China Hotels: Haute Hangzhou

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Above: Banyan Tree Hangzhou

Marco Polo is said to have called Hangzhou the “City of Heaven”; now with these two resorts on the outskirts of town, the onetime imperial capital is more paradisiacal than ever. Located in Xixi National Wetland Park, the Banyan Tree Hangzhou (86-571/ 8586-0000; banyantree.com; doubles from US$368) comprises 72 Tang-style villas overlooking fishponds, reedbeds, and gardens of persimmon, mulberry, and willow. The property offers a taste of the city’s culinary history in dishes like tea-smoked duck, scented with longjing leaves picked from nearby fields. Amanfayun (86-571/8732-9999; amanresorts.com; doubles from US$333), meanwhile, occupies an old tea planters’ village, with 47 stone courtyard dwellings in a valley dotted with pagodas and groves of bamboo. Don’t miss out on an early-morning tour to nearby Lingyin Si, or “Soul’s Retreat,” one of China’s most revered Buddhist temples. –PETRINA PRICE

Originally appeared in the February/March 2010 print issue of DestinAsian magazine ( “Haute Hangzhou”)

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