The Luxe List 2014:Â The Temple Hotel, Beijing, China
It was on a cycling jaunt through Beijingâ€™s hutong alleys that Belgian entrepreneur Juan van Wassenhove stumbled upon a decaying Qing-era temple complex. That was in 2005. Eight years of intensive work by van Wassenhove and his team have since restored the Zhizhusi Temple into an elegant eight-room inn so carefully renovated that it earned a UNESCO award for heritage conservation. Modern design now intermingles with nods to the siteâ€™s past, with rooms in the former monks quarters featuring polished concrete floors along with one-of-a-kind hand-carved wooden furniture. An elaborate opium bed takes center stage in the Peony room, while seating in the two-floor suites in an adjoining building comes in the form of crimson-lacquered scholarsâ€™ chairs positioned next to side tables from HermĂ¨s- backed Chinese brand Shang Xia. There is art throughoutâ€”the gallery-worthy collection includes Gathered Sky, James Turrellâ€™s only installation in Chinaâ€”while the adjacent Temple Restaurant has earned extensive praise for its European cuisine from former Maison Boulud chef Ignace Lecleir.
23 Shatan Beijie; 86-10/ 8401-5680 ext. 8000; The Temple Hotel; doubles from US$325