Are you looking for luxury but with a strong traditional element in its style and service? Zhiwaling that translates as “Paradise” is one of Bhutan’s most reputed hotel brands. Join me as I enter the premise of this heritage hotel in upper Paro valley.
About the Hotel
There’s something about high end hotels that seems distant. It’s not for everyone. First, of course, it’s because of the price and the often beyond-grasp opulence they sell. I felt the same way, initially, about Zhiwaling: the first Bhutanese family-owned hotel chain of this standard. I had been there for certain events but never stayed there. “Not for me”, I had always felt (of course money was a factor – isn’t it always?) So when I got a chance to work on a corporate video for the brand, I jumped on the opportunity. I told myself to look beyond the grandeur of the place and this is what I saw.
Zhiwaling Heritage Hotel is a grand ode to Bhutanese craftsmanship.
As you enter the hotel through the Mago – a traditionally designed main entrance door, you’ll find yourself stepping into an interior space that’ll make you wonder whether you’re in some sacred temple in Bhutan. The main show in the lobby is the intricately designed atrium that opens up the main structure as your eyes move up towards the surrounding Tazi (balcony with traditional railings)
Opened in 2005, Zhiwaling isn’t exactly an old hotel, but the amazing architecture conveys a feel of timeless tradition, like a piece of history in itself. Every part of the hotel is handcrafted, from the massive Kachhen (pillars) which are so intricately hand-carved to the colourful hand-painted ceilings and walls, each part of the hotel celebrates Bhutan’s traditional arts at its finest.
Here’s a tour of Zhiwaling’s brand new Junior Suites. We love the lightness in the wall colors, fabric on the sofas and the linen which balance with the traditional details on the windows, ceiling and the minimal feature painting on the wall.
The Junior Suite is priced at US $315 during peak seasona & at US $181 during regular months with 10% BST & 10% service charge. If you’re impressed by this suite, wait till you see the Royal Raven Room.
- Traditional Art & Architecture: Zhiwaling hotel’s magnificent design is the work of around sixty Bhutanese traditional artists spanning six years. Entering the hotel feels like visiting one of Bhutan’s exquisite fortresses. The intricate designs on each and every element will have you explore the hotel’s every corner whether it’s the artrium in the lobby, the murals on the corridoor walls and the exquisite traditional tapestries on giant walls.
2. Lingka Restaurant: The artwork on the murals take you to the restaurant of the hotel. Just like the hotel’s blending of traditional and modern art styles, Lingka restaurant also serves concoctions of Bhutanese and western taste.
3. Exquisite Spa Experience: After a tiring hike to Tiger’s Nest you’ll want nothing but relaxation. The hotel’s spa and wellness centre is a beautiful space where traditional Bhutanese wellness methods are used. Have you tried a traditional hot stone bath? The setting in Zhiwaling is one of the best I’ve seen in Bhutan so far.
4. Tea House: Do you love Japanese tea houses? You can experience something similar at Zhiwaling but you’ll be served tradtiional suja here. The space is beautiful and peaceful and the tea house also has a nice range of Bhutanese coffee table books. You’ll spend hours here.
You can contact zhiwaling hotel through their website www.zhiwalingheritage.com