Hangzhou’s natural hotel wonder
One of Hangzhou’s unofficial nicknames is “The Paradise City,” and it’s stunning places like Banyan Tree Hangzhou that give such tags their validity.
Like a Dong Yuan landscape brought to life, this 72-unit treasure in Xixi National Wetlands Park is dotted with wing-tipped pagodas, romantic bridges and stunning waterways. The lush grounds and soaring egrets might transport you to a 14th-century tea village, but leave it to masterstrokes in traditional décor and fine dining to paint a picture of home.
There’s something to be said for hotels that can be defined from the main lobby. This Hangzhou hotel is such a place. With high-beam ceilings, standing lamps and crimson-hued rugs all about the space, you immediately experience a sense of time and place.
Of course, if there were any lingering doubts about where you were, the image out of the rear windows — darling ivory villas with tiled roofs surround a picture-perfect lake — will clear up the confusion.
The Suites and Villas
One of Banyan Tree’s goals across its vast portfolio of global hotels and resorts is to ensure that a strong local energy emanates through its properties. To guarantee that happens in Hangzhou, understated dwellings are filled with Han antiques and murals — and that goes from the 1,291-square-foot Water Terrace Suites (amazingly, the smallest unit on the property) to the 1,937-square-foot Spa Sanctuary Villa.
If you pony up for the almost-overwhelming Presidential Villa, you’ll be rewarded with three bedrooms, an outdoor pool and more than 4,000 square feet of fabulousness.
The medicinal effects of green tea have long been documented, so when you’re greeted for your treatment at Banyan Tree Spa Hangzhou with a cup of Longjing tea, you have a clear understanding of the sanctuary’s intentions. Imagery of birds and lotus flowers helps to usher in the serenity.
A thorough list of traditional practices addresses issues specific to women and men. But no matter the sex or area of concern, services like the Longjing Tea Cold Scrub (calms sensitive skin) and the Longjing Tea Healer (removes toxins and reduces skin inflammation) have major benefits.
A meal at a Banyan Tree Hangzhou restaurant goes beyond mere cuisine. The luxury hotel aims to create moments. At a casual glance, Waterlight Court appears to be an unfussy place to score dim sum, but take a closer look at the table runners and intimate dining quarters and you’ll notice that details aren’t limited to the kitchen.
The same can be said about Bai Yun and Jiu Xian, two other establishments that care as much about setting a proper mood as they do about serving polished Cantonese dishes.
But seeing as how specially arranged meals can be set up all around the property — it doesn’t matter if you envision a private barbecue under a tent or want a sensual meal for two on a boat ride through the glades, the staff can organize it — Banyan Tree Hangzhou’s most impressive culinary feats might not take place in a restaurant at all.