Whether you want to explore the magical capital of Beijing or go further off the beaten path, China offers some of the most remarkable travel experiences available
You know that we love staycations in Hong Kong and finding things to do in Macau, but when it comes to short trips from Hong Kong, China makes the perfect getaway for those looking for a nearby retreat. Steeped in history, the country is full of historic buildings, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and an array of art and culture that is sure to make your time there truly unique. Luckily, we’ve made things a little easier for you by compiling a list of five top hotels and resorts in China where you can enjoy the country to its fullest. Have a look and thanks us later.
Resorts in China that we love
1. Banyan Tree, Lijiang
Find yourself in a labyrinth of cobbled streets bordered by wooden houses, ancient bridges, and criss-cross canals, where local Naxi women (of the matriarchal society) wander the lanes in traditional blue and white attire. Our vote for the best resort in China goes to the Banyan Tree, Lijiang, in the western province of Yunnan.
Guests at this hotel can marvel at examples of traditional silk embroidery that adorn the walls of their private villas, whether they pick the beautiful jet pool mountain villas or the spacious king suites with views of the majestic Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Paying tribute to the ancient Silk Road, Banyan Tree, Lijiang is the perfect place to learn about the history of silk in relation to the local villages. In fact, the nearby Baisha village is one of the few places in the world which retains the tradition of Naxi silk embroidery.Moreover, don’t miss out on the heritage aspects within the premises like Dongba calligraphy writing workshops and Naxi bonfire dancing – a culturally eye-opening experience!
Banyan Tree Lijiang, Yuerong Road, Shuhe, Gucheng District, Lijiang City, Yunnan Province, 674100, China p. (86) 888 533 1111
2. The St. Regis Lhasa Resort, Tibet
Add The St. Regis Lhasa Resort to your bucket list of best resorts in China to experience the wonders of one of the most renowned traditional spiritual regions on Earth. Nestled in the quiet mountains, The St. Regis Lhasa Resort grants a perspective on life you’d never have seen before. The name “Lhasa” is Tibetan for “the holy land” and, with an altitude of 3,656 metres above sea level, the city is one of the highest in the world.
A show-stopper of the resort is the Everest Suite, a 233-square-metre suite with separate living and dining areas. With all the comforts and high-tech amenities (including butler service), it offers the perfect setting for you to relax while marvelling out the windows. You’ll have a once-in-a-lifetime view of the Potala Palace, a World Heritage site and once the chief residence of the Dalai Lama. Mere minutes by car from the resort, the Potala Palace has now been converted into a museum and is a popular tourist destination.
Before you check out, be sure to experience the healing Tibetan treatments in the Iridium Spa. The holistic treatments, as well as body scrubs, facials, massages, and therapy baths, will complete your rejuvenating getaway.
The St. Regis Lhasa Resort, 22 Jiangsu Road, Lhasa, Tibet (Xizang), China, p. (86) 891 680 8888
3. The Ritz-Carlton, Sanya
Often referred to as the Hawaii of the East, Sanya comes complete with amazing beaches and tropical vibes. Cradled in the Yalong Bay, the southernmost tip of Hainan Island, an escape to The Ritz-Carlton, Sanya is just like entering a sun-tinted dreamscape where your private beachside suite awaits. Hang out by the pool with a good book or lie by the lagoon pool while sipping on refreshing smoothies and soaking up the sunshine. If you’re looking for some more athletic activities, try your hand at bicycling or tennis; there’s even a Kids’ Club for the little ones!
In recent years, The Grand Sanya Circle has also become a golf hub. Play at this fantastic property to put yourself right next to the world-class Yalong Bay Golf Club course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr – a must-play course for golfing aficionados.
The Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay National Resort District, Sanya, Hainan, China, 572000, p. (86) 898 8898 8888
4. Aman Summer Palace, Beijing
Just steps away from the UNESCO-protected Summer Palace grounds lies Aman Summer Palace, the ideal location from which to discover Beijing. A retreat with peaceful internal courtyards embracing traditional Chinese architecture, the suites are housed in a series of pavilions. A secret gate takes guests directly into the grounds of the Summer Palace, which spans 290 hectares. From the weeping willows to the dragon boats moored in the man-made lake, the scenery gives off a sense of romance and classical elegance. Outside the Summer Palace, you’ll find spectacular attractions such as the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square. After a day uncovering the best of Beijing, tuck into the most authentic Peking Duck you’ll ever have at The Chinese Restaurant at Aman. Finally, you can even try your hand at calligraphy and kite-building – what more can you ask for when it comes to resorts in China?
Aman Summer Palace, 1 Gongmenqian Street, Summer Palace, Beijing, 100091 , China, p. (86) 10 5987 9999
5. Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain, Chengdu
Discover the birthplace of Taoism and the Panda capital of the world with a stay at Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain in Chengdu. Located near the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mount Qingcheng, an important Taoist religious site, this spa resort incorporates elements of Taoism and its healing powers into its practices. It works to move Taoist culture into the modern world by administering Tao-inspired therapies in multi-day wellness programmes and tai chi or yoga sessions.
Outside the resort, the Dujiangyan Panda Valley lies just a 15-minute drive away. Marvel at the gentle giants as they feed, lumber around, and relax. You can also visit the Dujiangyan Panda Ark to learn about conservation in an interactive facility with expert educators. After the long day, return to the resort to take a dip in the heated indoor pool, then get your fill of delicious Sichuan cuisine at the Zi Qi Yuan Chinese Restaurant. You’ll be enjoying fresh vegetables straight from the organic garden – one of the resort’s many eco-friendly initiatives!
Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain, 2 Dong Ruan Road, Qingcheng Mountain Town, Dujiangyan, Chengdu, Sichuan, 611844, China, p. (86) 28 8712 6666
6. Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort, Yunnan
Situated on the southernmost border of Yunnan, near the banks of the Luosuo River and overlooking the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, the Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort offers guests the best of both adventure and serenity. To experience the unique culture of Xishuangbanna, trek up the mountain to the terraced village of Chengzi Dai where you can gain a glimpse of the local hill tribes, such as the Dai. For the creative ones amongst you, try to weave silk by learning from the Man’er Dai; whereas nature lovers can head to the elephant reserve to admire some of China’s last wild elephants. When the day is over, pamper yourself in the exquisite pool villas of the Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort, where you’ll enjoy ultimate privacy with spectacular scenery. Lounge in your very own poolside pavilion, with a drink or two in hand (thanks, Mr/Mrs Butler!).
Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort, Menglun Town, Mengla County, Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, 666303, China, p. (86) 691 893 6666
Enjoyed reading about these resorts in China and looking for more great travel ideas from Hong Kong? Escape to sunny Mauritius, head down under and take a trip to Byron Bay, or visit Malacca for some vintage inspiration.
[This article was originally published in May 2017 and updated in 2023 by Min Ji Park.]