The Luxe List 2014: The Temple Hotel, Beijing, China
It was on a cycling jaunt through Beijing’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 site’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 scholars’ chairs positioned next to side tables from Hermès- backed Chinese brand Shang Xia. There is art throughout—the gallery-worthy collection includes Gathered Sky, James Turrell’s only installation in China—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