Amanfayun, near Hangzhou

You could not experience a more definitive picture of China from a hand painted porcelain plate from the Ming dynasty.

The Amanfayun, near Hangzhou, is China as it was - and China as it still is - away from its fast-growing, rapid-paced, industrialised towns and cities. You can expect to be cocooned in two imperious, 19th century courtyard houses that offer a centre of serenity, luxury and authenticity. A Tea House gives you an insight into the past with its traditional tea service. The restaurant serves simple (but exquisite) regional specialities, tucked away in a grove of evergreens. The spa uses ancient Asian healing techniques to help you forget the modern world.

Amanfayun, at a glance

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Village setting just 20 minutes from Hangzhou
  • Surrounded by tea plantations, natural forests and bamboo groves
  • 42 individual rooms, suites and villas
  • Many feature courtyards with outdoor dining
  • Choice of two restaurants and Tea House

For leisure and pleasure

  • Explore seven local Buddhist temples and monasteries, wetlands and botanical gardens
  • Visit West Lake with its pagodas, bridges and surrounding hills in an unrivalled photo opportunity
  • Tours to local festivals and celebrations in season
  • Visit the Tea Museum
  • Peaceful spa and sanctuary
  • Heated swimming pool
  • It was a complicated and very individual trip, and several changes were made by me during the planning. None of this seemed to worry Ayesha and everything went according to plan.

    AM, India, 2014