Sophie Friedman

Correspondent

  • Shanghai, China, Asia

Sophie Friedman is a correspondent who lives in Shanghai and covers hotels and travel trends in Asia for Forbes Travel Guide. The American journalist has covered a range of travel-related topics including the development of the mountain resort town Moganshan, the Chinese fashion scene’s rising international profile, and the expanding craft cocktail and beer scene in Asia. She has written half a dozen Shanghai guidebooks and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the city. When not writing, Sophie loves cycling through the former French Concession and getting bargains on everything from Pellegrino to porcelain.

  • On January 13
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    What kinds of skincare products are used at Fuchun Spa?

    While toiletries from London-based Gilchrist & Soames are in the guest room bathrooms at Fuchun Resort Hangzhou, skincare products from Singapore-based A.W. Lake are found at Fuchun Spa. A.W. Lake works with spas across Asia, and its products used at Fuchun Spa are FDA-certified to be free of harmful chemicals and additives. Most treatments employ A.W. Lake products, but not all; one of the most unusual services on the Hangzhou spa’s menu uses a product that’s produced right outside the hotel — tea. The 60-minute signature Dragon Well foot treatment uses locally grown longjing tea to ensure your feet are clean, healthy and pampered.
  • On January 13
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    Does Fuchun Spa offer couples’ treatments?

    Fuchun Spa at Fuchun Resort Hangzhou offers two specific couples treatments in its luxurious Spa Villa, which has its own private garden and Jacuzzi. Couples have the option of choosing either the Himalayan Healing Gem Therapy, which, inspired by Tibetan beliefs, uses herbs and precious gems to restore the chakra, or to customize their own treatment; both options are 180 minutes. Of the six treatment suites in the main spa building, four are for couples, so pairs can choose almost any service and have them done side by side. The Hangzhou spa’s top treatment options include the 60-minute foot massage, a great way to wrap up a day of hiking around the property, and the 60-minute rejuvenating crystal facial.
  • On January 13
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    What is the best way to get an appointment at Fuchun Spa?

    The best way to get an appointment at Fuchun Spa in Fuchun Resort Hangzhou is to book at least 24 hours in advance, either over the phone or by emailing reservations@fuchunresort.com. The spa is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., but most appointments tend to be available before 8 p.m., so if your schedule is flexible, we suggest visiting the spa during the day or evening. Fuchun Spa has six spa suites, including four for couples, as well as a foot massage room, and two rooms just for Chinese massages. While there’s the space to accommodate many, the spa technicians may be booked up. Treatments at the Hangzhou spa run from 30 minutes for a quick Chinese reflexology massage to 120 minutes for the signature rituals, like the gem massage that focuses on your chakras.
  • On January 13
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    What is the best way to get an appointment at Fuchun Spa?

    The best way to get an appointment at Fuchun Spa in Fuchun Resort Hangzhou is to book at least 24 hours in advance, either over the phone or by emailing reservations@fuchunresort.com. The spa is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., but most appointments tend to be available before 8 p.m., so if your schedule is flexible, we suggest visiting the spa during the day or evening. Fuchun Spa has six spa suites, including four for couples, as well as a foot massage room, and two rooms just for Chinese massages. While there’s the space to accommodate many, the spa technicians may be booked up. Treatments at the Hangzhou spa run from 30 minutes for a quick Chinese reflexology massage to 120 minutes for the signature rituals, like the gem massage that focuses on your chakras.
  • On January 13
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    What are the rooms like at Fuchun Resort Hangzhou?

    The 28 rooms and 57 suites at Fuchun Resort Hangzhou offer views of either the garden or the lake on which the hotel sits. The accommodations vary from the 388-square-foot deluxe garden view room and go up to the 2,540-square-foot lakeside villa, which has a living room and its own garden with Jacuzzi. Large groups of guests may wish to book the three Fuchun villas, which sit high in the hills and have four bedrooms each. The Hangzhou hotel’s superior and deluxe rooms have a shower stall but no bathtub. For a bathtub, which is set against the window so you can enjoy the view, book one of the suites.

    Whichever you choose, all rooms have Gilchrist & Soames bath products, rainforest showerheads and heated toilet seats. They are decorated with simple, sturdy dark wooden furniture that matches the gleaming wooden floors. Art Deco-inspired lamps cast a warm glow throughout the space, and sunlight pours in through the large windows that open onto the lake or the garden. The boutique hotel accommodations are comfortable and homey, and you are encouraged to lounge around in the provided slippers, robes and kimonos.
  • On January 13
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    What restaurants does Fuchun Resort Hangzhou have?

    Fuchun Resort Hangzhou has two restaurants, Chinese spot Asian Corner and all-day dining venue Lake Lounge. Serving Eastern and Western fare, Lake Lounge is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and is where complimentary bedtime drinks are served. It has terrace seating that overlooks the lake and a number of magazines and books for you to peruse. Of the two, it’s the more family friendly; though there’s no kids’ menu, the regular menu has simple dishes like pizza and sandwiches that will please little ones. There are also plenty of dishes for adults, including the caramel salmon confit, served with a green mango salad, salmon caviar and sweet Thai sauce. At Asian Corner, tuck in to a wide array of Chinese dishes, such as deep-fried pork ribs with salt and pepper or the lighter steamed mandarin fish with soy sauce for lunch or dinner.
  • On January 13
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    Where is Fuchun Resort Hangzhou located?

    Fuchun Resort Hangzhou is located in the village of Fuyang, about 45 minutes outside of Hangzhou proper. The hotel is off a winding road, overlooking a lake and surrounded by misty tea fields and rolling hills. To reach Fuchun Resort Hangzhou, you can take the train from Shanghai to Hangzhou Railway Station and then catch a cab or arrange pick-up through the hotel. It is also about an hour southwest from Hangzhou International Airport.

    For those who want to get away from it all, the luxury hotel offers a fantastic location. Stroll the grounds, hike through the surrounding hills, go cycling, take a short boat ride across the hotel’s lake and participate in myriad other activities, including calligraphy lessons. It’s tranquil and quiet; on a clear night, you’ll be able to see a sky full of stars. There are few accessible restaurants in the vicinity of the Hangzhou hotel, so most guests take their meals at the hotel’s two in-house eateries, Asian Corner and all-day-dining venue Lake Lounge.
  • On January 3
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    What kinds of skincare products are used at The Spa at Four Seasons Hangzhou?

    Aromatherapy Associates, Futuresse and Four Seasons brand skincare products are used at The SPA at Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake at Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake. These products are available at the spa gift shop, which is in the lobby. You’ll also find silk scarves and robes here; the spa retail area is the gift shop for the whole hotel. These three types of products are used in all treatments, which were designed exclusively for the hotel. Because the hotel is in Hangzhou, where tea is grown and harvested and plays such a role in culture, a number of the treatments include tea or products derived from it. One such service is the 2.5-hour Dragon Well Tea and Jade Spring Ritual. It takes 60,000 leaves to make a kilo (or two pounds) of longjing tea, so this treatment includes a bath in the extract of 60,000 leaves. In addition to the bath, you will also enjoy a tea and spring blossom body scrub, a tea wrap and a tea oil massage as part of the service at the Hangzhou spa.
  • On January 3
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    What kinds of massages are offered at The Spa at Four Seasons Hangzhou?

    Eight kinds of massages are offered at Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake’s SPA at Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake. All of the treatments here were designed exclusively for the hotel and won’t be found at any other Four Seasons. Massages are available in 60- and 90-minute increments. The Jet Lag Retreat is great for guests who’ve just stepped off a plane. You’re encouraged to deeply inhale eucalyptus while the massage therapist works to stimulate skin and circulation by applying some spinal pressure to help reset your body clock. For spa-goers who want to relax after a long day of sightseeing, the Hangzhou spa’s reflexology massage will help you do just that — and prepare you for another day of pavement pounding. Reflexology is aimed at relieving tension and improving circulation, and Chinese traditional medicine devotees believe that when nerve endings are stimulated, blocked energy is released.
  • On January 3
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    Does The Spa at Four Seasons Hangzhou offer couples treatments?

    The SPA at Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake doesn’t offer any specific couples treatments. However, all nine of its treatment rooms can accommodate couples, and most services can be done side by side. The treatments that are best in tandem are massages and facials, and the spa inside Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake has plenty, all designed exclusively for the facility. Among the most unusual treatments is the 2.5-hour Dragon Well Tea and Jade Spring Ritual. Hangzhou is famous for its longjing (dragon well) tea; it takes 60,000 leaves to make one kilo (or two pounds) of the renowned brew. This treatment includes a bath in the extract of 60,000 tea leaves, a tea and spring blossom body scrub, a tea wrap and a tea oil massage. The lengthy treatment will leave you relaxed and smelling pleasantly of green tea.
  • On January 3
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    What is the best way to get an appointment at The Spa at Four Seasons Hangzhou?

    The best way to get an appointment at The SPA at Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake at Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake is to call ahead of your stay. If you’d prefer to wait until you arrive at the hotel, we recommend going down and seeing which time slots are available. The spa has nine treatment rooms, all of which can accommodate couples, and a long list of services from which to choose. Everything on the menu has been designed exclusively for the Four Seasons Hangzhou, so you can be sure you’re getting a treatment that’s unique, such as the Emperor’s Bath Ritual, with an herbal bath, a scrub of wild figs and red dates, an herbal steam and a jade and crystal massage. To really take advantage of the lovely Hangzhou spa, arrive early and enjoy freshly brewed seasonal tea, fruit and granola-like biscuits. Be sure to use the ice fountains and steam experience showers in the men’s and women’s changing rooms, too.
  • On December 30
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    How do I get a reservation at Jin Sha?

    To get a reservation at Jin Sha, swing by the restaurant or give it a call. Reservations are recommended for lunch and dinner, as the restaurant is not only filled with guests from Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake (where it resides) but is also popular with locals. During the weekends, reservations are highly recommended since the dim sum lunch fills up quickly. Jin Sha has 100 seats in its main dining room and 38 seats on its terrace, so although it’s often full, the space never feels crowded. Eleven private stand-alone dining rooms — two of which have their own kitchens — ensure that large parties have a space of their own, leaving the Hangzhou restaurant’s main dining room to smaller groups.
  • On December 30
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    What is the dress code at Jin Sha?

    The dress code at Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake’s Jin Sha is smart casual. In addition to hotel guests, the restaurant is popular with nearby office workers and groups of business folk holding lunch meetings, so it’s not uncommon to see some visitors in shorts while others might be in a full suit. You shouldn’t feel pressured to dress formally to dine at Jin Sha. Those who eat in the restaurant during the weekends will see it revert to a more casual scene, as families with children come for dim sum. While we wouldn’t recommend dining at the Hangzhou restaurant in a robe and slippers, it would be acceptable to sit on the terrace in a pair of shorts and a polo shirt and enjoy a cup of locally harvested longjing tea alongside dishes like steamed vegetable dumplings and honey barbecue pork.
  • On December 30
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    Where is Jin Sha located?

    Jin Sha is located on the ground floor of Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake in a lakeside village about 45 minutes outside of Shanghai. You can enter either through the hotel or directly from the street. Four Seasons Hangzhou’s Chinese restaurant caters both to hotel guests and to locals who come to eat delicious Cantonese, Shanghainese and Hangzhounese cuisine, made with local ingredients and served in an elegant dining room. The main dining room seats 100 guests, and an additional 38 can sit outside overlooking the garden. The Hangzhou restaurant also has 11 stand-alone private dining rooms; these accommodate between six and 16 guests, and all offer water views and terraces. Two of the private dining rooms have open kitchens so you can watch as all elements of the meal come together.
  • On December 30
    Sophie Friedman answered the question: Sophie Friedman

    What is the design style of Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake?

    The design style of Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake is traditional Chinese meets Western. The hotel’s convenient location in the West Lake historic district restricted its height and so all 81 rooms are spread across just two floors. The hotel has a white exterior and pagoda-style multi-level roof done in traditional dark tiles. The lobby is airy and filled with sunlight, as are the two restaurants; nearly all of the spaces at the Hangzhou hotel have windows so you can enjoy the view. The Balinese spa and pool are heavy on the dark, carved wood that creates a tranquil, transportive atmosphere, but the guest rooms have a more Western-style aesthetic. Despite being decorated in a neutral gray and beige palette, the rooms are bright a light. Colorful accents come from vases of fresh flowers and touches of chinoiserie, like carved wooden boxes and lamps that emit warmth.