Sail in style in the Love Boat at Banyan Tree.
Hangzhou is one of China’s fastest-growing economic hubs. It’s also the country’s most poetic city thanks to the breath-taking West Lake. Ancient poets praised the beauty of the 6.5-square-kilometre lake situated in the centre of the city like a piece of smooth jade.
To best appreciate the beauty of the UNESCO heritage site, hire a canoe from West Lake Pier and set offshore. View the bridges, pagodas and the surrounding mountains from the centre of the lake while drinking Dragon Well tea – a premier green tea planted in suburban Hangzhou. Local boatmen are experts in finding hidden romantic pockets so after a few tight squeezes through intricate inner channels, you may be drifting in what seems to be the quietest corner of urban China.
For a pre-planned luxury itinerary, look up the Romance Concierge at Banyan Tree Hangzhou who can arrange a variety of soul-soothing activities at China’s only urban wetland Xixi, where the charming resort is located. The spa programmes are a must-try. Alternatively, hop on the resort’s traditional wooden Love Boat for a private dinner on the Xixi waterways.
Shanghai Hongqiao Airport (ICAO: ZSSS) is around 170 kilometres northeast of Hangzhou. There is a bullet train running between Hongqiao Train Station and Hangzhou Eastern Station, which takes just one hour.
Banyan Tree Hangzhou, 2 Westbrook Resort, Zijingang Road, Hangzhou, China; tel: +86 571 8586 0000; www.banyantree.com