Have you ever wanted to know what it feels like to live in a Chinese Imperial palace? Then why not try the fabulous Banyan Tree Hangzhou. Situated in the tranquil surroundings of Hangzhou’s beautiful Xixi National Wetlands Park, the luxury resort, which was designed by Architecture Design and Planning, features 36 water terraces and 36 villas that are one of the most spacious in the whole of Hangzhou. Easily accessible within a 50-minute drive from Hangzhou’s Xiaoshan International Airport, and only around a 15-minute drive from downtown Hangzhou and the famed West Lake, the resort can be treated like your very own imperial palace for the duration of your stay. When you hear the echoes of your own footsteps bounce of the stone walls of the courtyard then you may be easily forgiven for thinking for a moment that you are inside an imperial courtyard rather than being inside this Jiang Nan style resort in the 21st century. Though I ended up going on a day when it was raining, I still felt warmly welcomed by the tentative staff at the resort. While it may be difficult to locate (so it should be as it’s a luxury resort, not your standard hotel), you can be rest assured that a Banyan Tree staff member will whisk you in a stylish buggy to the check in desk. The first impressions give you the feeling of ‘Wow!’, and it actually looks more beautiful in the rain. It gives that feeling of being in the old China.
There are five types of villas and suites available: Water Terrace, Premier Water Terrace, Water View Villa, Spa Jetpool Villa, and the two-bedroom Jetpool Villa. All of the villas and suites themselves are something to marvel at. You would be reassured that nothing else would touch your skin and feet except dark polish wood floors, antique carvings, and silk brocades. The rain shower and the bathtub adds that extra bit of luxury that you would deserve after a long day of sightseeing around this historically beautiful city. Then there are the high chairs made out of mahogany that add the extra ethos of being in a royal palace. The depiction of oriental chic and contemporary comforts is shown in style at any one of the Premier Water Terraces. The bedroom is complete with an indoor bath tub- perfect for those romantic getaways. After a long blissful soak, retreat into your own private spa treatment room for a relaxing massage which can be booked from the report’s spa.
At the touch of a button guests can enjoy a myriad of DVD movies or a selection of songs available from the resort’s library. Other useful amenities include complimentary wireless internet in all the rooms, complimentary drinking water bottles (tap water is safe, but be cautious), in-room massage service, complimentary buggy service, and a late checkout time should you wish to require it. Then there is the spacious mini-bar that provides generous offerings of various alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. But the part of every villa to really aspire at is the emphasis paid to providing a highly spacious yet luxurious room with a high ceiling, and a bed that is almost as distinguishable as a four-poster bed complete with a luxurious 6-thread cotton duvet and pillows to match. With the addition of rose petals generously scattered all around the bed and the room, it would be safe to point out that the Banyan Tree Hangzhou would be perfect for honeymooners or those who want to treat their loved one to a romantic getaway.
Loyal guests have been known to stay for over a period of a few months at the resort. Considering the impeccable facilities that make it is an oasis of tranquillity are a clear signal of why this has been the case. There are four options in terms of dining venues starting with the signature Chinese restaurant Bai Yun offering the finest of local cuisine from Hangzhou (don’t forget to try the fish fresh from the lake!). The other options include: the Waterlight Court, where one can enjoy a rich breakfast, or treat themselves to Western and Asian delights, or dine at any other time of the day until 10.30pm; the magnificent yet compact Jiu Xian (lobby lounge) which is of a similar quality to what you may call a ‘Club Lounge’ at other 5-star hotels; and finally you have the choice of dining in the privacy of your own villa at any time of the day.
With the challenges of trying to distinguish itself from the other hotels within its vicinity, the Banyan Tree Hangzhou also offers guests the option of a new concept of ‘Destination Dining’’. This is where guests can dine in their own privacy under a draped tent and surround themselves by fresh flowers and candles complete with a private chef who can cook whatever you want and in whichever style. Though there is a 24 hour notice required for this, it is worthwhile to dine in style provided the horrible Hangzhou rain does not ruin your stay!
Most people when they reside at hotels don’t have enough time to enjoy all the excellent facilities that are on offer, however, should you have time then it is highly recommended that you take a dip in the beautiful swimming pool, or have a go at one of the many spa treatments to wind down the stress of the day. The treatments are uniquely to the Banyan Tree brand and make it extra special to have a treatment under the stars in the evening (especially in the summer), or even in the privacy of your villa. It is for sure a delight for all the senses where you have the chance to calm the body and quiet the mind for a period of short time. Highly recommended is to try the Qi stimulating Gui Shi Hot Stone massage which features an invigorating rubdown with heated river stones (smooth!), and aromatic essential oils. Nothing beats the feeling of having a spa massage in quiet surroundings while the sun is setting in the backdrop- at Banyan Tree Hangzhou you can enjoy this experience during the summer months. It’s magical!
On the whole the key that makes the Banyan Tree Hangzhou different from the others is that it offers the best quality of service, best quality of comfort and in the most romantic and peaceful surroundings in the magical city of Hangzhou. So next time you are here, why not mix business with pleasure and enjoy the fruits of your labour by spoiling yourself at the Banyan Tree Hangzhou?
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