Chengdu's modern hot spot
100 Rooms / 33 Suites
Like a prism focusing the evolving energy and newfound sophistication of modern-day China, The Temple House became Chengdu’s hottest hotel the moment it opened in 2015.
Every aspect of The Temple House’s design blends China’s storied past and its future ambitions. Two glass skyscrapers conceived by U.K.-based firm Make contain its 142 rooms, suites and residences, and incorporate brick and bronze structures in a nod to the region’s traditional woven handicrafts. The hotel’s entrance is a restored century-old building with a tree-shaded courtyard that once housed scholars and translators, and now contains a library where you can thumb through art books.
If only those scholars had enjoyed this level of luxury. Guest rooms start at an eye-popping 678 square feet. Although simplicity of design is the guiding aesthetic — think white-on-white linens, bleached-wood floors and black-stone bathrooms — all the creature comforts are accounted for, including walk-in rainfall showers, smart TVs and fully stocked “maxi-bars.”
At the hotel’s Mi Xun Spa, unwind with treatments incorporating international glamor brands like Natura Bissé before blissing out in the spa’s tranquil inner courtyard.
Chengdu is home to China’s famous Sichuan cuisine, but you might not venture too far afield thanks to the palate-pleasing vegetarian options at the Teahouse, continental cuisine at the Temple Café, handcrafted cocktails at Jing Bar and, for a nice change of pace, hearty Italian at Tivano.
Our Inspector’s Highlights
• The Chengdu hotel is part of a 1,000-year-old complex that was once one of China’s most famous monasteries. You can still visit the historical Daci Temple there today.
• Entering the hotel’s Mi Xun Spa, set in a serene Qing-era courtyard, feels like stepping back to a simpler time. Albeit one where you are pampered with Natura Bissé and Mesoestetic products. Gents can indulge in a glass of whisky and a wet shave or trim using Refinery products at the spa’s single-seat barbershop.
• Round up some friends, or make new ones, so you can try one of Jing Bar’s signature punch bowls. The Pimm’s Punch Royal is a heady blend of Pimm’s No. 1, ginger shrub, cucumber, orange, lemon, pineapple, strawberry, mint and sparkling wine.
• Enormous, light-filled guest rooms with pared-down palettes of white, black and taupe feel like a hallmark of cutting-edge hotel design in China, or anywhere else, today.
• Chengdu is known as a center for traditional Chinese cuisine, handicrafts and arts, including calligraphy. You can even take a class in the ancient written art at the hotel’s Teahouse on Friday afternoons.
What to Know
• The rolling lawn of the hotel’s central courtyard is meant to evoke the rice terraces of Sichuan, but also covers the property’s meeting rooms, gym and its jaw-dropping sky-lit indoor pool (where you will definitely want to take a swim).
• Feel like exploring Chengdu on your own? Rent bicycles from the hotel and pedal through the surrounding neighborhood and beyond.
• Leave the toiletries at home. Guest rooms come equipped with amenity kits, including all the essentials, like a toothbrush and a comb as well as Appelles body lotion. Feel free to take the tasteful kit with you when checking out.
• Spacious guest rooms feel like ultra-stylish oases from the traffic-clogged city streets outside.
• In-room technological trappings include electronic control panels for the lights and shades, and 46-inch Internet Protocol TVs on which you can stream content from your Android or Apple devices.
• You might never want to leave the enormous bathroom, thanks to stylish touches like black-stone surfaces, bleached-wood floors, walk-in rainfall showers and freestanding deep-soaking tubs, all stocked with products by up-and-coming Aussie brand Appelles.
• Most of the goodies in the so-called maxi-bar, including coffee, tea, water, juice and beer, plus a few sweet snacks like M&Ms, are complimentary.
• Suites start at nearly 1,000 square feet and include extra amenities like separate dining and living rooms, and Bowers & Wilkins sound systems.
• Most who travel to Chengdu carve out a day to visit the pandas at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, about 30 minutes outside town. The hotel can arrange an excursion for you to see these famous beasts and learn about the conservation efforts aimed at saving them from extinction.
• Chengdu is the cradle of China’s mouthwateringly spicy Sichuan cuisine, so spend an afternoon sampling the street food and shopping for souvenirs along the Wide and Narrow Alley in the heart of the city.
• Speaking of shopping, the luxury hotel is part of the Taikoo Li development, which rehabilitated the 1,000-year-old Daci Temple complex and now includes an expansive open-air mall featuring some of the world’s best-known fashion brands.
• Like The Temple House’s other dining outlets, Jing Bar was designed by international design firm du jour AvroKO with a look that hearkens to Shanghai’s art deco heyday. Sip a cocktail like The Man from Nowhere with soju, lemon, mint and housemade jasmine syrup; and if the weather is nice, enjoy yours on the patio.
• Take time for a leisurely lunch of vegetarian delights at the Mi Xun Teahouse. Exotic dishes like refreshingly crunchy ice grass with white mushrooms, and savory stir-fried chili okra with smoked tofu are accompanied by specialty regional teas served in your choice of five different tea sets.
• If you need a break from the city’s chili-laced Sichuan cuisine, the hotel’s flagship restaurant is Italian eatery Tivano. The wood-fired pizzas are all standouts, as is the enormous bone-in rib-eye, which is grilled to juicy perfection and served with baby potatoes and spinach.
• The hotel’s casual all-day Temple Café turns out continental dishes as well as bakery items, though you can also order Chinese staples like congee with century egg and fried shallots at breakfast.