Why The Temple House Is the Best Luxury Hotel in Chengdu
A fascinating blend of modern and traditional design in the capital of China's Sichuan province
The Temple House is the only luxury hotel in Chengdu that I considered for our most recent visit to Sichuan’s capital and its resident pandas. Reviews, design, accommodations and amenities so clearly stand out above the rest. And, The Temple House is an Instagrammer’s dream.
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About The Temple House
The Temple House is named for the nearby Daci Temple, once the largest Buddhist temple in Sichuan, built during the Sui Dynasty (581-618). The temple is still very much a place of worship and a must-see Chengdu attraction.
This luxury hotel in Chengdu is also designed to blend local heritage with modern elements. To give you an idea, one enters The Temple House through an over 100-year-old Qing dynasty courtyard, Bitieshi, and its buildings with preserved original wood paneling, overhangs and brick. Modern sculptures placed on each end of the courtyard and lights hanging from the tree tie in present-day style. (The Temple House’s collection of contemporary art rotates on a quarterly basis.)
As readers of this site know, I tend to gravitate toward brands and destinations that are already in my existing comfort zone. The Temple House is part of the Swire Group, which also encompasses Cathay Pacific and many of my favorite places and spaces in Hong Kong, including one of our first serviced apartments in Hong Kong which has been transformed into the highly-rated Upper House boutique hotel.
The Temple House is also a member of Preferred Hotels and Resorts Legend collection of exquisite properties around the globe.
Location in the Heart of Chengdu
Chengdu remains my favorite city in China. This city is a bucket list destination for panda fans like us, but we also enjoy Sichuan cuisine and a somewhat-slower pace here than is evident in other major cities in China.
Like anywhere else in the world we stay, I put a premium on what is within walking distance of my hotel. I could see over the rooftops of Taikoo Li from our Residence.
Taikoo Li is a lifestyle complex that also incorporated old temple courtyards into its low-rise and lane-driven design. Look closely in the photo above, and you’ll see traditional Chinese rooftops sprinkled in with new ones. On ground-level they, too, have a large collection of contemporary sculptures. I have to say, it’s one of my favorite shopping spots worldwide now (and bonus points also for a not-so-crowded Din Tai Fung restaurant inside).
You can actually take a shopping break inside the Daci Temple as it is adjacent to Taikoo Li. How cool is that? When traveling with kids, it is especially important to have conveniences near the hotel. Rest assured that in about a minute or two of a walk from The Temple House is almost anything you could need.
Guests of The Temple House choose between Studios, Suites and Residences. Even the smallest Studio 60 layout is a whopping 673 square feet. The layouts can feel like home between some accommodations that are both two-stories with two-bedrooms and the Residences with full kitchens. You can also have a private courtyard or a balcony with a view… the choices are all quite lovely.
Our Residence 90 proved to be the perfect base for a Chengdu holiday and I would definitely recommend the Residences for traveling families.
It felt more like an apartment than a hotel room. The kitchens have designer appliances including a much-appreciated washer-dryer combo in addition to a Maxi Bar full of complimentary soda, water, beer and candy. The sleek bathrooms have enormous rain shower and gorgeous free-standing modern tub. Our flatscreen TVs were the hub of our stay as you can check the hotel’s online guide for things to do in Chengdu as well as order room service. And, because we were busy we enjoyed quite a bit of room service in the comfort of our residence.
Unlike many beds I’ve slept on in mainland China, this one was incredibly comfortable with luxury linens and plenty of pillows.
Guests of The Temple House also receive an amenity kit, similar to but much nicer than one you might receive in first class on a long haul flight. It’s a nice touch with lotion and bath amenities that may not have made it into the suitcase.
So Much Good Food
Because of comfortable accommodations and a packed itinerary, we ordered a ton of room service (through our TV) which has a nice blend of Western and Asian specialties depending on what you crave. The dan dan noodles, however, are a must-order.
Breakfast is served semi-buffet style in The Temple Café which means a lovely buffet of salad, baked goods, fresh juice and more is accompanied by a set menu of hot dishes that can be ordered at the table.
The Temple Café also has a grab-and-go section with wine, sandwiches, sweets, coffee, gelato and more which is another benefit for traveling families who need snacks and drinks on demand. Don’t pass up the housemade gelato.
We absolutely could not resist panda afternoon tea though at MI XUN, a teahouse steeped in history that also serves the finest teas from the region and beyond.
JING’s outdoor terrace is perfect place to unwind over a drink. When the weather is nice, Chengdu residents love to gather outside.
TIVANO is one of the most beautifully-designed restaurants I’ve seen. Out and about during the day and exhausted by night, we did not have a chance to dine here but will do next time. It’s the type of place where every time you look up, a new tile pattern, light fixture or other interesting element is noticed. The Italian restaurant has an open-kitchen, delicious wood-fired pizza (we did try it via room service… so good) and a vast wine cellar.
The Coolest Pool
While there is a very nice fitness center, steam room, sauna and gorgeous changing area, needless to say the best place to unwind at the end of a day is in the hotel’s pool. The design team really nailed it with the use of creative lighting.
The pool is one level below ground. The rings that cast shadows on to the water are the bottom of the above-ground terraced grass areas at the center of the hotel that are built to resemble Chinese tea terraces in Sichuan. How cool is that?
Guests of The Temple House should also take advantage of the complimentary bikes.
A Full-Service Spa and Barber Shop
I regrettably did not have time to visit the MI XUN spa but it’s also built into a restored Qing dynasty courtyard. If you’re used to spas in five-star hotels, you’ll find the spa menu to be incredible value for treatments guests rave about. The spa is in this gorgeous building, adjacent to the teahouse.
Top Notch Service
I coordinated our visit to the Dujiangyan Panda Base, Chengdu Opera tickets, airport transfers and more entirely through the Guest Experience Team at The Temple House in advance of our stay. They’re quick to answer questions and have prepared, helpful sheets that outline Chengdu restaurant options.
The house drivers are also incredibly helpful and friendly which matters to me when traveling in China as my Mandarin skills are limited and where I need to go isn’t always obvious to me. I would highly recommend booking the house car to visit popular Chengdu attractions such as the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, tours to Dujiangyan, airport transfers and much more. The cars are also WiFi enabled.
The Bottom Line
If you would like to stay at Temple House, I can book you in with value-added Virtuoso benefits. You can use the contact an advisor button to send me your dates.
When we return to Chengdu, The Temple House is again where we’ll stay. I very much like its mix of old and new, attention to detail, friendly staff, luxurious accommodations and perfect location.
The Temple House
No. 81 Bitieshi Street
+86 28 6636 9999
*Thank you to Temple House for providing a media rate for our stay.