Visit endangered pandas at the Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, try spicy Sichuan cuisine and sample a local brew in a traditional teahouse in Chengdu, the capital of China’s Sichuan province. Here are Culture Trip’s pick of the best places to stay here, from five-star luxury hotels to friendly boutiques.
The ultra-modern, 41-storey Ritz-Carlton Chengdu, on the northern side of the city, features a stylish swimming pool with an underwater music system. Chic rooms infuse classic southwestern Chinese design aesthetics with modern touches. A general teahouse vibe saturates the premises and you can go for a tea-themed treatment at the lavish spa, or enjoy tea – and alcoholic beverages – at the rooftop bistro, which offers panoramas over busy Tianfu Square.
The Fairmont Hotel in Chengdu is sleek and modern, fitted with high-tech gadgets such as Japanese-style electronically controlled toilets. The contemporary Willow Stream Spa offers cutting-edge wellness tech, too, with facials that use oxygen machines. All the rooms are situated above the towering Palm Springs International Centre and come with wonderful views of the city.
Inside the 50-floor Chengdu International Finance Square Tower you’ll find Niccolo, which takes up the first 25 floors of this skyscraper. Enter via a cube-shaped glass lobby, full of metal sculptures and art pieces. The 230 rooms and suites are filled with natural light, thanks to tall windows and bright marble, while the living spaces are cheerful. Start your day with laps of the pool or head to the well-equipped fitness centre, which affords stunning views of the city.
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The five-star Rhombus Park Aura, located in Chengdu’s financial district, is a boutique hotel with modern, spacious rooms offering various levels of luxe all the way up to the Rhombus Grand Suite, which comes with an in-room jacuzzi, massage chair and king-sized beds. All guests have access to the luxurious lounge, restaurant and gym. There’s also a seasonal pool with rooftop views on the seventh floor. Expect to be pampered by the attentive staff.
Situated next to the historic Wenshu Monastery, the Chengdu Courtyard Hotel is housed in a grand, old-fashioned complex of courtyards and gable-roofed buildings. Rooms are decorated with antique furniture and local handicrafts, while the courtyard suites offer some of the best hotel room views in town. Book a massage in the on-site spa or wind down with a game of chess over a hot Chinese tea. You’ll have a choice of two restaurants for dinner – Ju Zhen Garden serves à la carte Chinese food, while Japanese dishes are on offer at Rin Garden.
The design of the Chengdu Tibet Hotel is heavily influenced, as the name suggests, by Tibetan culture and art. Rooms include standard twin and double rooms, a penthouse suite, and even a so-called lady’s room, decorated according to what the management believes a female traveller desires. The custom-made Tibetan furniture and folk art-filled common spaces certainly make for a unique hotel experience.
Heritage buildings meet modern design at Temple House, and its name comes from the 1,600-year-old temple on which it was built. Wellness is the focus here – start your day with a rooftop yoga lesson, followed by a dip in the indoor pool and a restorative massage in the Mi Xun Spa. There’s also a steam room, sauna and gym. Hungry? Stop by the Temple Cafe for a Western snack and book Italian restaurant Tivano for a wood-fired pizza. Top it off with a nightcap in Jing, the speakeasy bar, where the Feng Shui-inspired cocktails are not to be missed.
Built in the 1970s, Jinjiang was one of the first luxury hotels in Chengdu, and can seem a little dated at first glance. However, a stay at this Pengzhen hotel comes with attentive and warm service, which more than makes up for the old-fashioned decor. The hotel has a dedicated team of well-trained butlers, while a VIP club, a bakery and a massive indoor pool are all part of the experience, too.
The Kempinski, like many other Chengdu hotels, is a perfectly pleasant, modern five-star hotel. Unlike the others, however, it also houses an authentic Bavarian restaurant, deli and beer garden, where you can dine on pork knuckles and Thüringer sausages. Another highlight of the hotel is its microbrewery, which produces its very own Chengdu Paulaner beer. Stay here for a somewhat offbeat, surreal taste of Germany in the heart of China.
The BuddhaZen Hotel, near Wenshu Monastery, is a small boutique hotel with 35 rooms and suites. The dining room, which serves traditional Sichuan cuisine, is probably one of the top hotel restaurants in the area, and there’s also an elegant tea room where you can enjoy performances of guzheng music. The art on display here is centred around Zen Buddhist philosophy, ensuring a relaxing stay, which is certainly helped by the excellent on-site spa.
Diaoyutai Boutique Hotel Chengdu was designed by international award-winning architect Bruno Moinard, and stands out among the many luxury hotels of Chengdu thanks to its stunning collection of art. Featured artists include Zeng Laide, master calligrapher and respected member of the Chinese Painting Academy, and Gan Daofu, who works with the ancient medium of blue-and-white porcelain. Rooms range from the superior twin, which has a pleasant courtyard view, to the executive suite, with its own private bamboo garden.
Carl Pettit contributed additional reporting to this article.
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