Luxury lodge brand plans first Asian site

Luxury travel company &Beyond is set to launch its first lodge in Asia, scheduled to open in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan in September 2023.

&Beyond Punakha River Lodge will be situated on the banks of the Mo Chu River in the Punakha Valley.

Tented accommodation

The lodge will feature six tented suites, as well as a two-bedroom villa with a private pool and a one-bedroom villa, which boasts a plunge pool / hot tub, depending on the season.

Drawing inspiration from its natural surroundings, the resort will combine traditional Bhutanese style with a twist. Safari-style tented suites are suspended from a traditional Bhutanese timber structure. 

Traditional design

Decorative painted and gilded details appear in the woodwork, particularly in the bathrooms, which will feature brass-cladded bathtubs. The blue poppy, the national flower of Bhutan, also makes an appearance as a recurring theme woven throughout the interior design.

Handwoven Bhutanese wool products are used as upholstery, linen detailing and blankets, bringing a touch of bold and bright colour and texture to the simple design. The interiors aim to evoke an overall feeling of a sense of peace and wellbeing, combined with a sense of place. 

Local sourcing

&Beyond’s first property in Bhutan will offer experiences including paddy field lunches, surprise drinks stops and picnic lunches with river views.

An extensive organic vegetable garden reflects the company’s dedication to sourcing local, sustainably grown ingredients. Guests will also have the opportunity to visit a community farming project nearby.

New era

Mark Wheeler, &Beyond MD for Asia, South America and business development, said: “The first fully &Beyond-owned and managed property to open on the continent, Punakha River Lodge, kicks off a brand new era of expansion for our brand.

“Our intention is to build onto our almost two decades of touring expertise in Asia to create a lodge footprint that will help us to continue to grow our conservation-led business model on three continents.”

Natural integration

He added: “&Beyond’s investment in staff training and the bespoke experiences that we pride ourselves on offering will make the lodge stand out as unique.

“We plan to look outwards for inspiration, integrating the unique nature of the destination into our service ethos, thus creating a platform for guests to immerse themselves in this exceptional location and allowing the destination to shine.”