Ring in the Lunar New Year by jetting off on an appropriately cheeky getaway… Here are five luxe lairs right on home soil.
Naked Stables Private Reserve, Moganshan
Just a zippy two and a half hours by car from Shanghai’s hustle and bustle is this idyllic escape… but don’t worry dolly, we’re not packing you off to a nudist camp. Instead Naked Stables is a luxury eco-resort and equestrian reserve (and sister to the more rustic Naked Home Village, if you prefer a farmhouse stay) set in the meandering hills of Moganshan.
Spread across 60 acres of its own secluded valley and surrounded by bamboo forests, tea plantations and farming villages, Naked is all about sustainability without sacrificing life’s little luxuries. Opt for a single-room African inspired Earth Hut, or splash out on a lofty multi-bedroom Tree Top Villa with floor-to-ceiling glass peepers and hunk-a-dunk hot tub. If you need to stay connected, don’t fret – you’ll still get WiFi, satellite TV, and round the clock room service.
But do venture beyond your hut for activity central: horse-riding, lakeside yoga, mountain biking, or plain old hiking through the tea plantations – or just go facedown at the Naked Leaf Wellness & Spa on stilts. Mmhmm.
Naked Stables, 37 Shangxiazhuang Village, Paitou, Deqing, China, +86 400 920 0518, nakedretreats.cn
Six Senses Qing Cheng, Sichuan
At the foot of UNESCO world heritage site Qing Cheng Mountain lies the Six Senses Qing Cheng, the eco-chic luxury brand’s only presence in China. These flatlands of the Qinghai Tibetan plateau are credited as the birthplace of Taoism in 121CE, so it’s little surprise that a stay here is indeed a lovely, spiritually engaging experience.
Whatever abode you choose, you’re guaranteed to zen out in the clean, warm, white n’ wood surrounds – each suite and villa rocks A-frame lofted ceilings with serene courtyard or balcony, and contempo Chinese furnishings with curated antiques for the finishing touch.
Enrol in tai-chi lessons and learn the Tao fundamentals, or simply unwind with a Chinese reflexology session at Shen spa – there’s nowhere better. By day, book an excursion with the concierge to follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo and see a working irrigation system built in 256BC (also UNESCO-listed), or river raft in the Black Mountain.
But this being Sichuan, it would be remiss not to visit the giant pandas, which are native to the mountains of this region. Luckily, Panda Valley is a 10-minute ride away, and you get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get up close and personal with the adorable creatures.
Tip: Valentine’s Day follows right behind CNY, so if it’s a special occasion, do request the private rooftop dining at Sala Thai – a table for two and THAT view = a guaranteed yes.
Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain, 2 Dongruan Lu, Qing Cheng, Dujiangyan, Sichuan, China, +86 28 8728 9871, sixsenses.com
Mandarin Oriental, Sanya
The beach? In China? No… Well, if you absolutely must, a 100-min flight from HK lands you on Hainan Island – the country at its most tropical – and the good ol’ M.O. is the only place to shack up.
Each of her island pads is bedecked in a chic palette of timber and silk, with coconut-weaved headboards and vibrant tribal rugs, but always with that signature Mandarin sophistication. Every room comes with a spacious terrace or balcony deck for sunning bunny n’ baps in peace, but upgrade to a plunge pool pavilion or spring for a villa to get 1,600 sq ft of panoramic seafront indulgence.
Drag yourself from bed to scope the sea views from one of the myriad beaches lining this lil’ isle, or for some cultural to-dos check out the Nanshan Buddhism Park and Binlang Ethnic Village. Hotfoot it back to the MO Sanya Spa for the pampersome Lava Sea Shell coconut oil rubdown, and dump the grump next door for the herbalicious Golfers Massage – he’ll thank you later.
Mandarin Oriental Sanya, 12 Yuhai Lu, Sanya, Hainan, China, +86 898 8820 9999, mandarinoriental.com
Anantara Xishuangbanna, Yunnan
On the other end of the country, a hop and a skip from the borders of Laos and Myanmar, nestled deep in the heart of Yunnan’s land of rugged beauty and rice paddies, is the Anantara Xishuangbanna.
Along the banks of the river Luosuo, dark wood digs in sienna reds and burnt yellows bestow breathtaking river or garden vistas (some with terrace and private pool too), providing a luxurious and welcome escape for those trekking China’s southwestern countryside.
If you’ve made it this far and checked into this top flop, then your primary goal is to relax, slow down, and take in some of the nation’s most unspoiled terrains and crystal clear skies… But you can tick the activity boxes with a squizz at the nearby tropical botanical garden, white pagoda Manfeilong, and wonderful wild elephant sanctuary too.
Anantara Xishuangbanna, Mengla, Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, China, +86 691 893 6666, xishuangbanna.anantara.com
UNESCO world heritage site West Lake, seven ancient Buddhist temples, plucky tea plantations and the bamboo forests together serve as the picturesque backdrop to the Amanfayun, a sylvan green queen in Hangzhou.
This peaceful hideaway recreates the traditional village experience from layout (think shaded courtyards and stone pathways) to furnishings (clay tile roofs and wood floors) to commodities (Chinese bathhouse steam rooms), and adds in all the modern amenities and C.21st tech touches you need.
Start your day with Steam House’s trad Chinese breakfast followed by a Buddhist prayer at one of the monasteries within walking distance; or idle away the hours beside the placid West Lake. You can roll up your sleeves and go tea-picking in the plantations, or just kick back in Fayun’s Tea House with top tastings n’ cake. No matter what you do though, don’t miss a dip in the wooden soaking tubs at the divine spa, and book in for a flowing bamboo massage using heated bamboo from nearby groves. More like Am-aaaaahn.
Amanfayun, 22 Fayun Lane, West Lake, Hangzhou, China, +86 571 8732 9999, aman.com