Following the successful launch of three lodges in Paro, Thimphu and Punakha earlier this year, Six Senses Bhutan has already obtained a reputation for immersing guests into the historic, spiritual and cultural delights of this tantalizing Himalayan kingdom. It is now calling out to the curious with the opening of its fourth lodge, Six Senses Gangtey.
The October opening is auspicious. It is the time of year that the black-necked cranes arrive from Tibet to enjoy the clear skies and pleasant weather. Indeed, the lodge is called the “Traditional Bird Watching Bridge” due to its cantilevered bridge-like building and floor-to-ceiling windows. This prime perch sits at an elevation of 9,843 feet (3,000 meters) and offers unobstructed, 180-degree views of the cranes’ nesting grounds and valley below. Characterized by rolling hills, pine forests and grassy marshlands dotted with rural villages, the glacial Phobjikha valley is a designated conservation area.
The design is inspired by Bhutanese farmhouse architecture and incorporates local stone and hand-hewn timber. It uses traditional building techniques to blend with its natural setting. Dining areas along with a library and games room have been seamlessly incorporated.
All in all, there are eight suites, each with a valley-facing, panoramic and private outdoor balcony equipped with daybeds as well as binoculars for bird watching. There is also a two-bedroom villa with its own private spa treatment facilities designed to pamper and relax. Interiors are subtle with uncluttered lines and a natural palette of earth tones and warm fabrics. Weathered timber floors and textured walls set the backdrop, while comfy leather armchairs and footstools invite guests to unwind after days spent trekking and exploring. Bukhari stoves and locally-woven throws add extra warmth to the star-filled nights.
In keeping with the brand’s focus on wellness, Six Senses Gangtey boasts a dedicated spa featuring two swedana rooms designed specifically for herb-infused steam therapies. Every treatment starts with a journey of discovery and the inclusion of a sodalite crystal to set positive intentions through breathing and meditation. This is followed by Bhutanese chanting and singing bowls, promoting stillness, happiness and well-being.
When it comes to culinary offerings, the lodge’s signature restaurant Baa Zam – “bridge” in Dzongkha – features hearty western and locally-influenced dishes, such as the Charred Pumpkin Risotto made with local short grained white rice and Bjobchee Takthuk, a signature Bhutanese pasta-like dish of organic potatoes and buckwheat from the valley.
The picturesque 17th-century Gangtey Goempa is a center for Buddhist learning and meditation and the site of the colorful Black-Necked Crane Festival each November. There are also numerous nature treks and mountain bike trails winding through pine groves, alongside bubbling trout-filled streams and through fields lined with prayer flags.
Guests may decide to stay at Six Senses Gangtey for their entire visit but those curious about everything that Bhutan has to offer can plan a tailor-made circuit of all four lodges.
Six Senses Bhutan anticipates the opening of its fifth lodge in Bumthang in March 2020.