The Entry to The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
A distinctively different luxury hotel in Chengdu, The Temple House celebrates a city with a rich and fabled past and extremely exciting future with its beautiful blend of traditional and modern design.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

The Entry to The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

The Entry to The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Art Gallery at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Named after the nearby Daci Temple, The Temple House honours the historic buildings of Chengdu with a remarkable restored Qing dynasty courtyard that inspired the hotel’s contemporary design. The hotel’s collection of contemporary art changes on a quarterly basis. Inspiring pieces and specially-commissioned artwork are found in the dedicated gallery and throughout the public spaces.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

The Guest Library at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

The Guest Library at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
The Temple House guest library, located in one of the wings of the Qing dynasty courtyard temple, is a personal favourite. Here, the old and the new mix so effortlessly, while a brilliant selection of beautiful design books (curated by Philip Blackwell) gives one even more reason to linger in this magical space.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceThe Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

The hotel embraces a typical Siheyuan ‘courtyard house’ design, with a sequence of courtyard gardens bordered by two L-plan medium rise buildings – one housing 100 hotel rooms, and the other 42 serviced apartments. A beautifully-restored Qing Dynasty heritage building, at the corner of the site, is the anchor and entrance point for the hotel.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo by Nick Hughes | YellowtraceThe Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Designed with respect for the site’s history and local culture and artistry, guests reach the hotel’s core facilities by travelling through the heritage building’s internal two-storey high courtyard into a reception area. To enter the main hotel, guests pass down a grand staircase to the landscaped courtyard. Located here is an array of restaurants, cafes, and other general facilities.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Guest Swimming Pool at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo by Nick Hughes | YellowtraceGuest Swimming Pool at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

A series of sculptural skylights feature throughout the underground communal spaces, such as the function rooms, the gym and the swimming pool.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

I have a confession to make. The day before Nick and I were invited to take a trip to China for the opening of the magnificent , the third luxury hotel in the House Collective brought to life by the inimitable , I had no idea where or what Chengdu was. Imagine my shock when I discovered that this city has the population of 14 million (!!), and is the capital of the Sichuan province, and one of the 4 major cities in China alongside Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. And I, supposedly a reasonably well informed and a “well travelled” individual, had never even heard of it. I feel utterly ashamed to admit this, but I feel it’s important to level with you on this as it sets the tone for our trip which was all about the sense of wonder, new learnings and constant discovery. In fact, I knew very little about China in general before taking this trip, and I still know so very little about it. What I do know, however, is that China is nothing like what I expected it to be. But let’s start at the beginning.

 

Hotel Room at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Hotel Room at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Hotel Room at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceDressing Room at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

The Temple House comprises three categories of studios, five varieties of suites and one penthouse. Room sizes start from 63 sqm. Studio 90, the Deluxe Temple Suite and the Penthouse also include balconies. Shown here is the Studio 70 – the room in which we stayed.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Hotel Room Corridor at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Apartments Reception at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceHotel Room Lifts at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
View From the Apartments at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceView from Apartments Corridor at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

 

Husband and I were very fortunate to be invited on a 5-star week-long tour of the Swire-owned establishments forming  in early September, in honour of the recent launch of  Chengdu. Strategically located in one of China’s most significant financial and economic hubs, The Temple House is part of the Chengdu’s Daci Temple Cultural and Commercial Complex comprising six historic buildings.

The countryside around Chengdu in southern China is famed for being home to 80% of the world’s panda population, with more than 100 of them residing in the rolling parkland that constitute the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, located approximately 10km out of the city. Without a doubt, the pandas provide the principal reason anyone travels to Chengdu as a tourist. Ok, and maybe also the famous Sichuan food, arguably the most delicious and definitely the hottest of China’s many regional cuisines. The city is also known for it’s signature laid back nature, with an abundance of tea houses about, where locals take their socialising and leisure time seriously. This is of course only one side of the story as nowadays, Chengdu is considered an important commercial centre with more than half of the Fortune 500 companies and other multinationals having a strong presence in the city (think the likes of Apple, Sony, Toyota and Microsoft). The city is also located within easy access to Tibet and Nepal, providing further reason for a visit. Having said all this, if you are a hard-core design tragic such as myself, The Temple House Chengdu’s design credentials alone may well be enough to get you over there.

 

The Spa at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

The Spa at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceThe Spa at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Set within a former monastery built over 100 years ago, Mi Xun Spa contrasts a modern design within a historic setting. Positioned between Chengdu’s new retail hub and The Temple House, Mi Xun is an urban oasis for guests to unwind, relax and indulge in premium wellness experiences.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

The Spa at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceThe Spa at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Mi Xun offers a range of high-performance, results-driven treatments using quality spa brands such as Natura Bissé, Mesoestic, Thémaé and Refinery. The spa includes a retail outlet, Gentlemen’s barber shop and 11 treatment rooms.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

MI XUN Teahouse at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

MI XUN Teahouse at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceMI XUN Teahouse at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Mi Xun Teahouse offers a selection of teas to complement the spa treatments. Consistent with Chinese traditions, the teas are chosen to enhance and support the individual treatments. An all-day menu features light, freshly-prepared dishes using organic ingredients wherever possible.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

The Temple Café at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

The Temple Café at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Designed by , The Temple Café is an all-day dining restaurant offering breakfast, lunch, dinner and light snacks in bright and vibrant surroundings.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

The Temple Café at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceThe Temple Café at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
The Temple Café at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceThe Temple Café at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

The Temple Café combines two components: dining in and take-away retail counter.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Tivano Restaurant at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Tivano Restaurant at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Tivano Restaurant at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceTivano Restaurant at The Temple House Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

The Temple House’s signature Italian restaurant Tivano features an open kitchen and a cosy bar designed to serve as a meeting point. Tivano also features 2 private dining spaces. The bar welcomes guests with its dramatic entrance and intimate table groupings. The interior of the restaurant was designed by .
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

To give you a bit of a back story, the first of Swire’s House Collective hotels, , opened in Beijing just in time for the 2008 Olympics. This extraordinary green glass box designed by , with a six-storey atrium and a theatrical 20m swimming pool lined in stainless steel adorned with a canopy of glimmering LED lights is a truly unique hotel that sets the tone for all the properties to follow.

In 2009, a second hotel opened in Hong Kong. Aptly named , the hotel sits on the top 13 storeys of a 1980s block that was formerly serviced apartments, towering above the iconic Pacific Place designed by . The luxurious hotel interior is the work of the then largely unknown architect , who was barely 30 when he won the commission. The Upper House set the benchmark for ground breaking technology and unparalleled commitment to luxury interiors and memorable customer service.

At The Temple House, which has been designed by , the UK practice founded by Ken Shuttleworth, formerly of Foster & Partners, the new hotel creates a distinctive facility for the city, offering boutique hotel services, extensive public spaces and a striking landscape design which forms a new focal point within the Chengdu cityscape.

 

Taikoo Li Development Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu is a 250,000 sqm mixed-use development located in the heart of Jinjiang District, south of Dacisi Road, east of Shamao Street and close to the popular Chunxi Road shopping area. Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu embraces the historic Daci Temple and takes pride in the reinvigoration of surrounding heritage buildings. Welcoming lanes, courtyards, plazas with architecture inspired by traditional and modern streets in the east and west make it unique in Chengdu. Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu won the Silver Award for Best Urban Regeneration Project in MIPIM Asia Awards 2012.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Daci Temple Community Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceDaci Temple Community Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Taikoo Li Development Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Taikoo Li Development Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceTaikoo Li Development Chengdu China, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

One of the interesting establishments within Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li development is the Upper Gallery – a design restaurant, tea house, furniture showroom and monster cool whisky bar shown above. Incredible!
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

A sensitive response to the local context was needed due to the close proximity of the site to several historic buildings. Make Architects’ design introduces specific features and materials that complement these important structures and reference the unique architectural styles and traditions of the Sichuan region. These themes are subtly incorporated throughout all elements of the scheme, from the exterior through to the landscape and the interiors – Just to give one example, the new buildings are faced in perforated brickwork and “woven” with bronze detailing reminiscent of the sumptuous Shu brocade and embroidery for which Chengdu is celebrated.

Offering a contemporary interpretation of traditional Chinese design, the hotel embraces a typical courtyard house configuration. The development comprises two L-shaped towers which read as separate halves of a whole; containing approximately 100 rooms and 42 apartments, the buildings have different heights and functions – the taller of the two contains the hotel, while the smaller building houses serviced apartments. A Qing Dynasty heritage building dating back to the 17thC, located at the corner of the site, has been retained and beautifully restored to form a unique entrance lobby that houses the guest library and art gallery that changes it’s programme every three months.

 

Chengdu Wide and Narrow Alleys, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
The wide and narrow alleys (Kuai Zhai Xiangzi) are two ancient streets featuring old architecture in Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) styles in Chengdu. The wide and narrow alleys, along with Daci Monastery and Wenshu Monastery, consist of three famous historical relics in Chengdu. Here you will find a series of restaurants, traditional teahouses, local street food (beware whole fried rabbits heads – oh dear!), boutique hotels and Spas. Oh, and the completely hilarious Sichuan Opera, of course.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Sichuan Opera, Chengdu Wide and Narrow Alleys, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceChengdu Wide and Narrow Alleys, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Chengdu Wide and Narrow Alleys, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceChengdu Wide and Narrow Alleys, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is a non-profit research and breeding facility for giant pandas and other rare animals. Although incredibly touristy, this place is a must visit when in Chengdu – I never knew pandas were so damn cute until I saw them in real life. Get there early to avoid the crowds.
Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Photo © Nick Hughes | YellowtraceChengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Photo © Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

 

Ok, so we all know this place is absolutely beautiful and the design rocks pretty hard, but it’s also the staff and the service at The Temple House that are truly exemplary. I don’t recall ever receiving so many thoughtful and genuinely personal hand-written notes like we had during our stay at The Temple House. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I really could go on and on about our experience at this very special place, but I think by now you get the idea. I can safely say that I would happily book myself to go back there in a heartbeat. Want to come with?


 

Rooms at  start from RMB1,799 (approx $400AUD). Cathay Pacific & Dragonair fly to Chengdu several times each week – for flights information visit . 

Tourismandhotels were guests of The Temple House during our trip to Chengdu. All related thoughts, ideas and text in this post reflect our genuine opinion.

 


[All images © Nick Hughes / Yellowtrace.]

 



About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

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