SHANGRI-LA, CHINA - Songtsam Retreat at Shangri-la consists of twenty-four dry stone structures spread over twenty-one acres of hillside. Priceless Tibetan treasures greet visitors as they walk through the beautifully carved entrance, from the two ancient brass Buddhas to the intricate prayer rugs mounted on the walls. Throughout Songtsam Retreat visitors can soak up the magic of Shangri-la and learn about the local culture.
Shangri-la old town is a small village, situated 3,300 meters above sea level. It is surrounded by snow topped mountains during winter, while in spring, the hills and plains are a bounty of spring flowers. At the center of the village is the historical Songzanlin Si Monastery, dating back to 1679.
Spacious suites boast locally handcrafted furniture that capture the very essence of Shangri-la, including hand laid timber floors, oak wall paneling, Tibetan rugs and wooden bath tubs. The suites feature oversized bed platforms, sitting above lounging areas with armchairs and a fireplace.
The dining experience allows guests to experience the very best of local cuisine. The wine list is extensive and the free breakfast in the morning includes everything from omelettes to cereal. Prices are reasonable.
The only complaint about Songtsam Retreat is the overpriced spa services. Massages and facials start at 500RMB and seem outlandish.
Getting There: Shangri-la is accessible by a 45-minute flight from Kunming. Located just 8km from the local airport, the hotel can assist in airport transfers (25 minutes by car) and any onward flight and hotel reservations.