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My Route du Bonheur

Through China’s treasures

Charles Liu
By Charles Liu, Owner of Chaptel Hangzhou

Plan your personalized
itinerary with our concierge

+1 800 735 2478 * *Local charges apply
"I was born in the village of Zhuge Bagua, not far from Shanghai. My birthplace is the largest settlement for Zhuge Liang's descendants who have lived there for generations. The village was built according to the theory of the Eight Diagrams: Eight roads start from the center, and stretch out towards eight hills outside the town. The village was designated a national heritage in 1996. After leaving there to study Japanese, I went on to work for several years as a tourist guide in Hangzhou. Next, my travelling days began, firstly in China, and then all over the world. My encounters abroad spurred me to share the terrific gems of Zhejiang province. In February 2013, we finally opened Chaptel Hangzhou, a luxurious setting on the shores of a lake listed as a World Heritage site..."
Suggestion of itinerary
  • 4 hotels
  • from US$ 1,489.38 *
1
1 044 km
2
283 km
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To give you inspiration, Relais & Châteaux presents the Routes du Bonheur: suggestions for travel itineraries that you can fully personalise according to your wishes and the experiences you would like to discover. Our consultants are available to help customise your route and assist you in making reservations at our properties. It is up to you to reserve any recommended activities on-site or nearby that might interest you.
*Total price provided for information only, based on accommodation for two people in a double room for the number of nights per property as indicated on this page, exclusive of recommended activities, properties that cannot be reserved online and restaurants.


1 Beijing — 2 Nights
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant

JE Mansion

Beijing - China

Hotel and restaurant in town. Perfectly positioned in Beijing’s financial and trade centre, JE Mansion offers the very best of Chinese hospitality. Chinese culture permeates every detail, starting with the traditional architecture and precious artwork that adorns the building. Guest rooms are decorated in classical style, featuring carvings in wood, brick and stone, elements of calligraphy and a warm colour palette, while all modern comforts have been thought of. The restaurant serves delicacies inspired by China’s four main culinary traditions. An absolute rarity for central Beijing is the hotel’s sprawling 50,000 sq m lawn, ideal for grand events. ... Learn moreless

TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor
Key Services
17 rooms
(from) US$ 224.90
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Close to the property

Forbidden City, Beijing

Forbidden City, Beijing

I was lucky enough to be able to enter parts of the famous Forbidden City that are closed to the general public. A magical time. In the silent palaces, between the deserted courtyards and pavilions, all of China’s majestic history parades before you because, from the 15th century to the early 20th century, the successions of every Ming and Qing dynasty emperor took place here. Closing your eyes, you can almost see the last Emperor Pu Yi waving... 

Peking Roast Duck

Peking Roast Duck

Opened in Qianmen in 1864, the Quanjude restaurant is a real institution. For a century and a half, roasted duck has been made here according to the technique known as "hanging" inside an open oven. The ducks are inflated before being coated in oil, honey and soy sauce. American presidents, Chancellors and world stars have all paid a visit to try the famous poultry. The enjoyment of biting into the crispy grilled skin is like no other... 30 Qianmen St, Dongcheng, Beijing

On the route

The Great Wall

The Great Wall

I have walked the Great Wall so many times. There are two places close to Beijing that stand out: Mutianyu, a magical place that is easily reached by cable car. I love to come here in autumn when the trees take on the colour of fire all around the wall. You feel weightless above the fortified road. Further west, Badaling is a very impressive section where you can walk for hours along the steps which can be steeper than a rocky spur. You do wonder how men could have managed to build a fortification such as this.

1
1 044 km
2
283 km
2 Nanjing — 2 Nights
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant

Yihe Mansions

Nanjing - China

Hotel and restaurant in town. Simply cross the threshold of the Yihe Mansions and you will enter the Republic of China again, a time when the country’s leading people built their residences in the shade of the maple trees on Yihe Road in Nanjing, the capital of 10 dynasties. These private yellow-walled villas have been magnificently restored and now offer sophisticated, deeply historical accommodation with a spa, restaurants, clubs and suites. They are extremely spacious with soft light and greenery throughout; the décor is an elegant blend of traditional artefacts and contemporary objects, with fine woods and precious fabrics – a serene environment where you can truly appreciate the beauty of this culture. ... Learn moreless

TripAdvisor
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Key Services
29 rooms
(from) US$ 184.95
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Close to the property

The Ming Xiaoling tomb, Nankin

The Ming Xiaoling tomb, Nankin

Founder of the Ming dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang (1328-1398) is the only emperor not to be buried in Peking. Six centuries after his death, his mausoleum lies on the Zijin hill (Purple Mountain) and remains one of the most beautiful in China: a path lined with statues of lions, elephants, camels, horses and fantasy animals lead you to the tomb. The stone bestiary of this “Sacred Way” is supposed to fend off bad spirits.

Visit the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall

Visit the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall

Located near to Qinhuai River, the Memorial was created in 1985 to commemorate the atrocities committed by the Japanese soldiers against the Nanjing population at the time of its fall in December 1937. For several weeks, the inhabitants of the town were beaten, raped and killed. According to historians, there were several tens of thousands of victims. Photos, assorted items and human remains recall this very somber period for the city. Nevertheless, the Memorial offers a heartrending testimony deemed necessary to better understand the history of Nanjing. Every document has been translated into English.

Discover the Nanjing Museum

Discover the Nanjing Museum

Featuring approximately 400 000 items, this museum is one of China’s richest! A tiny fraction of this museum’s vast collection is exhibited on two levels: rare objects dating back from the Neolithic period to the first years of communism. People from all parts of China come to admire the colored porcelains of the 12th century alongside the the fabrics and bronzeware from the Shang and Zhou dynasties. Don’t miss the Treasure Hall or the section dedicated to jade where you can view a burial suit that comprises 2600 pieces of jade sewn together with silver thread…

1
1 044 km
2
283 km
3 Hangzhou — 2 Nights
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant

Chaptel Hangzhou

Hangzhou - China

Hotel and restaurant on a lake. Pagodas, pavilions and gardens cluster at the foot of the hills surrounding West Lake blend into the countryside itself. This special place has provided a source of inspiration to poets and artists since the Tang dynasty and is now listed as a Unesco World Heritage site. Chaptel Hotel is an oasis just off the West Lake, where you can experience the classic Hangzhou. This authentic Shikumen brick-built mansion has now recovered all its former glory: the decor of the main suites combines traditional Chinese furniture (including traditional wooden shutters) with Art Deco ornaments, such as rugs and lamps, from the period from which the building dates. ... Learn moreless

TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor
Key Services
23 rooms
(from) US$ 334.84
Choose Room
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant

杭州紫萱度假村

Hangzhou - China

Hotel and restaurant in town. Close to West Lake and the city’s main attractions, the hotel and villas are nestled amidst splendid gardens of trees and bamboo in Hangzhou. The atmosphere is peaceful with the elegant lines of the buildings reflecting in the ponds of water and the traditional decor of the spacious and bright rooms serving to please the eye. Your first delights are offered at the highly-rated restaurant Jie Xang Lou, which serves exquisite Chinese cuisine. But the best is yet to come. Building on the principles of Chinese medicine and aromatherapy, the spa offers exceptional treatments using flowers and plants. ... Learn moreless

TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor
Key Services
9 rooms
(from) US$ 577.05
Choose Room
Close to the property

The Bund, Shanghai

The Bund, Shanghai

The Bund is Shanghai's answer to the Champs-Elysées or 5th Avenue. This part of the city shows the mix of old and modern influences best. It comprises historic buildings in Romanesque, Gothic and many other styles which nowadays have been converted into banks, hotels and financial institutions. The entire city seems to gather along this artery that runs the length of the riverbanks. Depending on the time of day, you run into old ladies performing their very slow T'ai Chi moves, businessmen, groups of dancers or tourists. Come here for a stroll or to sit facing the city skyline. At night, the lights in the glass buildings are a show all of their own...

Dongtai Lu, Shanghai

Dongtai Lu, Shanghai

Known as antiques alley, the market on Dongtai Lu Road is where bargain hunters and lovers of Chinese furniture come to. It is opposite the pet market. You advance through the rows of plane trees that recall the former French presence in the neighbourhood. One stall after another sells vintage pieces and items. Amidst the cries of the Mahjong players, genuine antiques and copies of varying quality sit side by side. We sourced some of the furniture for our hotel from these amazing shops. It’s up to you to choose...

Longjing green tea

Longjing green tea

Zhejiang province is famous for providing some of the best teas in the world. On the weekend, Hangzhou's inhabitants usually head to the small tea villages to the west of the lake such as Meijiawu and Longjing. I try to get here once a month with family or friends. We have a meal together and try out different teas. The delicate flavours can be slightly sweet and smooth, such as the famous Long Jing, the "dragon's well." What more could you ask for?

Wu Hill, Hangzhou

Wu Hill, Hangzhou

I've been coming to do T'ai Chi on Wu Hill two to three times a week for more than ten years now. In the shadow of the majestic Chenghuang tower, there is a magnificent view over the lake. The exercises go on amidst the ancient gingko and camphor trees. This is an exceptional place to escape the everyday and practice this popular Chinese martial art. Hefang Street, one of Hangzhou’s most popular lies at the foot of the hill. There are lots of little stalls serving tasty dishes that are very good value. The Hu Qing Yu Tang - the exciting museum of Chinese herbal medicine - is located here too.

The West Lake, Hangzhou

The West Lake, Hangzhou

To the west of the city of Hangzhou, the West Lake was listed in 2011 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city's inhabitants and its many visitors go walking or cycling along the shores, while others take a boat ride. I often go there for a stroll. It's the perfect spot to sit down and drink some tea. In the evenings, there is a magnificent Sound & Light show by film-maker and director Zhang Yimou, entitled "Impression West Lake", which takes the dancers onto the water against a backdrop of the majestic surrounding mountains...

On the route

Suzhou's magical gardens

Suzhou's magical gardens

I come to Suzhou often. This city located about a hundred kilometres west of Shanghai was nicknamed "the Venice of China" by Marco Polo who counted some 6 000 bridges here! Famous for its canals, narrow streets, wooden houses and traditional gardens, Suzhou remains a unique place in China. Each garden is distinctive. My favourite one, Zhuozheng Yuan (the Humble Administrator's garden) dates back to the 16th century. It extends across almost 5 hectares amidst traditional pavilions, little bridges, bamboo groves and ponds where elegant, fragrant lotus blooms appear...

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Texts : © Guides Gallimard
Photos : ©dalbera