Exterior view of The Temple House
Last week Guy and I were lucky enough to be invited by The Temple House Hotel to visit the vibrant city of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province and gateway to Western China. Most people think of pandas when they think of Chengdu and indeed, this is the home of the adorable Giant Panda. With the opening of The Temple House, however, witnessing the rise of one of China’s most exciting cities will make the experience that much more enjoyable.
The Temple House is the third of Swire’s ultra-chic boutique, “House” hotels (Upper House in Hong Kong, Opposite House in Beijing). The reason for the name is that the development, consisting of the hotel, residences, shops and restaurants is located in the area of Daci Temple. In fact, the entrance to the hotel is cleverly designed so that one walks through a Qing dynasty (1644-1911/12) courtyard in what used be to the study rooms of Confucian scholars. Some of the rooms have now been converted to a contemporary art gallery featuring Sichuanese artists. One is then taken through to the beautifully designed lobby and the hotel high rise beyond.
Studio 90 at The Temple House
Rooms start at a generous 60 sqm (Studio 60), or 646 square feet, and design is again foremost, but the style is warm and welcoming. Even the entry level room has a sitting area and the bathroom and dressing room are cleverly designed for maximum use of space. The next level up from the studios is the Temple Suite (90 sqm or 970 square feet), consisting of a sitting area and bedroom that can be closed off. The bedroom might feel a bit cramped to some, so suite guests may prefer the Studio 90 which is equal in size but without the partition between the living room and bedroom.
There is a fantastic swimming pool and gym, both with natural light. Another fabulous space is the spa, which is again housed around an historic courtyard. While the spa lacks a steam and sauna area, it doesn’t get much better than sitting in an ancient courtyard with beautiful trees both before and after the treatment. The treatment rooms, of course, have every modern amenity and the massages, using organic products from Australia, were flawless.
Swimming pool at The Temple House
Then there are the restaurants. Breakfast is served in Temple Café, serving a wide range of international cuisine. This is not a place just for hotel guests. In the afternoon and evening, it’s crowded with Chengdu’s glamorous set who stop in for high tea. Speaking of tea, the Teahouse is a dedicated tea house serving over a hundred varieties of tea and a menu that looks as though it has taken years to research and compile. They also serve light vegetarian food, tapas-style, perfect for those who don’t want a big lunch. Tivano is then the hotel’s upscale Italian; again a place to be seen.
One can’t discuss The Temple House without mentioning the Taikoo Li development, a “bustling urban lifestyle hub” which is also owned by Swire. There are more than a dozen restaurants, bars and all the luxury brands that one can dream of. What’s most interesting is that the place is packed with Chengdu locals, who are dressed to the hilt, enjoying themselves eating, chatting and shopping…don’t tell them that there is an economic downturn in China!
Contact us to design a private, customized itinerary which includes Chengdu and a stay at The Temple House.