The latest luxe lodge to put down stakes in Bhutan, Dhensa Punakha comes with 24 elegantly spare suites spread over six cottages, all with balconies and daybeds overlooking a meandering river and terraced rice fields. Its opening marks an ambitious start for Singapore-based Dhensa Boutique Resorts, who have chosen the remote Punakha Valley, a three-hour drive from Paro Airport along high mountain roads, as the location for their inaugural property. Itâ€™s not entirely a pioneering endeavorâ€”Amanresorts and the Como group operate outposts nearbyâ€”but it is a beguiling one, with a glass-fronted dining room serving farm-to-table fare infused with Bhutanese flavors and a spa that offers hand-blended essential oils and an outdoor wood-fired bath. The cultural offerings here promise to be equally appealing: picnics and guided treks to Punakha Dzong, one of the most beautiful fortress-monasteries in the kingdom; visits to villages where guests can try their hand at harvesting rice; and craft sessions with valley artisans (975-2/584-434; doubles from US$350). â€“Natasha Dragun
This article originally appeared in theÂ April/May 2014Â print issue of DestinAsian magazine (â€śHimalayan Havenâ€ť).