Thursday, 15 October 2015

Travel: The Temple House Hotel, Chengdu, China

En route to Tibet, and a mere 11 hour flight away from London on British Airways, the Temple House Hotel in Chengdu opened its doors a few months ago. I landed in Chengdu in the middle of a steamy 38 degree summer.  After being jolted around like a sock in a tumble dryer, the taxi driver promptly deposited me on the sweeping entrance to the hotel, and screeched away.  From there on, everything became so, so, much better.  A friendly greeting from the doorman, bags whisked away, I was settled into the quiet, tranquil lobby - and then introduced to the gracious luxury that is the Temple House.

A noble entrance leading to an oasis of calm

The Temple House was designed by UK-based architects, Make. The focal point of the hotel is upon the restoration of a traditional Qing dynasty building, Bitieshi.

Mixing the modern with traditional
The swimming pool with a futuristic sunroof
The hotel itself combines contrasting modern elements in a minimalist fashion, which in turn enhances the natural elements of the materials used throughout (timber, bamboo, brick).

The rooms are generously appointed and provide for every possible comfort. The inclusion of a delicate Chinese teapot with a selection of Chinese teas is an elegant touch, especially given that Chengdu is a city renowned for its tea culture. A black tiled bathroom with separate shower and free-standing bath, complete with a full bath kit (loofah, bath salts, and bubbles) beckoned. A king size bed, black-out blinds and comfy bedding was enough to send me straight to la la land on the first night.

Each room with a Chinese tea set, perfect for unwinding and gazing out the window over Chengdu
Luxury bath goodies

The hotel has a range of restaurants and bars, of which I sampled the fare at the Temple Cafe. Breakfast involved tucking into a seriously perfect looking (and tasting) omelette on fresh sourdough toast.
There is a skill in making a perfect omelette. Exhibit A - perfect omelette.

The Temple Cafe

The Mi Xun Spa is run by the delightful Kelly (from England!). The spa provides a range of luxury beauty treatments of which I was invited to try a massage. After a busy day visiting pandas (I will insert random cute photo of pandas, I can't resist), the massage was incredibly relaxing and I left feeling like a newborn baby. The Mi Xun Spa, in tune with Chengdu's tea heritage, uses products from the Themae range, featuring antioxidant ingredients found in red and green teas.

the MIXUN spa

Beautiful details everywhere.

The hotel also features a Tea House, located in one of the renovated Chinese buildings. The Tea House design is beautiful. It combines the traditional apothecary environment of an old-style tea house with modern touches, including Tom Dixon-esque bronze light fittings.  It was perfect for sampling some of Chengdu's variety of delicate teas, all served in pretty porcelain cups.

The TEAHOUSE - tranquil settings

The TEAHOUSE opens into a beautiful courtyard.
Travelling alone, and feeling thoroughly lost in the hustle and bustle of China, the staff at Temple House really went out of their way to look after me, especially when I accidentally left a whole outfit in the wardrobe, which they collected, dry cleaned and saved for me to collect two weeks later. This was one of a series of thoughtful and friendly encounters that I had during my stay, something that I will remember above all else at this beautiful hotel.

The pride of Chengdu.