" tourism.) andBeyond’s first foray in Asia is therefore a well-timed investment in the country that famously touts its “Gross National Happiness” index.
Because of its subtropical climate, the Punakha valley is a year-round destination, famous for its rice paddies and chili farms, alongside its rich culture (the valley is the winter home of the Chief Abbot and Monastic Body of Bhutan). The location of the andBeyond Punakha River Lodge will give guests access to adventure and recreational activities like rafting, kayaking, fishing, biking, and myriad hikes and longer treks.
Surrounded by rice paddies and a rolling canopy of forested hills, the lodge is inspired by traditional Bhutanese architecture. There will be six luxury tents, one honeymoon villa, and a two bedroom family villa with a living area and swimming pool. The spa will have a scenic setting next to the river, where yoga sessions will also take place. Guests will be able to enjoy Bhutanese cuisine at the lodge, or venture out for lunch with the locals, or for an aperitif staged on the Chain Bridge amidst fluttering prayer flags.