Six Senses Bhutan: A Wellness Journey Through the Happiest Place on Earth
March 8, 2019 by Hidden Doorways
By: Allison Reiber DiLiegro
Wellness is an integral part of the Six Senses experience. Across the globe, Six Senses spas help guests reconnect with themselves, often turning to local culture for inspiration. It just so happens that Bhutan is bursting with inspiration. Six Senses Bhutan offers a journey through five spas, each with its own identity and focus. As guests travel through the Kingdom, each spa helps them connect more deeply with the destination as well as themselves.
Famously, Bhutan measures its progress by Gross National Happiness instead of Gross Domestic Product. After the fourth King of Bhutan made this proclamation in 1972, he set about making his plan official. The government consulted experts around the world to devise nine “domains of happiness.” Five of these domains inspire the Six Senses spa journey: Health, Time Use, Education, Psychological Well-being and Culture.
As happiness starts with health, so does the Six Senses Bhutan spa journey. Thimphu is typically a traveler’s first stop in Bhutan. Here, guests can have a Wellness Screening with the in-house doctor that provides a detailed survey of their physical and emotional well-being. This information gives guests a better understanding of their current state of wellness. If interested, the doctor can recommend a personalized program for spa-goers to follow during their time in Bhutan and afterwards.
Each of the five spas has a unique feature and a designated crystal, chosen to align with the spa’s core value. Thimphu features traditional Bhutanese hot stone baths, where the water is heated with fire-roasted stones. The crystal here is clear quartz, said to magnify the healing vibrations of other crystals. As guests collect the crystals along the journey (which they’re allowed to keep), the clear quartz makes the others grow stronger. Guests can hold the crystal during the entire treatment or just in the beginning, when therapists use singing bowls and chant traditional Bhutanese mantras.
At Punakha, the core value is Time Use. The spa is arranged like a small village, with freestanding treatment rooms and a path that connects them. Here, guests are invited to do a guided open-air walking meditation prior to all treatments. The meditation allows them to slow down, breathe deeply and feel more grounded. The crystal used in Punakha is carnelian, believed to reduce tension and increase vitality.
At each lodge, guests are free to choose the spa experience they wish to have. Spiritual types can take Yoga Nidra classes and sit for meditation sessions with the in-house master. Travelers just looking to relax have a full range of treatments to choose from. There are holistic facials, body scrubs, deep-tissue massages – ideal after long days of hiking – and so much more.
At Gangtey (set to open in summer 2019), the focus is on Psychological Well-being. Here, surrounded by pristine nature and wildlife, guests are invited to see the world as if they were children, with wonder and awe. The spa has a Swedana steam bath, where guests can steam their bodies with their head outside, looking at nature as if through a child’s eyes. The crystal here is amethyst, which both stimulates and soothes the mind.
The happiness value in Bumthang (set to open in summer 2019) is Culture. Guests can soak in the hot stone baths, an old Bhutanese tradition, and practice the local mantra, Om Mani Padme Hung. The mantra is believed to cleanse the mind of pride, jealousy, ignorance, anger, greed and desire. During chanting, guests are invited to hold an amazonite crystal, said to balance energies.
In Paro, the focus is on Education. In Bhutan, education is free and understanding the history of the country is important. The spa has a hot sauna and cold plunge that overlook 12th-century temple ruins. Guests can look out at the ruins and ponder all they’ve learned during their time in Bhutan. The crystal here is tiger’s eye, in honor of the nearby Tiger’s Nest monastery. Tiger’s eye is believed to release fear and make decisions with understanding rather than the clouds of emotions.
On the final day, guests are encouraged to reflect on their journey through Bhutan and set intentions for returning home. A beautiful conclusion is a meditation session in the neighboring temple with the in-house master. Sitting on the temple floor, feeling the vibrations of a singing bowl while a butter lamp burns, guests might find themselves feeling a little happier.
Six Senses Bhutan
Chunimeding, Babesa, Chang Gewog, Thimphu
Telephone: +975 2 350 773