TESTED BY Ramsey Qubein
HOW MANY ROOMS? 100 rooms and suites; 42 serviced apartments
PROPERTY HIGHLIGHTS Elegant but not overly traditional, this minimalist hotel is a serene oasis in the heart of the city.
PRICE Internet rates for a traditional room start at $300
The Temple House Hotel, No. 81 Bitieshi Street, Jinjiang District, Chengdu, China 610021,
Phone +86-28-6636-9999, thetemplehousehotel.com
VERDICT: Chengdu is filled with high-end hotels, but few if any can compete on the polished trifecta of service, style and location that make the Temple House a rare gem.
WHERE IS IT? In the city center, the property is minutes from the city’s best shopping options and the nearby Daci Temple for which the hotel is named. In addition, it’s convenient to corporate offices, and the drive to the popular panda research center takes less than an hour.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? The entrance is through old-fashioned wooden doors into a small courtyard with art gallery and library. With a nearly four-to-one staff to guest ratio, the service is among the best in the city. It’s part of Swire Hotels’ House Collective, which includes The Opposite House in Beijing, the Upper House in Hong Kong, and newest The Middle House in Shanghai.
ROOM FACILITIES: Clean lines and a simple color palette of white and beige mark the oversized guest rooms that range from spacious studios to multi-room suites. My Temple Suite came with a living area separated from the guest rooms and bathrooms via sliding doors. Rainfall showerheads, deep soaking tubs and stone vanities stacked high with toiletries in a take-home amenity kit are standard. Beneath the snazzy espresso machine is the “maxibar,” which is the hotel’s free-to-enjoy minibar. Electric shades completely block out sunlight from floor-to-ceiling windows, perfect for jet-lagged sleepers.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS: The Temple Café serves French and Asian fusion cuisine from morning to night (many ingredients are plucked from the nearby herb garden). It begins with a lovely buffet serving house made yogurt, congee with a plethora of spicy toppings, and fresh fruit, pastries and juices. A la carte dishes include spicy noodle bowls (the Dan Dan noodles were my favorite) and eggs to order. There’s an outdoor terrace where guests and passersby mingle as they people watch the customers coming to the luxury outdoor shopping center (also owned by Swire) that wraps around Daci Temple. The wood-burning oven at TIVANO dishes up delicious pizzas and tasty Italian fare later in the day. The bar and lounge often feature DJ tunes, but the vegetarian restaurant and tea house was my favorite for a spicy hot pot with locally grown vegetables and handmade noodles.
LEISURE FACILITIES: The fitness center is well-equipped with cardio and weight equipment, plus there are free tai chi and yoga classes available. The indoor swimming pool is long enough for laps; the magical glow comes from the rings of circular lights that hang overhead. Part of the former temple grounds is now the location of the spa. Encircling the tranquil courtyard are various treatment rooms for massage and beauty services.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES: Meeting space is outfitted with modern technology and the latest audiovisual gadgets. Free wireless Internet is available throughout, and the top-floor, bi-level suite with panoramic balconies can be rented out for special events.