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“what a star”
Review of Zhiwa Ling

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Zhiwa Ling
Ranked #4 of 16 Hotels in Paro
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 9, 2012

Knowing that the region had a plethora of wonderful sights, the Zhiwa Ling must be listed as one of them! Arriving in Bhutan and going to the hotel left us in awe of what more we were going to see in Bhutan.
A brilliant reception hall with endless coloured carvings was just the beginning. The rooms, with their under-floor heating were grand in size and sotlessly clean.
Good food and discrete service throughout.

Room Tip: All are good
  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled on business
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1  Thank tigerlover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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248 - 254 of 368 reviews

Reviewed November 5, 2012

This hotel exceeded our expectations. The loby architecture is a replica of one of the temples in the fortress in Punakha; stunning detail. The walk to our spacious room was refreshing and help us to acclimate to the altitude. The meals were wonderful with traditional Bhutanese and Indian cuisine. Internet was available but spotty. We were treated to an archery contest of our own on the grounds. The tea room was a relaxing place to read. And we received an official send-off from the monk in the temple room above the lobby. Hand painted plates in a corner of the lobby is not to be missed. If you're lucky you can watch as the artists paint.

Room Tip: If you can handle the stairs, get a top room as the wood floors creek if you've got someone abov...
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank HappyT77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 26, 2012

This is a beautiful hotel, with traditional Bhutanese architecture, lots of wood work, nice garden. The main building is amazing, high ceilings, wood carved pillars. Reception desk is fine, nothing extraordinary. The rooms are very spacious, with two queen size beds, desk, sitting area, balcony and nice bathroom. The heating system is under the floor, so you can walk barefoot in the room and bathroom and it is pleasantly warm. I think the hotel might have listened to some of the previous comments about the room being dark, because I found my room fine - and I do turn on every light of the rooms where I stay!

This hotel is close to the Tiger's Nest, which means it is a bit far from the city. I had only breakfast at the hotel, which was fine.

Stayed: October 2012, traveled on business
1  Thank ckatsuya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 22, 2012

Magnificent Bhutanese style, elegant surroundings in the lobby. Room was spacious with usual amenities, including a cow grazing just off the balcony. food wa very good. Dont miss the potty studio, even our guide didnt know about it. the only hand painted china we saw on our whole trip. They also have a fly tying studio.

Room Tip: I suspect all are terrific. we were at the far end, bldg 22 , ovwelooked mountains and a river
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank rchod
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 15, 2012

We recently went to Bhutan and stayed in the Zhiwa Ling.

As you arrive driving alongside the river and up the drive, you can only be wowed by the location and design of this place. Lovely manicured gardens with traditional stone Bhutanese buildings; a very tranquil place to be! You then walk into the lobby and again you are stunned by the wooden pillars and carvings therein; it's beautiful. For this alone I would have given it 5 stars!! On closer look, there are landscaping works still going on so there are some unsightly bits but I am sure these will be done soon and it didn't detract from the overall view.

Then we were taken to our room and that was nice but a little disappointing. It was spacious, I'll give them that and it had a nice balcony overlooking the river and mountainside. However, the decor was a bit sparse/ dull and the lighting was inadequate. The floors creaked a lot so I felt bad just walking around the room for making noise to the room below! The bath didn't have a functioning plug so you couldn't have a bath (which you need after a long hike!) and the ventilation wasn't very good so everything smelled a little musty. They replenished the complimentary bar with a couple cartons of juices but that is it; there is nothing in the minibar you could buy

The worse thing about this hotel is the spa. Do NOT go. For $60, you get a massage by a poorly trained masseuse who effectively just puts oil on you (and the oil isn't particularly aromatic either). The towels were small so barely covered you and they didn't smell all too clean. The room itself was a little garish so it didn't make for that zen feel you want when you try and relax. In fact it was just not relaxing at all and I felt a little hard done by on this.

Breakfast is OK. Not a great spread but enough to get by. Lots of cereals, yoghurt was lovely, you could order eggs so it was fine. More fruit would have made it much better for us. Dinner was very good though. It's $8 for starter and desserts and $15 for a main. I had an excellently cooked medallion of beef and my wife had the bhutan vegetarian platter. Both were very nice and service was top notch too.

In the end, we spoke to the general manager for some time over breakfast and told him where we thought there were issues. He was so gracious, willing to listen and sympathised with our grievances. He explained 5 star was a Bhutanese standard and not a world class standard people would normally expect. He said it was around a four star hotel. They are looking to improve the spa and add a pool etc but it would take two years. Also, having talked to the manager, he then told us we overpaid and that is why we felt as we did and it was true. So whatever happens, do not book through the Bhutan Travel Agency/ Yetis and Dragons! They charged us a $400 supplement on top of the $250 per day surcharge (which includes 3 star accommodation) making the room cost double what the rack rate is!! The manager was infuriated by this but there is nothing he could do. I'd recommend you try booking your holidays via the hotels you want to stay in to keep the agents honest.

Despite giving this place an average rating I would recommend you stay here for a) witnessing the beautiful grounds/ architecture/ peacefulness/ dinner and b) the local impact you will make. They employ all local people, train them up and support a lot of local activity and they educate people of environmental sustainability. For this, I commend them highly. And thanks again to the manager for explaining all to us.

I am sure this will be a very good place in a very short time.

  • Stayed: October 2012
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Thank HKFooey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2012

Recently stayed for two nights. The main building is simply mind-blowing. The Bhutanese architecture in and around the main, three level lobby are all hand-carved and painted. This presents a luxury and unique experience which I have never seen elsewhere. The lighting during the day is fine, but at night, the lighting gives the main lobby area an almost magical effect. It is really spectacular!

The restaurant was run by a New Zealander during our stay, and the food was exceptionally well done and presented. Service was superb, and the main desk staff were amazing, helpful, and friendly, which seems to be a characteristic of the Bhutanese. The spa was attractive and the massage excellent. The grounds are beautiful. If you can imagine a superb resort surrounded by high mountains (think Rockies but 3-4000 feet higher in elevation) with a glacial river flowing nearby, then you have an idea what this magnificent property looks like.

I stayed in a top floor "villa" room, which had a lovely seating area and a balcony overlooking the river. The bathroom for a property of this caliber was merely adequate. Although the tub/shower arrangement was one of the better ones I have seen, you had to close the door to get to the toilet, and there was a metal, covered trashcan which was simply out of place in such a spectacular property. The other complaint about the room was that it was so dimly lit. A few better and brighter lights, and a couple of beautiful Bhutanese textiles on the wall would greatly enhance the rooms.

This is a truly special property in a magical country.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank ajgeb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2012

Fabulously styled hotel - a really special sense of place. The rooms were large and comfortable (I think we had a suite) with a couch and chair. The hotel is about a 10 minute drive outside of Paro which is fine as Paro is a very small town.

The hotel has free WIFI which sometimes works well in the rooms but no AC so you may need to open a window as it was cool at night when we were there.

On the negative side, you can hear the dogs barking at night for a couple of hours (not super loud but you can hear them) and they have an awful exchange rate which they force on you when you pay for anything with credit card. Rather than simply charging in ng (their local currency), they insist on converting your bill into dollars and apply an obscene exchange rate. My advice is to either boycott the property or to calculate what you owe and get local cash at an ATM in Paro.

The hotel has an adequate gym.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank travelpal32489
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Zhiwa Ling

Address: Satsam Chorten, Paro 12001, Bhutan
Location: Bhutan > Paro District > Paro
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in Paro
#3 Romantic Hotel in Paro
#4 Luxury Hotel in Paro
Price Range: $394 - $429 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Zhiwa Ling 4.5*
Number of rooms: 45
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The 45-room Zhiwa Ling hotel combines the sensibilities of a fine Bhutanese guesthouse with the best of 21st-century technology. Envisioned and created by a local Bhutanese company, the hotel’s elaborate hand-carved wooden cornices and masterful stonework coexist beautifully with cutting-edge telecommunication systems and Swedish under-floor heating. The Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) announced the Tourist Accommodation classifications and Zhiwa Ling Hotel is the first and only wholly Bhutanese owned hotel to receive a 5 star rating. Zhiwa Ling Hotel is the only Bhutanese owned hotel and one of only two in the country to be ISO22000 certified. Set on 10 acres, Zhiwa Ling has many amenities available to guests. The spa offers all the facilities guests could want; a fitness centre, sauna, steam room as well as a traditional Bhutanese outdoor hot-stone bath. There is a business centre, Tea House, two fully equipped conference rooms, a Meditation House and the hotel has its own greenhouse. Zhiwa Ling Hotel practices sustainable tourism. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Zhiwa Ling Paro
Zhiwa Ling Hotel Paro

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