Bhutan, with its deep-rooted sense of spirituality, monasteries perched high on craggy mountaintops, and sweepingly beautiful terrain, has long enchanted both pilgrims and intrepid travellers alike with promises of Shangri-la. And for years, those looking to mix adventure with luxury had really only one place to stay—though it isn’t quite fair to call Aman’s circuit of quietly opulent lodges something travellers had to settle for. But this is changing and the insular country is opening up, with Six Senses set to welcome guests to the first of its five lodges in October and with last month’s opening of Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary.
Upon checking into their palatial rooms (the smallest of which are still 580 square feet, not counting the patios that hang out over the vast emerald landscapes), guests will meet with one of the property’s two traditional Bhutanese doctors, who will serve as their Wellbeing Guide. The guide will evaluate each guest—taking a close look at their lifestyle (including career, eating habits, and medical records) and will use Eastern methods ranging from a close-up observation of eyes and tongues to pulse reading to check for energy imbalances. From there, the guest and guide will piece together a customised wellness plan that will inform all corners of their experience at the sanctuary.
Guests will then spend days flowing from one wellness-boosting activity to the next, perhaps starting the day by meditating with a local monk before heading to an art class or unwinding overworked muscles and reconnecting with the body with Kunye, a traditional Tibetan massage. Meals will all be prepared according to the plan laid out by the Wellbeing Guide and will make use of the region’s rich produce and farms (the Sanctuary already adheres to Bhutan’s goal of becoming 100 percent organic by 2020) no matter what dietary plan you are on. Even the signature cocktail menu is locally rooted, featuring whiskeys and beers from distilleries and brewers in the area.
We won’t assert that dips in the infinity pool and hot stone baths (making full use of the region’s legendary medicinal waters or menchu) will completely rinse you of your 21st-century stress. But wading into traditional Bhutan at the Sanctuary may just enlighten you, slowing you down so you can take that needed deep breath and dive back into life at home.