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Six Senses Bhutan

Six Senses Bhutan

Habita Architects
Thimphu, Paro, Punakha, Gangtey, Bumthang, Bhutan | View Map
Project Year
Six Senses Bhutan

Six Senses Bhutan

Habita Architects as Architects

Located in the colorful Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan famous for its Gross National Happiness (GNH) philosophy, Six senses Bhutan celebrates its highly-anticipated arrival with the opening of its first three lodges in Thimphu, Punakha and Paroon April 1st, 2019. Other two lodges, Gangtey and Bumthang, will be opened soon. The lodges seamlessly combine the brand’s commitment to wellness, sustainability and out-of-the-ordinary experiences with the country’s rich culture, warm hospitality and omni-present spirituality.

Comprised of five lodges spread over the west and central valleys of this remote Himalayan kingdom, Six Senses Bhutan offers guests a unique adventure with uplifting experiences at every turn. From sunrise meditations and holistic spa treatments to private astrology readings and butter lamp lighting ceremonies to incredible hikes and treks through pristine forests, the aim is to leave enriched and reconnected.

Each location has been thoughtfully designed to fully immerse travelers into the local culture. The lodges, which vary in style, showcase the diversity and special character of each valley. Offering sweeping views, the spacious interiors are framed by subtle references to Bhutanese architecture, seen in the simple lines of the natural timber furniture and the presence of locally-inspired touches, such as bukharis(traditional wood-burning stoves) and vegetable-dyed, antique-washed Himalayan rugs.

Sustainability lives at the foundation of Six Senses Bhutan and is reflected through active management of energy, water, waste, purchasing and chemical usage. The Kingdom of Bhutan keeps 60 percent of its land under forest cover, as mandated by its constitution. The four pillars of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) philosophy are: Sustainable Development, Environmental Protection, Cultural Preservation, and Good Governance, all of which are carefully woven into the design, operations and identity of Six Senses Bhutan.


Design Concept
Six Senses Bhutan is a group of resort located separately in 5 important cities of Bhutan which are Thimphu, Punaka, Gangtey, Bumthang and Paro. Each city has its own content with different characteristic of geography, weather and vernacular architecture.  There is the design regulation in Bhutan written that the architectural design must reflect the “Bhutaness” which required the local authority to review and approve prior proceeding.

Therefore, the main design concept is to re-interpret the Bhutanese  architecture by integrating the content and context of each city in terms of meaning and surrounding atmosphere.

Main Facilities

Thimphu – Castle in the sky

As Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan, the Castle Concept has been brought into the design in part of the Main Facilities. With the location is set high above on the mountain with the city scenic view below, an extra-large pond is created to reflect the above sky. The reflection makes the building look as if it is floating in the sky and taking the view of the earth below. There is a pray room which located facing to the Big Buddha statue so the prayer is similarly praying to the Big Buddha too.


Paro – Living ruin

There are many impressive ruins not too far from the site and view from the site is the town below. On the other side,  there is the ruin with the beautiful mountain background. The ruin then is the design inspiration. The new living ruin is designed to pull the nearby ruin as a part of the site by creating the perception connectivity. 


Punakha – Flying farmhouse

For Punakha, rivers and paddy fields are the outstanding landscape characteristic. With the mild weather, comparing to other cities, there is the outdoor swimming pool provided and it is assimilating well with the surrounded step paddy fields where the living room is floating out above the pool as if it is flying. 


Gangtey – Bird watching bridge

Mountains and the migrated Crane birds are the special character of the city.  Therefore, the concept for Main Facilities is to build the Crane bird watching area which the unique local bridge structure characteristic is the design inspiration. 


Bumthang - Forest in the Forest

The impressive vertical lines of pine forest were found upon the site visit, therefore, it has been brought into the design concept. The Main Facilities are behaved as it is "the forest in the forest" which the architecture is designed to blend with the pine forest surrounding and all main building components are reference to the vertical line.


Guest Accommodation

The main design concept is reference to the Bhutanese domestic vernacular architecture where it is varied in details upon the location. For example, the construction materials which are stone, rammed earthed look, timber. The building function is also different related to the local weather, such as, Punakha where is the milder weather will have more outdoor space, and the pattern of door and window is also slightly different in each city. 


The design for spa is considered by each property whether to be outstanding or hidden. However, the architectural style will be the same style as the main facilities and guest accommodation of each property. Some spa is the stand alone building surrounded by courtyard such as Thimphu.

Paro spa is hidden in the landscape to maintain the connection between the living ruin (main facilities) and the existing ruin.


Punakha spa is the building cluster connected by the exterior walkway as weather allow. The construction is the tradition rammed earth as the attempt to conserve the vernacular construction technic.

Gangtey spa is included as a part of the hotel block.


For Bumthang, the spa has the same architectural characteristic as the main facilities and the guest accommodation which the building is located aligned with the front river and hidden in the pine forest.


The approach concept is from local plants to create the arrival perception to the guest, which are, Cherry blossom for Thimphu, Step paddy field for Punakha, Rhododendrons for Gangtey, Pine forest for Bhumthang and Apple orchard for Paro.

Materials :


Exterior wall : Whitewashed local stone finish

Interior wall : Whitewashed local stone, local timber finish

Floor: Local stone, local timber finish


Exterior wall : Local stone, local timber, rammed earth finish

Interior wall :Local stone, local timber finish

Floor: Local stone, local timber finish


Exterior wall :Rammed earth finish

Interior wall :Plastered finish, local timber finish, ratten

Floor: Local stone, local timber finish


Exterior wall :Local stone finish

Interior wall :Local stone, local timber finish

Floor: Local stone, local timber finish


Exterior wall :Local stone finish

Interior wall :Local stone, local timber finish

Floor: Local stone, local timber finish

Project Credits
Landscape Designer
Interior Designer
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