Travel Spotlight

Spotlight: The Temple House, Chengdu

In Chengdu, China, a place where spicy peppers rule every dish and pandas are local celebrities, the Temple House opened its doors.

The property is the third in the HOUSE Collective, the brand known for its sleek, design-focused hotels in Beijing and Hong Kong. Both the Opposite House and the Upper House are elegant hideaways in vibrant international capitals; the Temple House follows the same formula—except in an exciting, up-and-coming location.

In this southwestern Chinese city, the pace is slow and leisurely: afternoons are spent in teahouses, strolling through the People’s Park or browsing local specialties at colorful outdoor markets. In many ways, it feels like time has stood still here. But the recent arrival of tech companies and a rise in modern architecture have put Chengdu on the map, and the Temple House is paving the way in the city’s progressive new identity.

Drawing inspiration from the area’s deep roots in tradition, the hotel is built upon the historic Daci Temple: an ornate, 100-year-old relic of the Qing Dynasty. The structure—like the hotel itself—is a masterpiece, beginning with the gorgeous, sun-soaked courtyard filled with intricate woodcarvings and lattice window designs. From there, the temple leads to a stunningly modern indoor/outdoor complex. Designed by London–based MAKE Architects, the entire property resembles an outdoor art museum complete with shimmering steel facades, undulating surfaces and lush bamboo sculptures. The scene is an outstanding work of urban architecture, thanks to imaginative design that creates an unexpected yet harmonious blend of old and new.

Related: On the Rise: Shanghai

The Temple House is connected to the Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li retail complex, a trendy pedestrian area home to some of the city’s best boutiques. This outdoor mall, together with the Temple House, is part of Chengdu’s latest initiative to energize the neighborhood with exciting shopping, dining and luxury accommodations (the complex won the Silver award for Asia’s Best Urban Regeneration Project in 2012). Due to the hotel’s fluid open layout, guests feel at once in the center of the action while also very tucked away.

Despite its commanding presence, the Temple House is relatively small, with only 100 rooms. Like the property as a whole, accommodations are designed impeccably, with warm yet spare décor and chic furnishings. Minimalist sculptures, sleek lighting fixtures and wooden shades give a nod to the hotel’s Chinese heritage, while the overall style is simple and classic. All rooms come equipped with high-tech touches (like portable Bluetooth speakers that are surprisingly easy to operate). Those looking to splurge should book one of the hotel’s elegant specialty suites—some of which boast private terraces, fireplaces and Jacuzzis.

Guests have a choice of several excellent dining options on property (all are fabulous, and make it very tempting to dine here for every meal), including an all-day brassiere and 1920’s-inspired Italian restaurant. The latter serves wood-fired pizza and has a large selection of international wine. There is also Jing Bar, which is similarly appointed in sumptuous, retro furnishings and hosts a DJ on weekends. Guests should be sure to try the Sichuan Mule, named after the region’s famously spicy pepper.

Only steps away from the glamorous restaurants (which are often buzzing with guests and outside visitors) the nearby teahouse serves as a reminder of the Temple House’s great heritage. Housed in a historic courtyard, Mi Xun is hidden in a quiet corner of the property beside the spa. There, dishes like spicy tofu and vegan moon cakes highlight the menu, and diners are transported into a different century while seated in the gorgeous quadrant, complete with traditional wood paneling and overgrown greenery.

Nearby the Mi Xun Spa, an 11-room facility accessed through the stunning temple courtyard, is a true oasis, its treatments combining holistic practices with cutting-edge techniques. Guests are encouraged to throw a coin into a water fountain in the dreamy secret garden before their spa experience. Next door is an 84-foot indoor pool, which—in keeping with the property’s contemporary design focus—is positioned below a grand, circular skylight.

What to See and Do: Beyond the Temple House, Chengdu offers a wealth of activities for visitors. Most notable is the Giant Panda Research Base, where travelers can admire the gentle giants (and cubs) up close ( The Wide and Narrow Alley is a feast for all five senses, complete with street performers, delicious local treats and a wide array of shops—a must to experience Chengdu’s warm, colorful and often whimsical culture.

Interested in planning a trip to Chengdu? Contact the Bookings Team.

Related: Just Back From… China

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