You know we love ourselves a little luxe here at twenty30forty. However, we like to think that we're just a wee bit more "real" - sure we live it up at an Aman or a Banyan property occasionally, But our main focus during our travels are the local connections.
So we were delighted to discover Zhiwa Ling.
We will start this but saying the photos (and trust me, we looked at a lot of them) do not do the property justice. Maybe it's the beautifully intricate carvings seen all over the property. Perhaps its the riot of colours from said carvings. It honestly looked borderline gaudy in pictures and we were a bit apprehensive. But the whole point of travel is to take a chance, right? And boy were we glad we did with Zhiwa Ling. Our jaws literally dropped when we were warmly ushered through its front doors. Stunning. Just stunning.
And here's where we talk abt the service. The Bhutanese people are a really lovely lot - friendly and honest, they genuinely want you to love their country as much as they do. And this is beautifully showcased at the Zhiwa Ling. From the moment, we dropped our bags at their front doors to the time we departed for our flight at the ungodly hour of 5am. No request was too tedious - even our very specific request for hot coffee, a bit of fruit (OK, we also very specifically asked for those delicious Bhutanese apples & bananas, if possible?) and cucumber sandwiches for our pre-departure brekkie. No, we're not British. They were just really tasty. Our curiosity about their locally-brewed ara (aka their local moonshine) prompted their bartender to graciously pour our a teeny tasting portion for us. We know what you're thinking, it could be borderline cloying and obtrusive. It honestly wasn't - it just felt warm and welcoming... in quite sumptuous digs.
The property itself. Ah. It was really quite lovely. We still smile thinking about it.
Rooms are massive. Actually, that seemed to be a feature in most of the places we stayed at in the country. We each got a queen-sized bed and there was still space for a small sitting area, bath and walk-in wardrobe. We went in the winter and the heated floors were just a delight. We won't go into more detail because you can read about it on their website and the Nat Geo (link: https://www.nationalgeographiclodges.com/lodges/asia/zhiwa-ling/about/#.Xdn9li2B1HU) as well. It's all there and it's all true - please take note of their sustainability efforts as well.
Last but not least, please visit their charming little temple on the top floor of the main building. It is nothing new - it will mirror most of what you've seen or will be seeing in Bhutan. But the fact that it is within a 5* property and clearly lovingly maintained makes it quite unique.