On 15 September 2012, COMO Hotels and Resorts’ opened a new lodge and sister property to Bhutan’s much-loved Uma by COMO, Paro.
The 11-room Uma by COMO, Punakha is situated on a hillside in the lush Punakha Valley a five-hour drive from Paro. This will open up a new part of the country to COMO guests seeking to combine luxury with Uma’s renowned adventure itineraries.
The lodge itself is located towards the head of the valley – an important cultural region with opportunities for white-water rafting, hiking and cycling under the expert supervision of Uma’s qualified English-speaking guides. Steep vehicular access up to the lodge is rewarded with bird’s-eye views across the bright green, terraced fields spread out below, graduating down towards a dramatic bend in the Mo Chu river. Comprised of pale blue glacial waters, the Mo Chu (female river) joins the Po Chu (male river) a few miles downstream, the confluence marked by the Punakha Dzong, an important religious and administrative centre where the young King of Bhutan was recently married.
Uma Punakha is designed by Cheong Yew Kwan, a Malaysia-born, Bali-based architect who is also responsible for COMO Shambhala Estate and Uma by COMO, Ubud in Bali. True to Yew Kwan’s style, simplicity prevails, with natural light flooding interiors. The 11 rooms include an intimate one-bedroom COMO Villa and a family-friendly two-bedroom COMO Villa. The styling is in line with Uma Paro: over-size beds, wood-burning stoves and calming neutral colour schemes punctuated with traditional hand-painted Bhutanese wall designs.
Uma Punakha’s open-plan restaurant and lounge bar ‘Bukhari’ will showcase the best local, seasonal ingredients and Bhutanese delicacies alongside a varied international menu. The lodge will also have a COMO Shambhala Retreat, with one treatment room featuring a traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath. Treatments will focus on massages and body therapies including the popular COMO Shambhala Massage.
To mark the launch, COMO has introduced new itineraries to highlight the best of the destination. The ‘Himalayan Explorer’ package splits stays between both properties (five or seven nights) with the longer itinerary incorporating the Bumdra Monastery Camp – the hotel’s own wilderness campsite high in the Himalaya accessed via remote mountain paths.
About the COMO Group and COMO Hotels and Resorts:
Headquartered in Singapore, the luxury hotel group (http://www.comohotels.com/) represents a unique vision of contemporary living. This encompasses the hospitality collection known as COMO Hotels and Resorts, the international luxury fashion retailer Club 21, the award-winning wellness concept COMO Shambhala and the philanthropic COMO Foundation.
Founded by Christina Ong, COMO Hotels and Resorts develops and manages handpicked, individually curated properties, including The Halkin by COMO in London, two Metropolitan by COMO hotels in London and Bangkok, Parrot Cay by COMO in the Turks and Caicos, Cocoa Island by COMO in the Maldives, and three Uma by COMO experience resorts in Bali and Bhutan (the newest of the three, Uma by COMO, Punakha, opens September 2012). Point Yamu by COMO is a new property in Phuket, Thailand, opening 2013. The company also manages COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali in partnership with its sister brand in wellness, COMO Shambhala, which promotes health, relaxation and learning through its products, services, cuisine, treatments and spa facilities within each COMO property.
Accurate and intuitive service, sympathetic and elegant design befitting each location, and outstanding cuisine are hallmarks of the ‘by COMO’ experience. Restaurants within COMO’s properties include the award-winning Thai restaurant nahm in London and Bangkok, and the internationally renowned Nobu restaurant in London.
COMO Hotels and Resorts Brand Positioning:
COMO Hotels and Resorts creates personalised luxury travel experiences highlighting wellness, cuisine, adventure and culture, service and design–while always trying to uphold a strong, sustainable approach towards the people and places where we operate. Urban Hotels: COMO Hotels and Resorts’ urban properties include The Halkin by COMO in London’s Belgravia, and Metropolitan by COMO hotels in London and Bangkok. All three properties feature award-winning chefs, a contemporary aesthetic and intuitive service. The lively Metropolitan hotels also house the world-famous Met Bars.
Island Resorts: COMO’s island resorts offer spectacular coastal locations, worldclass watersports and diving. The understated style and laid-back nature of Parrot Cay by COMO in the Turks and Caicos and Cocoa Island by COMO in the Maldives belie the exacting service that has become a COMO hallmark. At Point Yamu by COMO, opening 2013 on Phuket in Thailand, this service standard is set to continue, along with the Group’s contemporary aesthetic, sophisticated cuisine and comprehensive COMO Shambhala wellness treatments, which complete COMO’s approach to a perfect island holiday.
Adventure Retreats: The Uma by COMO properties in Paro and Punakha in Bhutan (Punakha opening September 2012), and Ubud in Bali unveil local culture, nature, and religious and folkloric traditions. Specialist guiding, treks and tours, physical activities and tailor-made programmes ensure memorable insights into some of the world’s most unique locations. Intimate and relaxed, the Uma properties reference local design and cuisine while providing an unmistakably COMO experience, which includes attention to holistic wellness and yoga at each property’s COMO Shambhala Retreat.
Wellness Resorts: COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali is a sanctuary for holistic wellness. Expert staff are goal-oriented, relevant and realistic in their consultative approach. Each guest’s individual needs and ambitions determine the programme of nutrition, exercise, therapies and activities. Facilities and tropical villa-style accommodation are impeccably appointed, thus also appealing to couples, honeymooners and extended families looking for a unique, and very private, Balinese vacation.