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Como Uma Paro & Como Uma Punakha, Bhutan

Como Uma Paro & Como Uma Punakha, Bhutan

Old Oct 24, 18, 1:52 pm
  #1  
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Como Uma Paro & Como Uma Punakha, Bhutan

Como Uma Paro

Map| 1 Review | 100% Recommended

Como Uma Paro

Paro Valley PO Box 222 Paro, Bhutan BT

Como Uma Paro & Como Uma Punakha, Bhutan (15 Photos)

Como Uma Paro

Check In

Check-in was quick, our guide & driver were waiting for us at the airport. It's about 15min drive to the hotel. 

We then discussed with our guide, Sonam, about the itinerary for the week.

We had the 9-nights Himalayan Explorer itinerary, which included 5 nights in Paro (1st night, then nights 6-9), and 4 nights in Punakha (nights 2-5)
We had included 1 guide, 1 driver, 2 butlers (1 in each hotel), all food and excursions excluding beverages.

It was possible to change the itinerary, but we followed the recommandation except for 1 day when I was not feeling too well!

We were served a delicious welcoming tea. We also discussed with James Low, the manager, who was very emotional about Bhutan. He is very invested into the country and the hotel and it shows.

After our tea, we were shown our room by our private butler.

For our check-in at Punakha, we only had to sign a document given by our Butler.

 

Room

PARO

The villa is incredibly large. It includes a living room, bedroom, large bathroom, private spa treatment room, small kitchen (which is also the entrance for our butler). As amenities, fruits and small snacks are free and replenished. You also have access to a bukhari (wood burning stove) and a small terrace outside. It was too cold for us to use while we were there. My main complaint is about the heating. We had trouble selecting the right temperature, as the system was quite old and had different thermostat in every room. Sometimes it was too hot in a room and colder in the other one. We should have asked our butler, but I did not! All-in-all it's a really small complaint and it does not change my review.

 

PUNAKHA

The villa is a lot smaller. It was ok for a couple but not with children I think. It is also newer and the view is to die for. The thermostat were improved in this one ;) You have access to a living room, bedroom, large terrace, bathroom. No private-spa in this one!

 

 

 

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Service

Service was excellent across the board. 

Bhutanese people are warm and very authentic. 

Our private guide, Sonam, was exceptionnal and I would recommend her to anyone willing to visit Bhutan. We learned a great deal about Bhutan and buddhism.

The managers at both hotels were present, James at Paro and Kelley (she started 2 weeks ago) at Punakha. 

We had a small problem with virtuoso amenities and James resolved it really quickly.

Your private butler is always there to help you. He is also your main waiter! He was present for every meal to serve us which is really nice. He could arrange private meals, meals in the villa, etc.

Dining

The food was really good. I would say that Bhutan is not a foodies destination, but the quality was there. You have 3 types of menus, either western food (eg; rack of lamb, steak, risotto, etc.), bhutanese set menu (very spicy! but quite good) and indian set menu (only available in Paro).

We alternated between the 3 menus during our time there. I would say the best were probably the bhutanese and indian menus, has you can somewhat understand that western food is not their specialty. I still had some good western meal and the setting is fantastic. 

The only downfall I would say is the wine list if quite short and poor. I don't value great wines that much, but if wine is a priority for you it might not be the best place.

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Location

Bhutan is a superb country!

With our guide, we were able to visit a ton of different places!

Dzong, monasteries, tiger's nest, temples, etc.

If you like to hike and you are open-minded (they are really religious), I would recommend it in a heart-beat.

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Overall

Overall a superb stay. They have been voted #1 and #2 hotels in Asia by Conde Nast Travelers (#3 in the world for Punakha) and I have no difficulty believing it!

The mix of private excursions and a nice hotel to relax in the afternoon is something that I highly-value and they deliver on this!

 

If you have any questions about Como or Bhutan, feel free to let me know!

Como Uma Paro & Como Uma Punakha, Bhutan

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bhrubin likes this.
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Old Oct 26, 18, 12:00 pm
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Great report! I was just there recently as well and echo everything that PapaNico said! Definitely an unforgettable trip! I miss the ema datshi dish
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Old Oct 26, 18, 6:53 pm
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Thanks for the report!

We are big fans of the Halkin by COMO in London and entertained the possibility of these properties for Bhutan. As Aman fans, too, however, we are curious as to how the COMO and Aman properties in Paro and Punakha compare.
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Old Oct 27, 18, 6:05 am
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DSI
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Iíve been to amankora paro (and the other amans) and also visited como paro for a meal. The food, like any como, is more refined than aman. Service probably the same and rooms at amankora paro are more basic and dated.

The most important thing in in Bhutan is your guide and driver. Should you go, Iíll email you the ones we had and it would be worth seeking them out and Iím sure you could mix/match hotels anyways. The most interesting aman there is in gangtey anyways, and I only saw the building of the ss there which seemed a tad more remote.
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Old Oct 27, 18, 7:33 am
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sorry to say but the interior looks like a cheap air bnb
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Old Oct 27, 18, 7:34 am
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@mad07 : I have the Como recipe for Ema Datshi if you want! it's pretty easy actually They have even given me some dry chilies to do it at home!

@bhrubin : I haven't been to Aman myself, but I can echo DSI comments from what i've researched pre-trip (I was hesitating between Aman and COMO).
The food being better at COMO and the fact that some Aman lodges only has communal tables was a big reason for me choosing COMO.
Aman has 5 lodges in Bhutan though, if you prefer to see more of the country. My wife hates changing hotels often, so for me it was not a plus but maybe for others it could be interesting.

My guide was working for Aman before and she said regular guests prefered COMO usually (but I would have been surprised if she had told me the opposite considering she works for como!)

Normal rooms at COMO seems rather small though, I would really recommend a villa if you could. They are somewhat more expensive than aman regular rooms, but not by much if you consider they are stand-alone villas.

Six Senses is opening 3 lodges soon (paro, punakha and thimphu) and 2 others to follow, but they were closed when I was there.
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Old Oct 27, 18, 7:48 am
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Originally Posted by PapaNico View Post
@mad07 : I have the Como recipe for Ema Datshi if you want! it's pretty easy actually They have even given me some dry chilies to do it at home .
Ahh I should have asked for the chilis! We probably overlapped maybe?

I totally agree about the guides - we had a fantastic one as well who has been with Como for 9 or 10 years and was knowledgeable and also really fun. He was great with my mom too, who is older, and needed some help especially with the big temple hikes.

we actually combined the trip with Gangtey Lodge, which was BEAUTIFUL. Iím kind of obsessed - highly recommend if you donít mind the drive time.

We were debating between COMO and Aman, but ultimately went with COMO just based on a lot of reviews (e.g como is generally characterized as warmer/more friendly, better food, and the things AMAN is usually known for, falls short? Again, based on a bunch of googling I did ) if food is important, it might help to know the King of Bhutan often takes/orders meals from Uma Paro! Haha

in addition to Six Senses, I believe the Taj is also expanding out to other cities - I want to say Punakha?
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Old Oct 27, 18, 8:04 am
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Yes, I saw the Taj building in Punakha. Instead of being on the mountain like others it's close to the river.

It looks a lot bigger than Aman, COMO and Six senses.
I usually like small hotels better, but we'll see!

I've also heard good things about Gangtey Lodge.
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