Need to know
35, including 34 suites.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. You can check out before 6pm for an extra cost (50 per cent of one night). Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from $638.40 (CNY4,100), excluding tax at 15 per cent.
Rates usually include breakfast (pick from Continental, American and à la carte). Little Smiths aged between 12 and six are charged around £17 daily for breakfast (free for under-6s).
How many hotels have a carefully preserved palace? This one does: Wenchang Palace occupies a traditional courtyard that dates back to 1725. If only we could all age this gracefully...
At the hotel
Grounds and gardens; a preserved palace set in an 18th-century courtyard; traditional teahouse; private cinema; library; Pilates studio; gym; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV, desk, minibar, Amphora Aromatics bath products.
Our favourite rooms
If, like us, you’re a sucker for a mountain-spying terrace, opt for one of the top-floor Deluxe Suites (some survey the new town, some survey the Old Town; make your preference known when you book).
Had one too many dumplings? Notch up some laps in the spa’s tranquil 20-metre heated pool.
The Chinese have been acing wellness for more than 2,500 years; experience Tao healing rituals for yourself at Amandayan’s whisper-quiet spa, where nimble-knuckled masseuses wield warm bamboo like an extension of their own skilled limbs. Treatments include cupping, scrubs and rubs with Aman’s essential oils; we also like the sound of the herbal compress massage, which uses prai root, ginger, turmeric and lemongrass in its anti-inflammatory compresses.
Bring an appetite for mushrooms: Shangri-La’s forests are famed for their funghi. Try matsutake: a truffle-rivalling ’shroom that’s charged at exorbitant prices in Tokyo restaurants. In fact, just come equipped with your culinary curiosity: local delicacies include glacier ice-water fish, fried cream fans, ba ba buns and more...
Amandayan has a well-stocked trophy cabinet, having nabbed a couple of industry awards in China, including ‘Best New Resort’ and ‘Best Boutique Hotel’.
Little Smiths can come too, but don’t expect bells and whistles for them. (They’ll love the private cinema, though.) Man Yi Xuan restaurant has a tot-tailored menu, plus on-loan highchairs. A sofa bed can be added to rooms (free for under-12s).