THE DESTINATION: SHANGHAI
The Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai ups the ante on homegrown hedonism at its Qin the Spa, which offers traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis and wellness packages. Visitors can meet with TCM doctors and have a treatment plan prescribed for them. After a diagnostic evaluation that will include a pulse assessment, breath examination, and lifestyle assessment, the doctor will customize a treatment plan that might involve an acupuncture appointment, herbal steam session, and even a prescription for herbs to take when you get home. All this takes place in a space outfitted with black granite floors, traditional Chinese furniture, and Chinese objets d’art.
OFF THE BEATEN PATH:
One of the zhou cities outside Shanghai, Hangzhou (pronounced han-jo) is the perfect place to tap into the healing powers of China. Visitors to this destination (which Marco Polo once referred to as paradise on earth) will find the picturesque West Lake surrounded by pagodas and temples, verdant hills holding tea plantations where some of China’s best varieties are grown, and classical Chinese gardens tucked back behind walls lining the town’s streets that are perfect for meditative pursuits.
Traditional Chinese medicine is also alive and well here:
Tea-drinking and its many health benefits are an important message in TCM, and the city and surrounding countryside are chockablock with tea houses where you can sample the area’s famed brews. Hangzhou is also home to a museum dedicated to the science — the only one of its kind in China — where visitors can view ancient TCM equipment before seeing doctors in the on-site clinic for treatment (acupuncture, massage, herbal therapies). There’s even a pharmacy, where personalized prescriptions are prepared from the vast range of cures, including herbs, teas, and rare fungi.
It’s easy to see why Amanfayun has all the makings of a transportive holistic hideaway: tranquilly set in the green-covered hills above Hangzhou, the 42-room property is actually a restored village complete with traditional clay-roofed abodes that now serve as rooms (some of the structures are centuries-old), tea fields, bamboo groves, and stone paths connecting it all. The spa is equally spectacular. Spread across five historic buildings, the space offers treatments that are both pleasure-filled and pragmatic. Think baths incorporating seasonal ingredients and tea leaves, followed by results-oriented TCM services, like moxibustion (which involves placing lit paper tubes filled with herbs near meridian points in order to increase the flow of blood and Qi) and cupping. Don’t miss a session in the second story reflexology room, where guests enjoy the traditional foot rub while overlooking a tranquil bamboo-filled garden.