andBeyond signals Asia arrival with Bhutan lodge

Punakha River Lodge preparing to open in September 2023

andBeyond is preparing to launch its first lodge in Asia, with andBeyond Punakha River Lodge scheduled to open in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan in September 2023.

The ultra-luxury hospitality company is best known for its stunning collection of nearly 30 lodges and camps in Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean, and in more recent times, South America, through the addition of andBeyond Vira Vira in Chile, which debuted nearly five years ago.

Situated on the banks of the Mo Chu River in the Punakha Valley in Bhutan, the newest lodge will feature six tented suites, as well as a two-bedroom villa with a private pool and a one-bedroom villa, which boasts a plunge pool/hot tub, depending on the season.

Punakha Valley, Bhutan

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“The first fully andBeyond-owned and managed property to open on the continent, Punakha River Lodge kicks off a brand new era of expansion for our brand,” said Mark Wheeler, &Beyond Managing Director Asia, South America & Business Development. “Our intention is to build onto our almost two decades of touring expertise in Asia to create a lodge footprint that will help us to continue to grow our conservation-led business model on three continents.”

As with all andBeyond’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 andBeyond to offer a variety of activities and experiences such as cycling, river rafting and kayaking, as well as nature hikes and birding opportunities.

The lodge’s direct access to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten Hike has allowed andBeyond 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.

andBeyond’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.

“andBeyond’s investment in staff training and the bespoke experiences that we pride ourselves on offering will make the lodge stand out as unique.”

“We plan to look outwards for inspiration, integrating the unique nature of the destination into our service ethos, thus creating a platform for guests to immerse themselves in this exceptional location and allowing the destination to shine,” concluded Wheeler.

Rates start at:

  • US$890 per Tented Suite, per night;
  • US$1,200 per Villa per night; and
  • US$1,960 per night in the Two-Bedroom Villa.

For more information and to book, click here.

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