Uma Paro Hotel Bhutan
Perched on a hilltop overlooking Bhutan’s Paro Valley, the Uma Paro, which features in our Relax & Explore programme, is a superb place to unwind, visit local monasteries or simply enjoy the stunning scenery. Here Jorge from the Uma Paro Hotel explains its appeal.
1. Tell us about the history of the hotel and surrounding area?
Uma Paro sits on a 38 acre tree-clad hill overlooking the Paro Valley. Paro is the cultural heartland of the ancient Kingdom of Bhutan, The Land of the Thunder Dragon. The word Uma means living house, and Uma Paro is truly a home away from home, the perfect place to escape to and adventure into the rich textures of the local traditions, religions and customs. With 29 rooms, 9 villas and 20 rooms from Superior to Suites, the small size of Uma Paro allows guests to intimately and personally experience the geography, spirituality and culture surrounding the property.
2. What sets your hotel apart from other hotels in the region?
We honestly believe Uma Paro to be the best in Bhutan and among the best in the region. COMO’s passion, creativity and style values are ever present at Uma Paro - blended and individualized, in response to the unique location, the magic and the culture of this small kingdom. We are part of our community and surroundings; we offer our guests the opportunity to discover and explore a unique insight into the culture, landscape and the people of Bhutan. A genuine and great local experience delivered with warmth and care for our guests, friends and with the assurance of COMO’s high standards in every aspect of hospitality.
3. Tell us something unique about your hotel
To me there are several unique aspects about Uma Paro. It is the only luxury villa resort in Bhutan providing probably the best level of accommodation in the country. A true home away from home in unique and serene surroundings. Our COMO Shambala, a way of life, a wellness and holistic journey - inspiring and empowering guests to achieve harmony and balance through personal discovery. There is also our renowned and innovative cuisine, a favorite among locals and foreign visitors, serving COMO Shambala cuisine, Western, Bhutanese and Indian cuisine. Together with the amazing culture, the beautiful surroundings and the smiles and kindness of the Bhutanese people, make for an unforgettable experience, a trip of a life time.
4. What is your favourite thing about working at the hotel?
I feel honored and privileged to have the opportunity to work at Uma and Bhutan. I’m passionate about the culture, the people and the beauty of the country. Whilst at work, I have the chance to slowly explore, discover and become part of this small community - to really live and experience the country. Personally, an experience I will remember and cherish all my life. Professionally, working here is also a very unique opportunity, as for many of our guests this is really a trip of a life time. It is important to make sure that we become part of this very special experience and manage to delight our guests throughout their stay. It is both very gratifying and challenging.
5. Tell us about your chef's speciality dish
As I said, COMO takes great care and pride in our culinary offers. It is an integral and very important part of our hospitality experience. Our Chef, Jillene Slui, is a talented and passionate cook and is able to put together the most amazing meals, especially in such a difficult destination, logistics wise, as Bhutan. Definitely one of her and my favourites would be the “Apple smoked yak loin with baby cos hearts, Tibetan soft shell walnuts, garden herbs and pomegranate vinaigrette”. Yak season only lasts from October to February, I wouldn’t miss this coming one!
6. What are the most popular activities for your guests?
There are so many things to do, see and visit in Paro - but without a doubt the most popular and special activity is to hike to Takshang Monastery, Tiger’s Nest, which is perched on a cliff at a height of 900 metres above the Paro Valley.
It is around a two hour hike from the base to the doorstep of the monastery. The visit to this really mystical and magical place will be the highlight of any trip to Bhutan.
One of my personal favourites is visiting Cheele La, at 4000 metres it is the highest mountain pass in the country. Combine this with a trek to Kela Goemba Nunnery, which you can end with a 35 km, 2000 metre downhill bike ride back into into the Paro Valley.
7. Have any particularly interesting or well-known guests stayed at your hotel?
Definitely, our clientele are diverse, cosmopolitan and savvy. Most of our guests are amazingly nice and gracious people who are really interested in the destination and everything it has to offer - the culture, nature and the Bhutanese smiles. Coming from so many different backgrounds and nationalities, but all with something in common - all looking for unique and genuine experiences, avid to explore and discover. Having the chance to share my time and stories with all of them is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job.
8. Do you personally have a favourite time of year at the hotel?
Bhutan is a year-round destination. It is beautiful throughout the year and with each season there comes a dramatric change in the landscape. As a passionate photographer, my personal favourite, would be the winter - with the crystal clear days and the dramatic back drop of the imposing snow covered peaks of the Himalayan range.
View Cox & Kings' luxury tours to the Paro Valley: Bhutan.