By Kendra Tombolato
As 2022 comes to a close, here’s a round-up of the best new hotels in China that have opened their doors this year.
Since their first property opened in Dali, Yunnan, in 2016, Sunyata has been on our radar as a boutique to follow. Their main prowess lies in their design, led by Chongqing-based designer Xie Ke, a wonderful display of local culture platformed through architecture, emphasized and invigorated by touches of modern, minimalist influence.
Their newest property in Chengkan, a village at the base of Huangshan (the Yellow Mountains), is no exception to this mantra. Here, traditional Hui architecture is preserved in a 500-year-old, historically-protected building.
Stepping inside is like traveling back in time, with every original detail, from the intricately carved railings to the faded stone facades, restored to its original state, belied only by the modern touches infused to create a comfortable and luxurious guest experience.
Rooms starting from $230 / night
Jangala Dunhuang is a desert oasis embodied. The textured taupe walls both inside and out provide an immersive desert experience, giving the sense that the hotel rises from the landscape in which it is built.
Floor-to-ceiling windows, sky lights, reflective water pools and desert-themed foliage inside the hotel ensure not a separation from the outside world, but an inclusion, a reminder of exactly where one is at that very moment.
Rooms and amenities are designed with luxury in mind, and, for those laid-back desert evenings, on-site offerings include performances at the Water View Theatre, cocktails at the roof-top bar, or some peace and quiet in the designated meditation room.
Rooms starting from $490 / night
For most westward journeys from Lhasa, be it via bike, car or train, a stop in Shigatse is a must. Historically, the best accommodation one could hope for in this vibrant area was a low-level, business-style hotel with bare-minimum facilities and amenities.
As such, the Hilton Shigatse opening its doors in July of this year was a much-needed breath of fresh air in this high-altitude city. Concerns of losing out on local culture by staying in a big-name chain hotel are assuaged by the prevalent use of Tibetan influence throughout the interior and exterior design.
The location of the Hilton is also supreme, a mere 5-minute walk to Shigtatse’s most famous site, the Tashilhunpo Monastery, and surrounded by small streets of local shops, restaurants and markets.
Rooms starting from $100 / night
True to the reputation of the Mandarin Oriental brand, the MO Shenzhen is the epitome of luxury. The hotel occupies the top portion of the supertall skyscraper, UpperHills, giving it uninterrupted views out over the glittering cityscape and the sapphire bay beyond.
It’s hard to imagine a better perspective of Shenzhen, but the hotel bests itself by offering scenic helicopter tours conveniently starting and ending from their roof-top helipad.
Within the hotel, there is a dazzling selection of eight different restaurants, the crown jewel being “The Bay” led by Michelin-star chef, Fei. Or, for those looking for a bit of introspection, the MO also has a spa, a 20-meter pool and a state-of-the-art Sky View fitness center.
Rooms starting from $300 / night
Xitan’s current claim to fame among Chinese netizens is that it is, “the most expensive hotel in Beijing”, no easy feat with competitors like Mandarin Oriental, Bvlgari and Aman Summer Palace also holding court in the capital. However, with rooms starting from $800/night at time of writing, it is indeed the highest price tag in the city.
The accompanying intrigue is real. An hour’s drive east of central Beijing, nestled into a hillside of the mountainous Mentougou district, is where you’ll find Xitan. The hotel sprawls over two hectares on the site of a Ming Dynasty village, near the 1700-year-old Tanzhe Temple.
Designed as a retreat, every element of the hotel has been carefully considered, from the in-room hot springs to the framing of the mountains in each artfully shaped window.
Rooms starting from $800 / night
In the last few years The Lux Collective has taken China by storm. They currently have eight hotels open and operating across China, and six more in the works. Their newest addition is the LUX* Shangri-La, part of their Tea Horse Road circuit, and a beautiful addition to the accommodation selection in the Diqing area.
Constructed in the 1300-year-old Dukezong architectural style, the building is a lovely homage to the history of the area, especially considering that many of the original structures were lost in a fire in 2014. Another excellent touch is the oxygen-infused air inside the hotel, a welcome perk when returning from exploring the 3,450-meter-high Shangri-La surrounds.
Rooms starting from $270 / night
Suzhou makes for a great day trip from Shanghai, taking only 30 minutes to reach by high-speed train. However, for those looking to dive deeper into Suzhou’s many offerings – water towns, traditional Chinese gardens, the I.M.
Pei designed Suzhou Museum, to name a few – a night-or-two stay is worth the time and saves a dime: hotels here are significantly cheaper than their counterparts in Shanghai. Kimpton Bamboo Grove is the newest hotel to put down roots in the city, and is located directly adjacent to one of the city’s most popular sights, The Master of Nets Garden. Inside, clean lines and muted grays are punctuated by bursts of bright colors and soft patterns, providing a sense of tranquility and thoughtful design throughout.
Rooms starting from $170 / night
Aranya (Jinshanling, Hebei) – Special Mention –
Aranya, deriving from the Sanskrit meaning “a quiet, natural place,” has a bit of a cult following in China. Their flagship development in the trendy, seaside art outpost of Beidaihe is marketed as a community – a mix of upper-class, hipster homeowners and weekending hotel guests – and their newest endeavor in Jinshanling is poised to follow suit.
The sprawling complex near the Great Wall earned itself an early write up in ArchDaily for artfully juxtaposing red-brick architecture alongside nature. Booking options start from three-bedroom townhouses, listed Airnbnb-style, each with their own decorations and furnishings.
Townhouses starting from three-bedrooms for $300 / night
Book one of these new hotels for your next get-away!