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regular-article-logo Thursday, 13 June 2024

An awakening in the hills: A taste of homegrown Bhutanese hospitality and many more

Fresh mountain air, organic produce, a country with immense value for happiness, culture, nature and the environment, unparalleled hospitality, and a cuisine that is not just healthy, but packs in quite the punch of flavours — that’s Bhutan for you

Zeba Akhtar Ali Published 12.05.24, 08:58 AM
PEMAKO PUNAKHA An aerial shot of Pemako Punakha, a conglomeration of tented villas, each tucked into some nook and corner in the wilderness

PEMAKO PUNAKHA An aerial shot of Pemako Punakha, a conglomeration of tented villas, each tucked into some nook and corner in the wilderness Pictures: Pemako Punakha and Pemako Thimphu

Fresh mountain air, organic produce, a country with immense value for happiness, culture, nature and the environment, unparalleled hospitality, and a cuisine that is not just healthy, but packs in quite the punch of flavours — that’s Bhutan for you. We came to this conclusion after our recent visit to the country where we experienced top-notch Bhutanese geniality at Pemako (a Bhutanese homegrown hospitality brand) at their flagship hotel, the newly opened Pemako Punaka.

Flights from Calcutta land in Paro, and we took Tashi Air, another local Bhutanese brand that’s ventured into aviation since 2012 and now runs successful routes between Paro and Bangkok via Calcutta. With an aim to promote tourism, the airline also services Kathmandu in Nepal, as well as New Delhi.

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Once we landed in Paro, we were taken to Pemako Thimphu, Pemako’s recently rebranded and refurbished offering in the capital city, that’s a sanctuary, yet right in the middle of the city offering ease of connectivity. After a hearty lunch and property tour, we set on our three-and-a-half-hour-long journey into the mountains towards Pemako Punaka, the latest offering from the brand, set amongst magnificent natural surroundings, and is beautifully infused with traditional Bhutanese essence. Pemako Punakha is a haven for self-reflection, exploration and for being one with nature, and that’s exactly how we spent two nights at this mountain wonder.

Built carefully over seven years, each corner at Pemako Punakha exhibits perceptive design touches ingrained with love and tradition. The hotel is spread across 60 acres of lush land boasting an interesting combination of 19 luxury tented villas, one twobedroom tented villa and one presidential suite villa, each privately placed and uniting seamlessly with clear blue skies, the mighty Himalayas and diverse flora and fauna

Built carefully over seven years, each corner at Pemako Punakha exhibits perceptive design touches ingrained with love and tradition. The hotel is spread across 60 acres of lush land boasting an interesting combination of 19 luxury tented villas, one twobedroom tented villa and one presidential suite villa, each privately placed and uniting seamlessly with clear blue skies, the mighty Himalayas and diverse flora and fauna

A snapshot of a simple Bhutanese meal from the heritage restaurant Alchemy House, where food feels like magic.

A snapshot of Pemako Thimphu, an urban retreat within the city of Thimphu with a stunning facade resembling Bhutan’s dzong (fortress), aesthetically blending modern design with traditional Bhutanese architecture. The hotel offers a range of accommodation options from meticulously designed deluxe rooms with private sit-outs to spacious luxury suites. One can enjoy authentic Bhutanese and world cuisine at F&B options such as Ara, a stylish, mood-lit bar, Chig Ja Gye, an authentic local cuisine restaurant, and The Thongsal, an all-day dining restaurant among other stellar restaurants at the hotel.

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