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
Here a labyrinth of cobbled streets is bordered by wooden houses, ancient bridges criss-cross canals and local Naxi women (this is a matriarchal society) wander the lanes in the traditional blue and white. Our vote for the best resort in the western province of Yunnan goes to The Banyan Tree, Lijiang.
Guests at this hotel can marvel at the examples of local silk embroidery on the walls of their private villas whether they pick the oriental garden suites; the sumptuous pool villas; or the spacious two-bedroom duplexes with views of the 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 Baisha village, close to the hotel, is one of the only places in the world, which retains the tradition of Naxi silk embroidery.
Here, you are welcome to spend an afternoon in a traditional workshop trying your hand at this ancient art for yourself. Don’t miss out on the other heritage aspects within its premises as well. In reverence to the mystical surroundings under the majestic Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, this stunning spot was simply constructed with locally-sourced materials; its design is inspired by the architecture of local Naxi people. 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 Alila Yangshuo, Guilin
Yangshuo is famous for its landscape of karst mountains, green hills and winding rivers, resembling a beautiful Chinese painting. In the midst of this stunning scenic landscape, Alila Yangshou, originally a sugar mill, is the heritage setting for an elegant contemporary design resort, which one of our top picks when it comes to resorts in China.
Alila Yangshuo paves the way for an exhilarating journey into the region’s natural and cultural splendours, where guests have the luxury of attempting the resort’s very own karst hill in its backyard, for their first rock climbing adventure. With routes to suit abilities of all levels from beginners to advanced, the climbing site offers an incredible back-to-nature experience under the wings of an expert guide.
Another activity that definitely piqued our interest was the opportunity for guests to take a step back in history to a time when the building was once a sugar making factory. This truly captivating experience allows guests to try their hand at the traditional sugar-making process where antique vessels are filled with precipitated sugar concentrate. The finished sugar creation is exquisitely wrapped and makes the perfect take home memento.
Alila Yangshuo, Block11, No.102, Donglin Street, Yangshuo Tow, Yangshuo County Guilin City, Guangxi Province, China , p. (86) 8883 999
#3 The St. Regis Lhasa Resort, Tibet
The St. Regis Lhasa Resort is one to add to your bucket list to experience the wonders of one of the traditional spiritual regions in the world. Nestled in the mountains of Tibet, the Lhasa Resort stands on the roof of the world, granting you a perspective on life you have never before seen. The word Lhasa is Tibetan for ‘the holy land’ and with an altitude of 3,680 metres above sea level, Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world.
The show-stopper of the resort is definitely the Tubo Suite, a 254 sq-m, two-bedroom residential suite located in the resort’s Himalaya Palace. With all the comforts and high-tech amenities, it’s also the perfect setting for relaxing in the Jacuzzi bath while marveling at the mesmerizing Potala Palace views, a World Heritage site and once the chief residence of the Dalai Lama.
A mere six minutes by car from the resort, the Potala Palace has been converted into a museum. Jokhang Temple, another iconic structure and Norbulingka, the Dalai Lama’s former Summer Palace, are also close by.
Be sure not to finish your stay without experiencing the healing Tibetan treatments in the splendid Iridium Spa and basking in the warmth of the sparkling Golden Energy Pool – utter bliss!
The St. Regis Lhasa Resort, No.22, Jiangsu Road Lhasa, Tibet (Xizang), China, p. (86) 891 680 8888
#4 The Ritz-Carlton, Sanya
Often referred to as the Hawaii of the East, Sanya comes complete with amazing beaches and a truly tropical vibe. Cradled in the enchanting Yalong Bay of Sanya, 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 on the beach within the premises while sipping on delicious smoothies and soaking up the sunshine. If you are looking for some more athletic activities, then try your hand at paddle-boarding or diving, and there’s even a Kids’ Club for the little ones
In the recent years, The Grand Sanya Circle has become the focal point of golf with a total of 13 golf courses now open in the region, and by putting up at this fantastic property, you’re right next to the world-class Yalong Bay Golf Club course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., a must-play course for many golfing aficionados.
The Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay National Tourism Holiday Resort, Jiyang Qu, Sanya Shi, Hainan Sheng, China, p. (86) 898 8898 8888
#5 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 serene retreat, with peaceful internal courtyards embracing traditional Chinese architecture, the 51-Suite resort is housed in a series of pavilions. Some date back over a century and were originally used by guests of the Empress Dowager Cixi.
A secret door takes guests directly into the grounds of the Summer Palace, which can be explored privately out of hours; from the weeping willows to the dragon boats moored in the man-made lake, it is all very romantic. Other unmissable spots in the city include the spectacular man-made Great Wall, Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square.
After a day uncovering the best of Beijing, tuck into the most wonderful duck you’ll probably ever have at Aman. Juicy, crisp and perfect are the only words to describe it. Overlooking the pavilions, the dining room is built to resemble a local’s home. It’s so nice when you stay at a hotel and you have an actual sense of place but it’s not at all kitschy. Here, you can even try your hand at calligraphy and kite building – what more can one 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
Make a run for it with a snappy short-haul escape at one of these resorts in China!
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.