Amankora Punakha, Punakha Valley Bhutan
Even the arrival at Amankora Punakha is a bit special. Cross a short rickety footbridge decorated in prayer flags, over the Mo Chhu River and a golf buggy awaits ready to whizz you into the courtyard.
The hotel is in a restored traditional Bhutanese farmhouse infused with Amankora’s more contemporary signature style of white-washed natural stone, pine wood, and a neutral colour palette. Punakha is one of the warmer valleys in Bhutan and it is the first Aman resort there to have an outdoor swimming pool. The poolside is a great spot to relax with a G&T and a book, surrounded by Bhutan's famously beautiful scenery.
Shaded by Chinese cherry trees and illuminated with fire and lamps by night, the courtyard outside the farmhouse is a calming place where guests can dine outdoors. Western and Bhutanese dishes are served here or in the farmhouse on communal tables. Cooking classes are held in the tea pavilion, while a traditional altar room for meditation is available, along with a library, steam room and yoga room.
With just 8 open-plan suites, the lodge offers an intimate atmosphere and a great spot to soak up the scenery. You're only a short drive away from the famous Punakha Dzong or you could choose to take a leisurely day trek there by following the course of the river. More active visitors might choose to trek up into the hills to a picturesque stupa or try out some white-water rafting.
Of all the Amankoras in Bhutan, we feel the Punakha Lodge has the most character. If you’re going to splurge and choose just one, we highly recommend this property for both a luxurious and relaxing stay.
Luxury - Luxury hotels would have a superb level of service, very comfortable and usually spacious bedrooms, excellent food, great design and character. For us, when we visited, these places all had the 'wow factor'. A luxury hotel should satisfy the criteria of the most discerning clients.
It might not seem like the most obvious destination for a honeymoon (my wife had to convince me I must admit!), but it proved to the favourite part of our South East Asian trip