The Alila hotel brand is among the leaders in the way they find their unique locations for properties. We visited the young Alila Anji, only 4 hours drive away from Shanghai. After a frantic China trip involving thousands of kilometres of trains, planes and automobiles, we needed a place where we could find our zen and reset the system. Who thought you could get such retreats in China? We discovered this side of China we’ve never seen before and looking forward to show you more and more of the wellness industry that can be found in the large country of China.
Where is Alila Anji located?
The Alila Anji in Zhejiang is about an hour from Hangzhou railway station and an hour and a half from Hangzhou International Airport. Mostly, guests that own a car likes to drive four hours from Shanghai. As visitors, we can also book a car to get directly from the city or take the train to Hangzhou followed by a shorter drive, if you don’t fancy spending too much time in a car. The hotel offers transfers from all local major area like airports and train stations and can be easily arranged.
Located in the middle of bamboo forests, it is nicely perched next to a massive lake and is actually quite high in altitude at 1600m. The Anji county is a pilot area for ecological sustainability and the hotel has been built accordingly. If you are looking for greenery in your city getaway, you have certainly found it here.
Getting around Alila Anji
As the focus of the Alila property is about being in nature, your options for mobility are fairly limited. The hotel offers bicycles to get around the property as an active activity to do and have electric powered buggies to get you from A to B around the resort itself. Most of the guests are from the region surrounding and have driven their cars here.
Facilities at Alila Anji
Like other Alila properties, you know they will have everything you need to make you comfortable and have a panoply of activities to keep you busy. All rooms have WiFi (something that doesn’t always happen in China). They have a fitness area that has all basic equipment and even a Chess and Mah-jong Room for all those who wants to exercise their brains. The hotel also offers Tai Chi class (check schedule) for all hotel guest in the morning overlooking the lake. We took one of the classes with the Tai Chi master. He showed us all the moves and it is actually so much harder than one would imagine.
Alila also have a spa that we got to try out to get rid of some of our aches and pains. With all our travel we have become super sore so we needed a Balinese one hour massage. The ladies at the treatment worked out the knots and kept us in comfort in our couples room. It was actually a room of three as they host many ladies that love to have a ladies weekend and they happen to be often in threes! We thought that was quite funny and cute.
The next morning, we attended a yoga session that ended up being quite advanced, I felt very stretch out for the whole week after. Absolutely love being at hotels that offer daily activities like this.
Activities at Alila Anji
There are several activities that are just outside the property and the hotel can provide transport to them. The Anji grand bamboo forest hour drive away and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon movie set are all accessible. There is also White water rafting that the hotel can organize for you if you are more of a thrill seeker.
On the property, there is White Tea picking and Cocktail making for you to try as well.
They group their lifestyle activities 5 themes of their lifestyle: Cultural learning, Conscious living, Active spirits, Culinary arts and Couple celebrations
We went and did some hiking (they have trails you can do by yourself) followed by archery. Thuymi and I always have active battles on who can win and going to places like this with many things to do, makes our relationship even more exciting.
Rooms at Alila Anji
Our room was a Lake View Villa which included a massive bed, an outdoor patio and a bath to relax your woes away. The room also has a giant living area where you can watch TV, eat at the dining table and get some reading done. There is nearly too much space for just a couple. The room is designed to be open with large open windows facing the lake and breeze able to come in through the warmer months.
To check out some of the best prices for the rooms here check out Alila’s Website, Booking.com or Agoda.
Dining at Alila Anji
As we rolled in we were yet to have breakfast so we ordered lunch at Hidden Dragon, a local cuisine restaurant, and one of the two restaurants at the hotel. We had several courses including fried chicken, marble beef with chestnut, grilled octopus and dumpling soup. Thuymi loves to try different dishes so decided to try chicken tongue … I know, it sounds odd but it was absolutely delicious! This is something special about travelling, trying food from different places and try new culinary experiences.
When you stay at Alila Anji, you must try their Afternoon Tea experience. a treasure chest will arrive at your table and is opened up in front of your very eyes. When it opens, a large variety of international and local desserts. It was a great way to relax with each other over some local White Tea and views of the mountains
Alila Anji always tries to impress guests with different activities, but also new culinary experiences. When we were there, they had Le Petit Chef, which we were lucky to have been introduced to the concept in Dubai. It is an interactive concept where a video is being played and takes you through a culinary journey as different dishes are delivered to your table. Compared to the Dubai experience, the food for the Le Petit Experience at Alila Anji was so incredible and was exceptionally high. We wanted double portions for everything that was served, especially the marbled beef dish.
Our breakfasts, held at Lakeview restaurant has a combination of Asian and Western delicacies. They had all different types of noodle, dim sums and dumplings. Their pastries are exceptional and make sure you try Cream Rolls.
On our last night, we had a beautiful dinner organized by the staff to celebrate the end of our major road trip around the world. Alila’s team is always looking for events to celebrate for their guests. The’ve had many honeymooners, babymoons, proposals and weddings too! They served us a set menu of local dishes in a private room with flowers everywhere. We felt so special and grateful to be there.
Sustainability at Alila Anji
The Alila Anji area is the first ecological county in china, making a conscientious effort to preserve environment. They are also “developing pollution free produce, including bamboo shoots and health promoting white tea.” There are no other commercial hotels around the lake and absolutely no activities can be conducted on the lake to preserve it.
Our experience at Alila Anji
China is full of surprises. The stunning beauty and nature of Alila Anji is one of those surprises you do not expect from China. Located only 3-4 hours away from Shanghai (as well as Suzhou and Hangzhou) makes it super easy to access. Location is everything with Alila properties, so they have done a great job finding such a minimalistic place with peace and quiet combined. Bamboo, trees and lakes? Also TONS of chestnuts! So hard to find in China, but here it is all in one place. We really enjoyed this place and recommend it highly to all the expats living in Shanghai and in the surroundings. At the moment, more locals go there and it’s about time we take over this wonderful place!
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