In the land of lush bamboo forests, fiery hot pots, mystical temples and fluffy pandas lies a gem of pure luxury that perfectly embodies Chengdu’s proud, peaceful atmosphere.
The Temple House Chengdu is located right in the centre of the city, next to the popular Tai Koo Li mall area. Yet the urban hustle and bustle will disappear as soon as you step out of the crowds and into the House’s beautifully renovated Qing dynasty ‘siheyuan’ (courtyard) entrance. As exemplified by the siheyuan’s two central statues, a crumbling leaf and a feather, Temple House rises from the ashes, blending remnants of ancient dynasties with the plush embellishments of modern-day China.
Behind this noble piece of architecture lies another hidden world, filled with rice-terrace inspired design, soft hills and bamboo beyond which you will find the hotel’s rooms and 42 residences, each with their own modern amenities and a classic, sleek style. I checked into the Temple Suite, which featured not only the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in, but also subtle personal details including a small library with books on design and the region, jars of sweets, a fresh orchid and a cosy blanket on the sofa, making me feel right at home. In addition, all mini bar refreshments (excluding wine and champagne) were free – how could I say no?
Despite a reluctance to leave the luxurious room itself, the call of the pool was impossible to ignore. Located between the hotel’s well-equipped gym, sauna and Turkish bath area, the pool lies underneath a majestic artificial night sky. Floating dreamily across the water, looking at the starry scene overhead, I was rejuvenated and ready to head out into the bustling crowds again in search for exotic foods.
Aside from the endless food and beverage outlets beyond its walls, the hotel also has three restaurants within its quiet compound: The Temple Café for French inspired breakfast, Tivano for Italian and Mi Xun Teahouse providing authentic Chinese vegan dishes and tea. For a break from spicy hot pots and peppery Sichuanese dishes, I highly recommend the Temple Café’s steak and its light and sweet pumpkin crème brulée!
No matter where dinner takes you, the hotel’s Jing Bar is unmissable for an evening of revelry. It was buzzing even on a weekday, apparently having become an all-time favourite amongst well-heeled locals. If you’re brave, make sure to try the Sichuan Negroni cocktail for a deliciously overwhelming sensory experience.
The hotel also features an 11-treatment room spa attached to the teahouse itself. The two interact in perfect harmony, promoting health and beauty from the inside out. The spa is set in the Qing Dynasty courtyard, a luxurious 900 square metre sanctuary with sauna, hammer and shop. An extensive menu includes diamond-infused facials, ocean-stone massages, tea-enhanced wraps, and signature Natura Bissé, Thémaé, Mesoestic and Refinery treatments. All oils used by the spa are mixed in-house, or they can use a simple coconut oil in case of sensitivities. For those on the go there are express mani-pedis, a barber for the male guests, and for gym-bunnies, a well-equipped work-out space.
Other facilities include a two thousand book library, where guests can sit, make tea and unwind, and a small museum featuring pieces by Chengdu artists – both of which are located in the ‘siheyuan’. The Temple House prides itself on promoting the local community, working with local artists on initiatives such as painting murals on its walls, using left over candles from the nearby temple for its Christmas tree decorations, and by planting its own organic spice and vegetable garden.
The hotel’s service is delivered by a professional ‘guest experience team’, wearing brushed cotton jackets and trousers, and seem to predict your every need. Most front-line staff speak English fluently, but the entire experience is utterly seamless, including paperless arrival and check out.
The Temple House graciously celebrates a city that has a rich and diverse history and is looking towards a vibrant future. Its elegant features, lustrous designs and charming, hidden setting within the city centre make it the perfect destination for the hedonistic traveller.
Favourite sights nearby:
- Leshan Giant Buddha (during a non-holiday, non-weekend day)
- Giant Panda Reserve
- Aidao Nunnery and Jinsha Nunnery