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“Loved the place and the people who run it!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Swiss Guest House

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Swiss Guest House
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Kharsumphe, Bumthang 32001, Bhutan   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 8 Hotels in Bumthang
New Delhi, India
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Loved the place and the people who run it!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2012

After a long journey (12 hours) on the bus from Thimpu to Bumthang, we were really happy to finally reach the Swiss Guesthouse and even though it was late (about 9 in the evening) and we hadn't ordered food in advance, they made us delicious mushroom soup, served with bread. And the room was beautiful - big, warm and comfortable. The next morning, we experienced breakfast, which was delicious - home-made cheese, bread, jams and honey with tea/ coffee.
The meals are a delight there - the spaghetti, pizza, served with boiled vegetables or a salad with some Swiss dishes if you want to try. The place was started by a Swiss gentleman, who came to Bhutan in the 70s, fell in love with a Bhutanese lady, got married and stayed. And now, his children look after the place who are really nice and warm. We felt right at home because of the place, the food, the people and their dogs - who walked with us when we went out during the day. The place is away from the city (which is really just a handful of people) and if you want quiet and just want to sit in an apple tree and read a book, this place is for you!

Room Tip: the rooms facing the apple orchard are the best.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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61 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
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English first
Bengaluru (Bangalore), India
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2012

Two words sum up the lodge and its people: warm and generous.
The Guest House offers you the best of the old (no TV, wifi, newspapers, phone until you ask) and the new (fresh organic food and freshly brewed beer).

Rooms
The rooms are entirely made of polished wood and well lit. The bathroom and rooms are spacious. You can soak in the great scenery through huge windows. And yes there is a balcony too where you can stretch out a yoga mat (even two)!

Food and beverage
Bread, honey, cheese, jams, biscuits, are made at the guest house. The produce is organic. The food is mainly Swiss style:
Lavish breakfast consisted of fresh bread with 3 different jams (made in house), two different types of cheese, butter, and honey. (We only had veg, so I don't know about egg and other non veg options.)
Choose from a large swiss menu to order lunch or dinner: fondue, spaghetti, amazing soups (mushroom and pumpkin is what we had), pizza, pasta, raclette, and so much more. Thyme, basil and other herbs are grown around the lodge. So you get fresh organic food every day.
Drinks: Red Panda beer is brewed just down the road and you get it on the tap! This is not to be missed. You could also try the local apple wine.

What you can do in the guest house?
-> There are many walking trails starting from the Swiss Guest House. Refer to your Lonely Planet guidebook for more details. There are two monastries, pastures, the Brewery and the Cheese making factory at a walkable distance.
-> Sit in a apple tree and read a book! My friend did this. She caught the flu while we were there and people at the lodge took such good care of her.

Location
It is located 15 min (by walk) or 5 min (by taxi) from the main Jakar bus stop. A taxi guy will charge you Rs. 100 to drop you to the lodge. As the Swiss Lodge is located in the midst of an apple orchard on top of a hill, you will be treated to the beautiful views of the river, monasteries, and the surrounding mountains, the clean air and no traffic is a plus.

History
There is a lot of history and wonderful love story associated with this lodge. You might be wondering a Swiss Lodge in the mountains of Bhutan? I will leave it to you to find out more about it.

Room Tip: Ask for rooms in the new wing - found this tip in Lonely Planet.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Klosterneuburg, Austria
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
80 hotel reviews
Reviews in 78 cities Reviews in 78 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2012

As it´s quite far away from the down on the river village and up on a hill there are no barking dogs at night- a rare fact in Bhutan.
Alpine style guest house, pretty cold at night (stayed there october 2011), nice staff, european style food- one of the better hotels in Bhutan,

WARNING: At Ura valley (above the village of Ura on the way from Bumthang to east of Bhutan) we had to stay in a place called "Arya Zamla guest house" (could not find it on tripadvisor). AVOID BY ALL MEANS!! Terribly dirty, freezingly cold, awful food.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2012

I had heard alot about this place and it was part of my itinerary to go try their beer and food. When we arrived at around 4pm , the owner merely grunted at us and continued to eat his late lunch/early dinner. We requested a half glass of beer each but were charged for two glasses. The tablecloth still had pasta from the lunch service stuck to it, the staff didnt bother turning the lights on for us. When the owners daughter came to talk to us, she did so from across two tables, despite the place being empty except for us. I was so disgusted with the lack of hospitality , which was unusual for Bhutan, that I told my guide that we should just drink and leave ASAP.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Danbury, Ct.
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
52 hotel reviews
Reviews in 62 cities Reviews in 62 cities
116 helpful votes 116 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2012

This hotel requires a bit of explanation. It is very different from any other hotel that we stayed at in Bhutan. It was built a number of years ago by a Swiss ex-pat. The restaurant looks like an AMC hut. The menu includes fondues and several German-Swiss dishes as well as the usual Bhutanese fare. Apparently, the owner also started a cheese factory and brewery in the valley, which are now the source of good European cheeses and beer. The bratwurst was made on site and was outstanding. The fondues were very good. Some pork and veal dishes also were available.

The hotel is located in orchard of what appeared to be a slightly run down farm. The rooms are in a couple of two story buildings that are not in the usual Bhutanese style. Our room had pine paneled walls and ceilings. It was comfortable, warm, clean, and had a balcony with a view across the valley to the Jakar Dzong. It was heated by both a wood stove and an electric heater. The bathroom could have been better, but was clean and had plenty of hot water.

The electricity went off for an hour or so every evening. A battery system charged by solar cells provided light for the dining room, but flashlights were a must for getting back and forth to our room. When the electricity was on, there was free Wi-Fi in the restaurant and porch area.

It was not the level of luxury offered by some of the other hotels that we stayed at, but it was comfortable, friendly, and a welcome change of pace. For that reason I gave it a four star rating, rather than just an ok three star one.

The Bumthang region has four valleys and definitely is worth spending a few days exploring. The remote Ura and Tang valleys are worth visiting. Walk through the ancient village in Ura. Climb to some of the scared sites in the Tang valley. If you are up to it, there are many challenging day hikes and climbs in the area, including one that starts at the Swiss Guest House and crosses the ridge into the next valley.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2012

Set in the middle of an orchard, this place provides a different kind of stay from other places in Bhutan. The rooms are large, wood paneled and attractive, and each has a wood stove (which was lighted and warm when we arrived).The Swiss background of the owner is apparent everywhere - from the decor in the cozy dining room/bar (with its own wood stove), to the fresh local cheese and homemade bread and jam for breakfast. Several generations of his family provide friendly, helpful service. It's a serene place with a convivial atmosphere in the dining room/bar, and Swiss food you will not find elsewhere in Bhutan! For those who need a break from the requisite Bhutan banquet...

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Indianapolis, Indiana
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 23, 2011

Let's preface this review. If you're reading this, you're planning on visiting the Bumthang valley in Bhutan. And, instead of choosing a "luxury" hotel that would give you the experience of a hotel close to home, you're choosing one that gives you a better taste of the local experience.

Fine and good. But let me remind you: You're in the Bumthang valley, and not back home. You're going to deal with some quirks.

Although you won't fear disease from your hotel stay, local standards of hygiene are a little less than what you're used to in the West. (One pleasant surprise in the hygiene department, though, is that the tap water is from a local spring, and is certified safe for Westerners to drink. I did, and I didn't get sick.) Power outages in Bumthang are also frequent.

I visited in November. Although the blankets on the bed will keep you warm, the room itself was cold. If you find someone who speaks good English (not that hard), you can ask for a space heater - which makes things a little bit better, but far from great. Of course, there's a wood-burning stove, which works wonderfully - but will require you to feed it every hour.

Okay, the conditions in your room are going to be a bit rustic. But, given the right mindset - you'll feel the local charm as well. You'll feel the Swiss-Expat ownership of the hotel - complete with excellent locally-crafted beer, good camraderie, and meals created by competent Western chefs. (If you want Bhutani food, they'll give it to you - but you'll have to ask for it.)

Think of this as a trip to a charming wilderness lodge. And of course, the sights of the Bhumthang valley await. :-)

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Swiss Guest House

Address: Kharsumphe, Bumthang 32001, Bhutan
Location: Bhutan > Bumthang District > Bumthang
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 8 Hotels in Bumthang
Number of rooms: 36
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
One of the oldest and longest serving classic Bhutanese lodges in Bumthang, Swiss Guest House continues to serve its long-honored traditions of hospitality and specialties for all those seeking respite and peace. It offers a fine dining with its home-made Swiss cuisine in a delightfully refreshing setting. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Swiss Guest House Hotel Bumthang

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