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Hangzhou: Tea Boutique Hotel 天伦精品酒店

1 Mar

A little weekend escapade to celebrate our first wedding anniversary brought us to Hangzhou, land of the famed West Lake and Long Jing green tea. So it was only apt that we stayed in a tea themed hotel. Tea Boutique Hotel 天伦精品酒店 was not only quaint and had good design down pat; but was also inexpensive and received rave reviews online. I would describe the decor as earthy Scandinavian meets Chinese tea culture – what do you think?

A rustic sign at the main entrance

What greeted us on our room door – we had informed them that it was our wedding anniversary.

I loved the colour scheme of the room and the copious amount of teak wood used (or at least a teak wood looking material). There were also clever touches like hidden LAN points and bendable lamps. Pardon the room model in the photo!

Though we only got the most basic room (deluxe superior king), it comes with a small living room area which I thought makes it instantly more luxurious.

Since it’s a tea themed hotel in Hangzhou, the room came with what else but complimentary Long Jing tea leaves and spring water from the famous Tiger Hill Spring to brew tea with (apparently that’s where the legendary monk Ji Gong was buried at).

Pretty celadon gongfu tea set

Brewing myself a cup of tea one morning and acting all zen about it (since we’re in Hangzhou).

Even the bathroom was a delight; I loved the tiles, the quaint wash basin area and the HUGE circular bathtub.

I’m not sure if it’s because of the off-peak season, but our hotel room also came with complimentary stuff such as one “cocktail of the day” (worth 58 RMB) and one hand paraffin treatment (worth 138 RMB) to be enjoyed at the hotel bar and Thai-themed spa respectively. What was also really cute was that they actually printed a “namecard” for me with their masthead and location so that I could show it to taxis!

In addition to the free hand treatment at T Spa, we also got ourselves a “Valentine’s Day” spa package for 2 (1314 RMB++) which was on a great offer (half price till end of Feb). It was pretty up there in terms of spa experiences in China, which are IMO generally quite disappointing. It consisted of a 30min herbal soak, 10 min foot soak, 45 min Thai herbal wrap, 40 mins coconut oil head massage and a 60min aromatherapy body massage. The honeydew cream used for the herbal wrap and the coconut oil smelt so DIVINE! Needless to say I fell asleep during the treatment :)

Sitting area in my spa room (we had separate ones)

My foot soak

A claw foot bathtub which I didn’t get to use

Main area of the spa where I received my hand treatment

Lemongrass tea served before the treatments

Black glutinous rice porridge served after the spa treatment – comforting and delish!

Since it was freezing cold in Hangzhou, we spent a lot of our time indoors including both nights chilling at MINT Lounge & Cocktails (which though normally empty, morphs into a happening salsa bar on Saturday night packed with very competent salsa-dancing locals). The cocktails there were actually pretty decent for China. A particularly memorable one was a weirdly named 乐G made of vodka, ginger, apple juice and lemon juice. Nothing too sophisticated but it worked and I just needed that spicy gingery kick for a winter’s night! :)

Complimentary tequila sunrise which was decent too – reminded me of my early clubbing days

The unique looking reception counter and friendly manager who could speak English

The hotel also houses a very popular Hangzhou restaurant Tianlun Inn 天伦里 that we didn’t eat at since we only heard someone recommend it after we got back. Location was a short cab ride away to Xi Hu 西湖 but walking distance to a few good restaurants and a huge Walmart. My only minor complaints were that it was hard to get cabs from the hotel (although it could just be a Hangzhou problem) and there was a private cab driver who was touting in the lobby which I thought was quite annoying. Though not super luxurious, my experience in Tea Boutique Hotel far exceeded my expectations for the price we paid and I would love to come back again! Highly recommended if you’re looking for a chic place to stay in Hangzhou on a mid-sized budget.

Location: 124 Shuguang Road, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, 310007, China   
Tel:+86 571 8799 9888

Shanghai: The Langham Xintiandi Hotel

28 Nov

We had the chance to stay at The Langham, Xintiandi on our recent trip to Shanghai. While I won’t normally post on hotels, The Langham was too good to not write about. It’s all a 5 star hotel should be, but with amazing service, Alice In Wonderland-ish decor and finesse that makes it stand out from the other 5 star business hotels. Unfortunately, we only stayed here for one night due to budget but I’d love to come back again as I think it’s worth the price! I’ll let pictures do the talking…

The signature cherubs that were all over the hotel

The Langham logo on the columns in the lobby

Colourful cherubs on the feature wall outside the lift

Our very very comfy bed, sheets were super soft too.

Loved the round glass table that could sit two (one chair is hidden). Something different from the usual hotel desks!

Complimentary VOSS sparkling and still water, chocolates and fruit platter because they were still undergoing renovations and there may be disturbances. In addition to that, they also threw in generous laundry and minibar credits! I did get disturbed in the morning but since they already preempted me and threw in all these freebies, I wasn’t bothered.

NESPRESSO machine. ‘Nuff said.

Fancy room control panel. I love to open the curtains and drapes in the morning without getting out of bed! Good morning world!

View of Xintiandi from our room. The hordes of tourists looked like the Sims! And the hotel was so convenient, it was literally like 20 steps to Xintiandi’s Starbucks.

Ahh…the comforts of TOTO bidet. I shall spare you the details, but if you haven’t tried it, please do!!

Chuan Spa toiletries. I don’t know what exact scent it was, but it smelt damn good!! I almost wanted to visit the spa because of that. And the soap was black which had charcoal in it. Cool!

Rain shower (the squarish thing on the top), shower head and bath tub all in one huge bath area.

Huge mirror and two sinks!! LOVE. No more taking turns to get ready!

During turn down service, they actually put this weather forecast for the next day in our room, as well as prepared a cup of chamomile tea. I thought both were lovely touches!

Even the stationery box was so lovely and in theme!

A copy of Alice In Wonderland, an edition specially produced for Langham hotels.

His and Hers bathroom slippers! This is amazingly thoughtful.

Like the cherub, I’m wistfully thinking about (my next stay)…