June 13, 2019

Just Back: Luxuries of China

Enjoy this interview with Ashley Isaacs Ganz, founder & CEO of Artisans of Leisure, about her most recent visit to China with her family.

Luxury China toursQ.) What inspired this trip to China?

The country is changing so quickly, and I wanted to revisit some of my favorite cities to focus on new hotel, culinary and cultural developments.

Luxury China toursI also wanted to introduce my sons to China. We combined this tour with other parts of Asia, so we kept the China portion relatively easy and relaxed. We focused on major cities and countryside excursions. It was very much a town and country  experience.

Luxury China toursQ.) Which cities did you visit?

Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou. We started in Hong Kong with a stay at the iconic Peninsula Hong Kong.

Luxury China toursThe hotel offers unrivalled views of Hong Kong Island–it’s a perfect first experience in Hong Kong. Travelers of all ages are wowed by The Peninsula’s hospitality, history, and setting.

Luxury China toursQ.) What did you see and do in Hong Kong?

We had two stays in Hong Kong–one at the beginning of our tour, before we visited mainland China, and a stay at the end of our tour. During our first stop in Hong Kong, we spent time exploring Kowloon’s fun markets, including the Temple Street Market, goldfish market, jade market…

Luxury China toursLuxury China tours…and the Bird Garden Market.

Luxury China tours

So much of Kowloon has remained the same over the years, especially the daily life at the temples.

Luxury China toursLuxury China toursWe also explored Hong Kong Island…

Luxury Hong Kong tours…old and new.

Luxury Hong Kong toursWe explored the harborfront…

Luxury China tours…visited top ceramics wholesalers…

Luxury China toursLuxury China tours …and had lots of dim sum.

Luxury China tours

Luxury China tours

During our second stop in Hong Kong at the end of our trip, we stayed at the Four Seasons Hong Kong. It was the perfect base for exploring Central and Hong Kong Island, and my kids loved the pool overlooking the harbor.

Luxury China toursQ.) Where did you go after Hong Kong?

We flew to Beijing and started with some time outside of the city at the Aman resort near the Summer Palace.

Luxury China toursThe resort’s buildings are authentic parts of the Summer Palace, an imperial retreat.

Luxury China toursIt’s a beautiful location with historic buildings, pagodas and lakeside scenery.

Luxury China toursMy sons enjoyed a hands-on Chinese kite-making lesson…

Luxury China tours…and we all enjoyed the resort’s restaurants…

Luxury China tours…shops…

Luxury China tours…and architecture.

Luxury China toursWe also stayed in downtown Beijing at The Peninsula Beijing…

Luxury China tours…in the center of the bustling activity.

Luxury China toursWe toured major attractions, including the Forbidden City…

Luxury China tours…and the Temple of Heaven…

Luxury China tours…where there’s always great people watching…

Luxury China tours…and other historic temples.

Luxury China toursWe also visited some of the city’s traditional hutong districts.

Luxury China toursWhen I first visited China over 20 years ago, hutongs were more widespread.

Luxury China toursNow, fewer and fewer of these traditional districts remain.

Luxury China toursI arranged a meeting with a local jade expert, and we visited his hutong home.

Luxury China toursWe also saw James Turrell’s Gathered Sky.

Luxury China tours

We had some incredible meals…

Luxury China tours

I am a vegetarian and the temple-style cuisine in China is particularly good. My kids loved the food!

Luxury China tours

Beijing is a fun city to explore on foot at night.

Luxury China toursWe also took a day tour to see the Great Wall.

Luxury China toursQ.) Where did you go after Beijing?

We took the high-speed bullet train to Shanghai.

Luxury China tours

Luxury China toursShanghai is one of my favorite cities. It offers excellent cultural touring, shopping and dining.

Luxury China toursWe explored the Old Town…

Luxury China tours…had tea at a historic tea house…

Luxury China tours…that some believe inspired the Willow tea pattern…

Luxury China toursLuxury China tours…toured gardens…

Luxury China toursLuxury China tours…enjoyed local street food….

Luxury China tours…explored the Bund…

Luxury China toursLuxury China tours…had some great meals…

Luxury China toursLuxury China tours…enjoyed the views of Pudong…

Luxury China tours…listened to some jazz…

Luxury China tours…did some shopping…

Luxury China toursLuxury China tours…and had a great time at The Peninsula Shanghai.

Luxury China toursLuxury China toursWe also spent time outside the city at Amanyangyun.

Luxury China toursWe loved the architecture…

Luxury China tours…the resort’s fascinating history…

Luxury China tours…the stunning interiors…

Luxury China tours

Luxury China toursand the relaxing, tranquil atmosphere.

Luxury China toursQ.) What touring did you do while you were outside the city?

Luxury China toursLuxury China toursWe mainly focused on private, traditional cultural lessons and experiences, such as printmaking…

Luxury China tours…an incense lesson…

Luxury China tours…a tea ceremony…

Luxury China tours…and learning about Chinese history.

Luxury China toursQ.) Where else did you visit?

We spent a few wonderful days in Hangzhou.

Luxury China toursThe city is known for its Buddhist temples…

Luxury China tours…and active Buddhist monasteries…

Luxury China tours…as well as beautiful gardens, bamboo forests…

Luxury China tours…lakeside scenery…

Luxury China tours…and tea plantations…

Luxury China tours…that grow some of China’s most prized tea.

We had a fascinating private lesson with a tea master.

Luxury China toursWe dined at local restaurants…

Luxury China toursLuxury China tours…and took a private cruise on West Lake.

Luxury China toursWe also enjoyed a private insider tour of the city that focused on very historic shops…

Luxury China tours…including a renowned fan shop…

Luxury China tours…a chrysanthemum tea shop, the city’s oldest pickle shop. and more.

Luxury China toursIt was fascinating to learn about the city’s role as a leading center of traditional Chinese medicine.

Luxury China toursLuxury China toursWe also attended a wonderful performance of Impression West Lake, directed by Zhang Yimou.

Luxury China toursLuxury China tours

Ashley’s tour is similar to our Luxuries of China tour.

View all of our sample private China tours or call one of our Asia travel experts to start planning a China tour based on your interests.

Destinations:  Asia, China

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