Let’s be honest. Bhutan is considered a taboo place to visit for most travelers. First of all, it costs roughly $250/day for an American tourist, and there are no other options than to purchase this outrageously expensive tourist visa if one intends on traveling to Bhutan. It must be done through an agency and the agency must book the hotel. I knew I wanted luxury, so I reached out to Naksel on my own behalf to offer my services of a vlog (which you can see here… hopefully, it’s banned in some countries due to the sensitive content where I show the spiritual phallus painted on public buildings), in exchange for a complementary stay. With that said, I’ll be honest about it. It was a beautiful resort located up in the cloud forest, but close enough to town. The hotel was made from head to toe by beautiful and local wood materials, which made for a nice cozy feel within the room and throughout. The room both immaculate and spacious, with a beautiful tub with an even more beautiful view, a comfy king sized bed with quality, plush bedding, a little living area that had the best local artisan touches – from the throw pillows to the artwork, and a beautiful little study to top it off.
I found myself spending as much time as possible in my room. When I wasn’t giving keynote sessions to the students or climbing to 4 miles up to 10,000ft Tigers Nest, I was relaxing in this serene environment that I called home in Bhutan. Known as one of the most peaceful countries in the world, Bhutan surely not only aims to please their guests, but show them the peace that resides, through visiting the local temples and even leaving your cell phone with the tour guide as you enter the quiet monastery on top of the mountain known as ‘Tigers Nest’. One truly has the opportunity to be at peace and reflect on everything that makes life, when they visit Bhutan.
Personally, it’s one of my favorite countries because of it’s ultimate serenity, unique local culture and customs, kind and wholesome people, delicious food, and fascinating spiritual appeal that no other country I’ve been to has to offer. I’ll be back to Bhutan, and when I do, I’ll be sure to stay at Naksel again.
The overall rating that I gave Naksel Boutique Hotel & Spa a 7/10.
What I loved: The room was fantastic, one of the most spacious I’d ever experienced, but not in an eerie sort of way, in a very “zen” like way, if that makes sense. I felt utterly at peace while in that room with the captivating cloud forest views. The staff were kind, and the spa was unique as well.
What Set It Back: They really have made little efforts towards sustainability and energy efficiency within their hotel, which is a shame, because they could easily instill just a few basic measures that would really make a difference. Solar panels I understand, might be much due to the long months of rain, but there are other ways such as a reverse osmosis system, energy efficient lighting, etc., that could add to the appeal of the hotel to a sustainable traveler. Bhutan is a very environmentally friendly country in general, with having broken a Guinness World Record for the most trees planted in an hour, which is why it wouldn’t be difficult or expensive to make small improvements to their hospitality sector. One other note that set my experience back, was the food. It was one of the few times I’d gotten ill from food while traveling (and this was room service), and the breakfast buffet was limiting, they were low on coffee and were very strict with timing. The day of my massive hike, they weren’t open for breakfast (it was 6:45), when they should have been open earlier to serve guests who were hiking that day (which, most do the hike in the mornings/early afternoons anyways).
Overall: Highly recommend place to stay whilst in Bhutan. Relax, enjoy, and explore this magical culture.
What makes a sustainable or regenerative hotel? A reverse osmosis water system, farm to table produce, supporting local dairy and meat farmers, engaging with local non-profit or community organization endeavors to address an issue within the country or community, energy efficient lighting, low pressure water systems, recycling, employing locals and offering fair and equal pay, replanting what was lost during the construction, use of biofuel (for boats), engaging guests in local cultural experiences and making them aware of environmental and cultural needs, LEED Certification, educating staff on importance of sustainability (turning off lights, observing for wasteful practices, etc.), reducing bathroom amenities waste (using bamboo toothbrushes instead, locally made/organic soap, shampoo and conditioner that help the environment), the list goes on.