“Every time I have some moment on a seashore, or in the mountains, or sometimes in a quiet forest, I think this is why the environment has to be preserved” – Bill Bradley
As we rode beneath the exit arch of Nak – Sel bidding a faint good-bye to the gentleman we met for the first time, I managed to sum up answers to the curiosities I previously had about charming Bhutan, its friendly people and its preserved environment.
As part of our interest to follow the Himalayan circuit, Vishnu and I started a motorcycle trip from Siliguri, West Bengal to Bhutan. That said, little did we expect a fine stay awaiting us on the slopes of the Chelela Mountain range. Located in Ngoba village, Nak – Sel Boutique exudes a sense of traditional Bhutanese heritage in its architecture.
A few kilometers from Paro Airport, Nak – Sel is an easy find with a few winding roads towards the top-most part of the hill situated at 2700 m above sea level. Like us, if you’re mesmerized by the expansive wood-made complex pristinely lit by the sun rays, you’re in for some real luxury. My communication over the past few weeks was with Mrs. Tara and Mr Bishnu, who also guided us the exact location with absolute patience.
As we approached the reception, the Nak-Sel family ensured we were given an almost red carpet treatment followed by a cup of tea in their gorgeous living room. Before we knew it, we were already whisked away by their hospitality and of course the palatial property that is in perfect harmony with nature.
Quintessentially, I did revel in a culture that remains focused to Bhutan’s very nature of aesthetic senses. The hallway to the sitting room by the reception boasts intricately painted wood works.
While I take in sips of my piping hot tea, I discovered a few more gems like a painted chest and a strand of leaf on each door, which is the logo of Nak- Sel meaning ‘forest’. The reception building houses a restaurant as well as luxury suites on lower and upper floors.
You’ll be amazed to see how every detail is thoughtfully considered into Nak-Sel’s making.With a core focus on sustainable tourism, Nak-Sel aims to raise awareness among tourists and guests by involving locals as well as implementing energy saving alternatives.
The primary construction materials like mud-bricks, traditional windows and furniture were crafted by the locals in Ngoba Village. The hotel took about 6 years to complete; however, the village reaped the benefits of electricity and a road route with the construction of this beautiful property.
Our concierge greeted us to our opulent deluxe room after a 2 second buggy ride that carried our saddle bag and backpacks. Our room was in a two-storied building majestically sitting on a higher hill just behind the main reception.
When one enters the room, it’s no surprise the first thing to do is budge the curtains to check out the views. Most rooms in Nak-Sel have a private balcony and a sitting area equipped with a study table, a flat-screen television and a coffee maker. My favorite part is the long and wide windowpanes on two walls of the oversized room with the views of the vast mountains.
At night we barely slept a wink as the forest and the mountains had other plans for us – with just the little things like watching the twinkling stars from our balcony, the freezing breeze making its way through our thick pyjamas and robes and of course the silence – it was our kind of place.
The next morning, we spent a few hours in the balcony (again) feasting our eyes on the snow-capped peak of Mount Jomolhari, the wall that serves a separation between Paro district and Tibet and is also the source of Paro Chu (river) from the South side.
At subzero temperatures, the room heaters and floor heaters in the bathroom are a great relief.
Nak-Sel thrives to use the sustainable methods in every service – if you’d like your bathroom linens to be refreshed then place them on the floor or they’d leave it for further use, which consequently helps to save precious water.
Located in the main building, the Olive restaurant serves delicious buffet during large crowds and A La Carte when the guests are lesser in number.
Though we had an option of buffet service for dinner, we were open to try the menu. Pema Dorji, a gentleman at the restaurant, suggested a few must-try’s while we were convinced with his idea on savouring the traditional Bhutanese dishes with customized spice and gravy quantity.
A different setting from the previous night, we chose an outdoor seating for our continental breakfast over an interesting conversation with Mr. Witzemann, who is also the Marketing Manager of Nak-Sel. He suggested a few tips for our motorbike ride to Central Bhutan – in terms of road conditions, accommodations as well as timing and location for the permits as we were heading to Thimphu to apply for permits to restricted areas including Haa Valley, Punakha, and Bhumthang. The two hour conversation that involved topics from around the world came to an end when Mr. Witzemann pointed to the Tigers Nest Monastery from our restaurant terrace. It was time to begin our day’s sightseeing. The Tiger’s Nest is located less than 8 km from Nak-Sel.
When in Bhutan, you must sample the famous Ara, the Bhutanese rice wine, and there is no better place to try it than at the hotel’s Chabcha bar. The Coffee House is a perfect space to read a book over a cup of coffee and snacks cozied up next to the fireplace.
Surrounded by pine forest, Nak–Sel Boutique Hotel and Spa is more than a place to lay your head. After a long and tiring day of sightseeing, the lovely MenChu, also known as “Medicinal Water Spa” calls for a refreshing Hot Stone Bath. Despite the modern stay, Nak-Sel still believes in following the traditional methods. Medicinal river stones are placed in wooden tubs – one of the highly regarded healing therapies in Bhutan.
The bespoke treatments at MenChu Spa offers complete rejuvenation including parlour services so you are sure to leave the lovely Nak-Sel feeling rested and pampered, just like us.
Nak-Sel Boutique Hotel & Spa is located about 8 km from Paro town in Ngoba Village.
Most hotels (including the luxury) are not listed on any booking websites, which means you would have to send in emails for confirmation of your room. Because Nak-Sel is listed on Booking.com, it is easier to confirm your booking dates in advance.
For Nak-Sel’s fabulous hospitality, location, architecture and key luxury elements at reasonable rates, guests make it a point to take some time to review the best of Nak-Sel. Don’t believe me? Check out what other’s have to say about these awesome people on their TripAdvisor Profile.
We were guests at Nak- Sel Boutique Hotel and Spa, but as always all opinions are entirely our own.