73 Rooms / 5 Suites / 3 Villas

In the midst of grand Chinese gardens, striking pagodas and ancient temples in Hangzhou’s historic West Lake district, Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake could easily be mistaken for being a longtime fixture in the city. It blends into the landscape with its traditional Jiang Nan architecture — black-tiled-roof, pagoda-style pavilions that look out on a bamboo forest, gardens and lily-strewn ponds. The lush, peaceful greenery surrounding the Four Seasons separates you from buzzing Hangzhou, just on the other side of the road. And while the hotel is just 45 minutes from Shanghai (albeit via high-speed train), it couldn’t feel more different from the big city. But the luxury hotel was newly built when it opened in 2010.

The intimate property has just 81 rooms — including five suites and three villas — and three residential-style villas, making it more boutique than behemoth. The rooms are quite large, starting from 678 square feet, and all offer nature views. They are furnished with soft beds, either one king or two queens, and carpet you’ll want to sink your feet into after a day of sightseeing. A beige and dark gray palette gets a boost of color from fresh flowers and throw pillows.

Jin Sha, the hotel’s elegant, light-filled Chinese restaurant, serves Cantonese, Shanghainese and Hangzhounese cuisine for lunch and dinner. Snag an outdoor table for a scenic vista of the well-manicured grounds. The restaurant’s specialty is its private dining — it offers 11 standalone rooms, each of which has a terrace with great garden views. On the weekends, join the locals in the dining room for dim sum. Families will want to opt for West Lake Bistro, the Hangzhou hotel’s kid-friendly restaurant that serves Western and Asian cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (it also provides alfresco dining).

You won’t want to leave the Four Seasons without visiting its Spa at West Lake. The spa was made to look like a Chinese palace. Step through the treatment room’s round door to use a private shower and steam room (some even have sunken tubs). And be sure to carve out time for the enormous pool that brings to mind Bali and whose plush loungers beckon you to lay out after a vigorous swim.

DETAILS - Insider Information About This Hotel

DETAILS - Insider Information About This Hotel