AndBeyond to Launch Bhutanese Lodge

The rustic-luxe riverside retreat will be making its debut this September in the fertile Punakha Valley.

A rendering of the two-bedroom villa at AndBeyond Punakha River Lodge. (All images: AndBeyond)

Luxury travel company AndBeyond, which operates an extensive network of high-end lodges and camps across Africa and South America, has revealed plans for its very first fully owned and managed property in Asia: AndBeyond Punakha River Lodge. Building on nearly two decades of experience running conservation-driven wildlife tours on the continent, the brand’s Bhutanese outpost will have room for just 20 guests, who can expect full-board accommodation, a spa offering hot stone baths, and butler service.

Situated on the banks of the Mo Chhu River in the Punakha Valley, the lodge will comprise six tented suites, a two-bedroom villa with a private pool, and a one-bedroom villa featuring a plunge pool or hot tub, depending on the season. The design combines Bhutanese style with a twist: safari-style tented suites are suspended from a traditional timber structure. Decorative painted and gilded details appear in the woodwork, particularly in the bathrooms, which feature brass-clad bathtubs. The blue poppy, Bhutan’s national flower, acts as a recurring motif throughout the interior design, while handwoven local wool products are used as upholstery, linen detailing, and blankets.

An artist’s impression of a tented bedroom at the lodge.

Overlooking Punakha Valley from a rooftop terrace at Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten.

Via a riverside pathway, the lodge offers direct access to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten hike. The activity can be enjoyed first thing in the morning well before other visitors arrive, and rewards guests with panoramic views of the valley from a hilltop stupa. The setting also lends itself well to alfresco lunches as well as yoga sessions; more adventurous pursuits range from rafting and kayaking to nature hikes, birdwatching, and cycling excursions.

Off-site experiences may involve paddy field lunches, surprise stops for drinks, and picnics with views of the river. An extensive organic vegetable garden will supply the kitchen at the lodge’s restaurant, and guests will also have the chance to visit a community farming project nearby. Other attractions in the area include the Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery and the famed Punakha Dzong, where Bhutanese kings are crowned. AndBeyond Punakha River Lodge will be welcoming its first guests in September 2023.

A rendering of a lounge area in the lodge’s main building.

The property will also feature an infinity-edge pool.

An artist’s impression of the in-house spa at AndBeyond Punakha River Lodge.

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