Top Travel News from China

Chongqing, China
Chongqing, China // Photo by SeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

 These days, the Far East doesn't seem quite so far away, and with more and more familiar luxury brands opening on a daily basis, a quick jaunt to China doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility. Here's what's brewing on the other side of the world:

Anantara is ready to make another entrance into China with the opening of Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort & Spa. The 103-key resort, slated to debut in the Yunnan Province, will have 80 Deluxe guest rooms, as well as 23 one-, two- and three-bedroom Pool Villas. Other facilities include a selection of dining options, an Anantara Spa, an outdoor swimming pool, a kids club and more. Dining options will include an all-day dining restaurant, accompanied by a lobby lounge bar and the poolside bar and snack zone. There will also be an Indo Chine specialty restaurant. 

Shangri-La Hotels has welcomed its 35th hotel in mainland China with the debut of Shangri-La Hotel, Yangzhou in Jiangsu Province. We love it because: The 369-room hotel overlooks the Mingyue Lake and has its own garden with pavilions, pagodas and koi ponds. The hotel is also decked out with a Horizon Club floor, complimentary wi-fi throughout the hotel and a slew of dining establishments. At Cafe Xiu, guests will enjoy five interactive cooking stations. The signature Shang Palace offers authentic Cantonese and Huaiyang selections. Be sure to visit the Health Club, which has an 82-foot indoor pool, gym, tennis court and massage rooms.

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Whisky lovers traveling to Beijing won’t want to miss the Johnnie Walker House, a new club that parent company Diageo Asia Pacific describes as “the world’s largest embassy for luxury Scotch whiskey outside of Scotland.” Located at Ch’ien Men 23 in the Dongcheng district, the Johnnie Walker House is a bar-cum-gallery-cum-club dedicated to the world of luxury whisky and Scottish culture. Hence the space itself recreates John Walker’s original grocery shop and a real distillery. Guests can sip some of the brand’s finest, rarest whiskies; and they can even enlist the master blender, Jim Beveridge, to create their own personalized blend. The Johnnie Walker House in Beijing is the second such club in China, after the popular Shanghai location. VIP members get access to private, members-only vaults and private, whisky-inspired dining. Open Tuesday through Sundays. 

For those of you that have not heard of Sanya, we say it is time to listen up. Sanya, which is quickly gaining reputation as the Chinese Riviera, is a destination on the southern coast of China, home to a host of luxury hotels (think Banyan Tree, St. Regis and Kempinski), and we hear it is ready to welcome one more. Kerzner International Holdings Ltd. (of Atlantis fame) is set set to open a Chinese destination resort in Sanya. The One&Only Sanya Resort will open in early 2014. We hear the resort will have approximately 120 guest rooms. This will be the eighth One&Only resort worldwide.

Calling all spa enthusiasts: Here is another reason to visit Shanghai. We hear Banyan Tree Spa has opened the Banyan Tree Spa Shanghai On The Bund. The three-story spa has 11 treatment rooms including two Imperial Rooms with a Rainmist facility or Thai massage area. The spa is also outfitted with a beauty salon, nail bar and Banyan Tree Gallery. The menu is made up of Banyan Indulgences, featuring holistic signature treatments for total renewal (think the 150-minute Banyan Hot Stones treatment that uses warm Clarity Oil and a Rose Body Scrub). The Spa also presents a selection of therapies reflecting the five elements: Gold for purifying, Wood for renewal, Water for relaxing, Fire for revitalizer and Earth for balance.

Need a great steak in Beijing? We've got the scoop on where to find it. We hear iconic Morton's of Chicago has made a home for itself in the Regent Beijing. The 500-room luxury hotel has opened a 220-seat Morton's restaurant with eight private dining suites, which can play host to corporate meetings or family celebrations. We love the private lounge room and open display kitchen. Regent Beijing is located on Jinbao Street near the Forbidden City.

Looking for luxury in Shanghai? Close your eyes and count to Twelve. We hear Twelve at Hengshan, a Luxury Collection Hotel has opened on Hengshan Road. The 171-room hotel's crowning room is the 1,108-square-foot Presidential Suite, with large marble bathrooms, deep soaking tubs and high-tech amenities. The hotel also has a spa with 13 double treatment rooms and an exclusive VIP suite, which gives guests access to a mud bath room, scrub table and ice fountain. There are two signature restaurants and a lobby lounge, including 12 Hengshan, which serves up Cantonese and Shanghainese cuisine, and Tops & Terrace, which serves international cuisine in a French boulangerie setting.

For business travelers to Beijing, there’s a swank new business hotel that brings high design and lifestyle-centric facilities to the scene. Opened in September 2012, the Beijing East Hotel is the brainchild of the team behind The Opposite House Beijing and the Upper House Hong Kong, two of the most talked-about hotels in China. The Beijing East is a “business hotel with a life”- so you’ll find all the latest technology, and check-in takes place on a MacBook, but you’ll also appreciate luxurious amenities designed for relaxation: a fitness center, heated indoor pool, a contemporary art collection, stylish restaurants, including Xian for live music, eats and libations. The Beijing East Hotel is part of the INDIGO development in the Jiangtai area, close to Wangjing Business Park. 

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