Luxury tour operator &Beyond is set to open its first lodge in
Asia, the &Beyond Punakha River Lodge, in Bhutan in September 2023.
This will be the first &Beyond-owned and managed property on the
continent. According to Mark Wheeler, &Beyond managing director
Asia, South America & business development, the opening of the
Punakha River Lodge marks the start of a new era of expansion for the
company, and will allow it to further grow its conservation-led business
model in Asia and beyond.
The Punakha River Lodge, set on the banks of the Mo Chu River in the
Punakha Valley, will feature six tented suites, a two-bedroom villa with
a private pool, and a one-bedroom villa with a plunge pool or hot tub.
Inspired by the natural surroundings, the lodge will blend
traditional Bhutanese style with a unique touch. Safari-style tented
suites will be suspended from a traditional Bhutanese timber structure
and will feature decorative painted and gilded details, particularly in
the brass-clad bathrooms.
The interior design will also incorporate the blue poppy, the
national flower of Bhutan, as a recurring theme, along with handwoven
Bhutanese wool products for upholstery, linen detailing, and blankets.
The lodge site offers panoramic views of the Himalayas and easy
access to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, a popular destination in
Punakha. The riverside location is ideal for outdoor activities, such as
yoga, massages, and swimming, and there are nearby walking trails and
opportunities for river rafting, kayaking, and nature hikes.
&Beyond will also offer an early morning experience at the
Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten Hike, thanks to the lodge's direct
In line with &Beyond's commitment to sustainability, the Punakha
River Lodge will have an extensive organic vegetable garden, and guests
will have the opportunity to visit a nearby community farming project.
The lodge will also offer exclusive experiences such as paddy field
lunches, surprise drink stops, and picnic lunches with unique views of
Wheeler states that &Beyond's investment in staff training and
bespoke experiences will make the Punakha River Lodge stand out as
unique and allow guests to fully immerse themselves in the exceptional