New for 2016, LUX* Resorts & Hotels have opened their second boutique hotel in China on the ancient Tea Horse Road. Inspired by one of the greatest journeys of all time, the LUX* Tea Horse Road Benzilan hotel has been designed to offer a once in a lifetime discovery experience. The chance for guests to experience one of the world’s most scenic routes complete with all modern luxuries, the exclusive boutique hotel maintains authentic and honors the historic setting and the Greater Shangri-La region’s traditions to form a unique place to stay.
Dating back thousands of years, the Tea Horse Road is an ancient trade route running through the Yunnan, Sichuan and Tibet provinces where traders would exchange tea for horses, salt or medicine. Transported by Mabang (caravans), to this day the 70cm-deep holes in the stone plates caused by the stamping of horses hooves can still be seen and the road is still marked with religious engravings and mottos. Positioned in the sun-drenched valley of Benzilan in the Yunnan province, it is located at the centre of what was once a strategic post along the tea trading route and forms the perfect base for travellers to explore the diverse area.
With design inspired by traditional Tibetan architecture, traditional materials and methods have been used throughout where possible and the LUX* Benzilan includes a restaurant café, swimming pool and just 30 Tibetan inspired rooms and suites. With panoramic views of the snow-capped Baima Snow Mountains surrounded by tranquil villages on the banks of the Jinsha River, the spacious rooms retain a traditional feel infused with the LUX* Resorts & Hotels’ signature opulence. The LUX* Benzilan joins sister hotel LUX* Lijiang which launched in 2015 also on the Tea Horse Road at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain approximately four hours’ drive away.
The newest hotel offers new discovery experiences to LUX* Lijiang which sits at the heart of Lijiang town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thanks to year-round pleasant temperatures guests at LUX* Benzilan can enjoy tailor-made hikes of the surrounding glaciers, hidden mountain trails with local Tibetan guides and even mushroom-picking missions. Meditation is also encouraged at the hotel with an in-house master offering masterclasses throughout the year and time can also be spent with a resident spiritual guide at the local monastery who is said to reveal ancient stories of muleteers of the Tea Horse Road. For those looking to further their spiritual awareness guests are also able to join the local monks for their daily chant at the peak of Meili Snow Mountain (Kawegbo).
Local dining is a must when visiting the region and LUX* Benzilan ensures guests have every opportunity to sample the native cuisine. Dinners are frequently organized with Tibetan families for a truly traditional taste of village life, whilst the hotel restaurant serves local delicacies including homemade rice noodles, fried potato cakes and yak meat finished with yak butter tea and barley whisky. Curious travellers are also able to experience the region’s precious handicraft traditions and can learn how the historic items are created from a local master craftsman and try their hand at making their own.
With an award-winning motto of ‘lighter, brighter’ LUX* Resorts & Hotels epitomizes the essence of ‘travel light and experience depth’ which they have now brought to China. Paul Jones, CEO of the brand has said on the venture:
‘We are proud to launch this new property which will enable our guests to discover this magnificent region of China and one of the most compelling cultural and scenic landscapes in the world. The Tea Horse Road is fascinating and the opening of our second boutique-hotel in the heart of Benzilan, long the Tea Horse Road is only the beginning of our vision. We are very excited for what is to come, a truly unique and exciting concept’
Discover more of the delights of the ancient Tea Horse Road at the new LUX* Benzilan and its sister hotel LUX* Lijiang by visiting the LUX* Resorts & Hotels’ website.