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Four Seasons Hotel, Hangzhou at West Lake, Hangzhou 

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China, Asia
5 Lingyin Road
China 310013
Tel: 86 571 8829 8888
Fax: 86 571 8829 2298
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From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
A 90-minute bullet train ride from Shanghai, the Four Seasons is enviably situated right on Hangzhou's West Lake, a spot that has inspired painters and poets for centuries. Winding pathways meander through the 17 acres of landscaped gardens and interconnected lily ponds, making the resort feel like a Zen retreat in a town that is normally rather chaotic. There are only 78 rooms and, though they lack a specifically Chinese sense of place (unlike the common areas and grounds), they're spacious and comfy, with walk-in closets. Staff are very friendly and give plenty of individual attention (one of the concierges, Robert Huang, is an English-speaking gem in a mostly Chinese-speaking city). On-site distractions include an excellent spa, two pools (the indoor one has pavilion-style niches perfect for tête-à-têtes), and two restaurants, including Jin Sha, which specializes in Shanghainese and regional cuisine. Excursions include tours around the lake on traditional wooden boats—the Chinese answer to the gondola—complete with a picnic lunch arranged by the hotel.—2011 Hot List

Which room to book: No. 206 has a lovely view of the gardens and lake—or ask for one of the lakeside units.

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