Understated Elegance

By Victoria Lim

Explore the luxe features of The Chedi Ninghai, which is inspired by the gorgeous landscape of mountain and lakes.

An alternative term for a Buddhist stupa (a prayer hall) is chedi refers to a place of meditation, naturally evoking a peace . The word is mainly used in Thailand and typically of mind. This same serenity is what you get with a stay at The Chedi Ninghai, which opened its doors six months ago in Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province.

The Chedi Ninghai is the first hotel partnership between General Hotel Management Limited and The Chedi Hotels and Resorts. The luxury property provides a tranquil and relaxing environment where guests can enjoy its gorgeous backdrop of mountains and lakes. “The Chedi Ninghai stays within the wealthy Jiangnan area and redefines luxury,” shares Huang Quan, design director of G-Art Design and the man responsible for the hotel’s exquisite interiors. “By melding contemporary interpretation of Asian designs with distinctive local touches such as the use of bamboo, we have created an inspiring and memorable experience for even the most discerning of travellers,” he adds.


A three-and-a-half-hour drive by car or a two-and-a-half-hour train journey from Shanghai leads you to The Chedi Ninghai, which is nestled among the mountains and forests in east of Zhejiang. Located near the magnificent Ningbo Wushan Grottoes, the resort houses 100 villas (each with a spacious terrace) scattered throughout the mountains and enveloped by springs and brooks. Each villa is swathed in a natural hued palette to complement the materials used. The interiors are decked in wood, stone and bamboo, flooded with natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a view of the mesmerising forest landscape, and decorated with Asian latticed screens and lamps. Natural hot spring water is piped into the bathtub. The Lake View Villa, in particular, boasts uninterrupted views of the lake and bamboo forest, creating a perfect living-innature ambience.

“By building a symbiotic relationship between the hotel and local culture, Chedi Ninghai is able to provide every traveller with a sense of Mother Nature without leaving the comforts of their room,” shares Huang.

The Lobby is the most architecturally impressive structure in the hotel. Featuring furniture crafted from nanmu wood – characteristic of Ming Dynasty interiors – the lobby is a modern recreation of the ‘scholars’ studios’ of China’s 17th century literati. Guests enjoy activities such as calligraphy workshops, music, painting, tea and incense ceremonies, and Kunqu opera performances. The highlight of the room, however, is the galaxystyle chandelier, “we wanted to create a Milky-Way like feel. If you stand directly above the chandelier, you can see the light disperse just like a meteor wandering across the sky,” shares Huang.

One of the largest in the Chedi collection, the hotel spa is set around a picturesque central courtyard. The complex houses eight treatment rooms, two double spa suites, a plunge pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and two swimming pools (one indoor and one infinity pool). There is also a yoga and Pilates studio with three walls of floor-toceiling glass offering tranquil views of a lake and forest gardens. The resort boasts five restaurants and bar, but the one that stands out most is their all-day dining restaurant. Paying tribute to Ninghai, which means peaceful ocean, The Restaurant serves a wide array of scrumptious Chinese seafood dishes, such as Sautéed Diced Abalone with Black Pepper and Garlic.


If you love riding, you will be in for a treat. The Chedi Ninghai also runs an equestrian center in collaboration with the American Quarter Horse Association, where professional coaches and welltrained horses are available for hire to both adults and kids. Recognised by the Beijing Turf & Equestrian Association, the center offers weekend lessons and seasonal camps. There are also classes on pottery, painting, bamboo plaiting, yoga and tai-chi in the forest, table football, pool and ping-pong in the recreation room, ocean ball pool in the kids club, and many other outdoor activities on the 1,500 sq m lawn. With amazing natural beauty and a slew of activities offered at The Chedi Ninghai, you’ll be hard pressed to find any serious flaw in this idyllic haven.

Gourmet Traveller