Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A New Dynasty of Great Design

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A New Dynasty of Great Design

Article excerpt


HOTEL REVIEW THE TEMPLE HOUSE Chengdu, China LOCALS joke that Chengdu is famous for its tea houses and its mahjong, proud that while Beijing bustles and Shanghai shimmers, their home town has a noticeably gentler pace of life.

Sichuan's capital has long been a base for heading out to see giant pandas China's national treasure but there is much more to it than that. Narrow alleys swirl with the smoke of street-food stalls, lotuses dot the ponds of leafy parks and anxious parents visit match-makers to negotiate marital minefields and avoid astronomical misalignments.

But whether you're looking to meet a panda or a potential love interest, Chengdu now has the added draw of a real stand-out place to stay. Swire Group's Temple House has breathed new life into ancient heritage, bringing cutting-edge design to a city not known for it.

We arrived late after a Chinese opera performance and were shown to our room, with its dark wood lattice-work, yak wool throws and a sponge bag bursting with Appelles Apothecary lotions.

Kylie, the member of staff who'd brought us up, drew my attention to a framed photo on the desk. There behind the theatre paint were my two youngest children, who had been dragged backstage and given a makeover just hours before. Quite how Temple House had managed to get the image delivered, framed and on my desk, I never discovered but that's the kind of hotel it is. Designed by English firm Make Architects, the hotel incorporates several carefully restored heritage buildings next to Daci Temple (hence the name). One of the most revered Buddhist sites in the city, it has housed monks since its founding several thousand years ago.

The hotel's main entrance is a restored Qing dynasty building. Long grass and trees flanked by a gallery and library border the path to the lobby. …

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