The two magnificent cities of Beijing and Shanghai are at the cutting edge of a trend sweeping China. The 'boutique' style, so favoured in Southeast Asia, has finally arrived, transforming the choice of accommodation available.
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Boutique hotels in Beijing
The Cote Cour is a beautifully appointed traditional courtyard hotel set in the ancient hutong district of Beijing.
The Aman at Summer Palace
A former retreat of the Emperors, The Aman at Summer Palace offers exquisite rooms and suites, private access to the Summer Palace grounds and world-class fine dining in its restaurants.
There are many courtyard hotels in Beijing, but the Cote Cour is in a different category. It’s the supreme example of conservation going hand-in-hand with luxury. The rooms are stylish but not flashy, with muted colours and lighting, but the location is unbeatable. It can be slightly tricky getting the car up to the door to drop your bags off, but it’s worth the effort – the surrounding streets are full of life and give you a real taste of old Beijing.Chris, China specialist
Boutique hotels in Shanghai
88 Xintiandi is a stylish hotel with excellent facilities located in the heart of Shanghai’s art, fashion and culinary district.
PuLi Hotel and Spa
Ideal for those looking for a retreat at the end of a hard-day's sightseeing the PuLi Hotel and Spa is an urban retreat of outstanding refinement and quality in a central location.
88 Xintiandi breaks the mould of China’s huge tower-block hotels beautifully. Surrounded by some fantastic continental restaurants, bars and cafés, this is one of the most relaxing places to stay in a city too busy to stop. Rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated with subtle touches of Chinese design, and the reception has some lovely Art Deco touches. The other thing they get so right is breakfast. I smiled broadly when I saw the quality of the food they served to start my day.Chris, China specialist
Boutique hotels in Hangzhou
Located in a valley a short distance from Hangzhou’s beautiful West Lake, the Amanfayun Hotel is a collection of traditional yet luxurious villas, offering a tranquil retreat for every guest.
Banyan Tree Hangzhou
Just 15 minutes from Hangzhou and 50 minutes from the airport, the Banyan Tree Hangzhouthe's rooms and villas are spacious, very well appointed and have that modern Chinese touch.
Hangzhou is one of China's oldest cities, and a former capital. Its famous West Lake still retains its charm. Places to stay in this area, tucked away from the bustle of the city, make for a relaxing end to a trip.Chris, China specialist
Shanghai in Southern China
Banyan Tree Lijiang
Offering luxurious villas, comfortable suite rooms and spa, the Banyan Tree in Lijiang reflects the rich fabric of this locale through its design and furnishings.
The individually themed rooms at the Lian Lodge give this charming guesthouse a unique character. Views of the rice terraces are the best in the village.
Before the Banyan Tree, Lijiang was definitely lacking in the luxury department. The hotel is a bit out of town, with views of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and the rice terraces. The scenery really is spectacular to wake up to and the beds are huge, comfortable and warm.Chris, China specialist