Travel Weekly fell in love with Bhutan the second we stepped off the plane, even before stepping foot in Gangtey Lodge. We didn’t think it could get any better – until it did.
First impression: 10/10
When we first approached the Gangtey Lodge, we saw what looked like a large, local farmhouse. It didn’t look like much from the outside, but nothing prepared us for the ‘wow’ factor that hit when the entrance door opened.
The staff greeted us with a Bhutanese song, which was so welcoming and heartfelt. Our check-in process was a pleasant experience, complete with a warm apple cider with cloves and cinnamon, instantly soothing after a long drive.
Location and lodge: 10/10
Gangtey Lodge offers every possible comfort you would expect in a fine country home. Its remote location in the heart of Bhutan, allows you to immerse yourself in everyday Bhutanese rural life which in turn brings positive benefits to the local community. Most of the food, staff and supplies (where possible) are sourced locally.
All 12 Farmhouse Suites command sweeping views of the valley below and of the Gangtey Goenpa, or monastery just a 10-minute walk away. Heated hand-cut stone floors, deep bathtubs overlooking the valley and wood-burning stoves, or ‘Bhukaris’, complete the sense of luxury and coziness.
The main lodge captures the vibrancy of Bhutanese artwork and monastic design. Local artists and masons worked on the murals and carvings reflecting images and landscapes from the valley. Cozy leather sofas nestled around two huge stone fireplaces, and plush, hand-woven carpets create the perfect atmosphere for a relaxing day or evening.
The rooms: 10/10
Our Farmhouse room/suite was large and spacious with a free-standing deep bath with the best view in the room, underfloor heating, a fireplace, a long L-shaped couch perfect for reading and relaxing, a separate dressing room/bathroom basin, and a separate shower and toilet. You can have a choice of King or twin beds, with natural linens, and a choice of bed covering depending on your needs around warmth or weight required.
Also included in the room is complimentary wi-fi and laundry service, including your hiking boots, which are cleaned after your daily walks. There were also hot water bottles placed in your bed in the evening.
The food is absolutely wonderful with a choice of local, Asian or western food, with our last night involving a Bhutanese/Indian style feast especially created and set up for us in a private room. Our Gluten-Free request was met ensuring that we did not miss out on the freshly baked breads and pastry items.
The food was the best we experienced in Bhutan, and the daily chats with the friendly and funny executive chef Soh was a highlight. She organised for us to have a picnic lunch on top of a mountain after a hike. We were met with a table clothed table and lovely staff who served us a most delicious meal.
This exceptional hotel is five stars and one of our highlights in Bhutan. It deserves any award given and those yet to come. If you are going to Bhutan, you cannot and must not miss the Gangtey Lodge experience. It’s in a class of its own.
Gangtey Lodge Bhutan is part of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
Featured image source: kenspence@gangteylodge