Chaxianglishe 茶香丽舍

I came across Chaxianglishe from a Chinese travel magazine 3 years ago (year 2010).  The title is the left bank of Hangzhou.  The left bank is refer to the famous “Left Bank” we used to describe Paris of an earlier era.  The left bank contains all the best olden days of a city with long history, visited by numerous artists, writers and philosophers, travellers, politicians and etc.  An area with the original spirits of a city.  Chaxianglishe is one of the small hotel recommended in the article.

Marco Polo described Hangzhou as “the City of Heaven, the most beautiful and magnificent in the world.”  Emporor KangXi found one of the best tea in China (Long Jing) from Hangzhou.  To combine the word beauty and the aroma of tea, this form the name of ChaXiangLiShe (Cha = Tea, Xiang = Aroma, Li = Beauty, She = House).  What a beautiful and imaginative name that lead us to visit this place in year 2011.  We had a quick chat with the boss.  We like the place and decided to visit this place again in future.  One year later (it is faster than we expected), we started the planning and booked the rooms almost 6 months ago to make sure we can get the rooms we want.  It is a meaningful trip because me and my friend both decided to share this experience with our family.  We finally have a chance to slowly enjoy Hangzhou and come back to this small hotel where we visited one year ago.  We timed the visit at the same month (early April) because this is the time the plum flower and peonies are in full bloom.

Chaxianglishe is located at Hupao area (虎跑) surrounded by a number of mountains.  In the morning, the mountain could be foggy and it is nice to walk around the tea garden at Hupao area.  Chaxianglishe collects Hupao natural spring water (虎跑泉水) for guest use every day.  They also provides tea leaf for your enjoyment and it is best to mix with the natural spring water.  I enjoyed to have a glass of Chinese Tea with Hupao spring water after a walk around Hupao area.

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Spring is one of the best season to visit Chaxianglishe because you can enjoy variety of flowers and also soak in the ar0ma of tea when the tea leaf is heated by the tea master.   A Li (阿丽), one of the Chaxianglishe staff said this year has good Camellia blossom so we took a lot of photo of Camellia (山茶花).  In the top ten list of ornamental flowers or flowering plants in China, Camellia is ranked as No. 8th.   There are some other flower in Chaxianglishe garden with unknown name.   You really do not need to know the name of the flower before you can appreciate the beauty of nature.

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There are no lack of little decoration for you to admire around Chaxianglishe.

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The breakfast buffet (traditional Chinese breakfast come with porridge and hot soy milk) is served in a sunroom.  The sunroom also serve as a communal place for gathering during the rest of the day and at night.  Lao Ni (the owner of Chaxianglishe) is a friendly person who like to chat with the guest and he generously throw in free beers and light food to boost up the atmosphere sometimes.   There is a little bookshelf in the sunroom with books about Hangzhou.  The free Hupao spring water is also served there.  This is one of my favourite set up in Chaxianglishe.

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Chanxianglishe does not has a big area but there are enough resting place at each balconies and gardens for use.  The main house is a 3 stories building.  There is always an expected balcony right outside of most of the room.  I think the house has been cleverly designed in the way each rooms are connected by balcony without compromising privacy.  I am a book lover.  This is exactly the set up for you to enjoy reading for the whole afternoon.  Too bad there are too many things to explore in Hangzhou.  Even I have 7 days in Hangzhou but I hardly has more than 1 hour each day to read at the balcony.

The next door of Chaxianglishe is a tea drinking place – Tao Tao Gu (陶陶居) – Above

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光影魅惑房 (The room with light and shadow seduction).  You probably need a brave heart to accept the colour of the room while you look at the photo Chaxianglishe posted at their website.  But when we visited the room onsite, it is far more easy to accept.  It is adorable.  I really like the lighting, colour and set up of the room.  I decided to put the light and shadow seduction room in the first room list of this blog about Chaxianglishe.  It really has a wow effect.

By the way, Chaxianglishe has 19 type of rooms in various theme.  We enjoyed visiting the rooms in different theme when the rooms are available for viewing.

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恋上地中海 (Fall in love with Mediterranean Sea).  I have been to Greece and see a lot whitewashed houses. You will never get bored with it.  I have choosen this room to stay for 4 nights.  I like the master bedroom upstair with mountain view.  My mum is very sastisfied with her room with a lot of fresh air.

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The biggest room in Chaxianglishe (香榭丽舍房 – Champs-Elysees room) complies of two double bed rooms and one hall with dining table.  My friend with 5 family members including him end up staying here for 7 nights.  They like the dining table where they can buy the dinner back to enjoy together.   Both double rooms have a big bathroom and there is a fire place at the main hall.  This is impressive.

Me and my mum stayed at 爱情海洋房 (Ocean of Love Room) for the first 3 nights.  It sound like a room for loving couple but who care.  I really like the middle hall (a small place between the main bed room and bathroom) with rocking chair and study desk.   The whole room has a very soothing feel.  Needless to say, because the theme of the room is Ocean of Love.

Below – 罗马假期房 (Roman/Rome Holiday Room).

Below – 大和之舞房 (The Japanese Rhythm and Dance Room).  I like this room.  Most likely I will book this room in my next visit.  The only drawback is the room is at the first floor.  The room window is facing the corridor to the kitchen.   However, there is a small Japanese table for tea.   The room area is big too.

Below – Our happy group photo.

Lao Ni (老倪), the owner is sitting in front of the computer monitor.  He is a generous and knowledgeble boss.  He know a lot about Hangzhou.  We discussed our itinerary with him each day before we started our journey.  He will suggest where to eat based on the itinerary.   He called himself as “3 guides Lao Ni” (三导老倪) in his own blog because he said he is a guide for eating, playing and sleeping.  He told us the word of the year for him is “舍” (Sharing, giving and offering).  He enjoy to chat with his friends and guest.  Please don’t be surprise if he offered you beers (a lot of beers if you could drink) when he is in the mood (He seems to have mood to share each time).  He simply enjoy the accompany.   He has true passion running the small hotel.  I think this is the secret behind why Chaxianglishe can be so success as a new comer.

Pang (in direct translation is Fat – 胖) is standing behind Lao Ni.  He is one of the best staff in Chaxianglishe.  He would like us to just call him Pang although I am not used to call people by nick name “Fat”.  However, I found Pang named himself as “Fat” as well in his own email ID.  After called him several time by “Fat”, I find the name is actually very friendly, cute and easy to remember.  Pang is very kind by sending us to some of the destination even though he is busy with something.  He has very good driving skill and he smile a lot.  He is very helpful. He knew I like the snow photo he took last year for Chaxianglishe so he offered to send me the photo (p/s:  I have attached the snow photo he sent me at the end of this blog).

A Li ( 阿丽), second to the right is another nice Chaxianglishe staff.  I could hear how patient is she when she explain to the guest about how  to come to Chaxianglishe (I don’t know how many times she has to explain this each day because it is really not easy to find Chaxianglishe).  She also offer a lot of suggestion and tips when she know where you are planning to go.  There is a time she offered us her personal handphone (for whole day) so that we can buy the cheaper entrance ticket online and to bring the handphone to show the ticket counter with the message sent by the service provider as the receipt.  She also volunteered to be our guide one of the day and she even insisted to pay for the entrance tickets for all of us to enter one of the temple.  The tickets are not expensive but it is really the heart counts.  We enjoyed her accompany and we like her cheerful character.

The lady at the right could be a part time staff there.  I only talked to her once.  She felt very curious with the purple carrot we brought from Singapore (we brought this from a farmer market in Singapore).  She like gardening and planting.  She said she will try to plant the purple carrot we brought.  Hope we can have a lot of purple carrots during our next visit to Chaxianglishe.

I would say all the staff in Chaxianglishe are nice.  They are nice not just because they are the staff or owner.  They simply nice just because they treat you as old friend.   That include the cleaning helper, the chef and everybody there.

Some useful information about Chaxianglishe –

Address – 杭州市西湖区虎跑路四眼井212号

Contact – 13805748898, 13735878899, 0571-87152030 (HP)

Website –

http://www.571holiday.com/chaxianglishe/#intro

http://www.tealysees.com/

Blog of Lao Ni (the owner) –

http://blog.sina.com.cn/sdlaoni

The food guiding map drew by Lao Ni.  He drew the map to us in year 2011 to suggest us where to eat in Hangzhou while we visited Chaxianglishe in one of the morning.  We had a very nice dinner (and cheap because it is one of the local favourite) that night based on his recommedation.  He continue to extend the map when we visited Hangzhou one year later in year 2012 (yes. I still keep the map he drew one year ago).  The drawing in black ink is the 2011 version and the one in blue is 2012 version.

An itinerary suggested by Lao Ni.  Started from Tai Zi Wan Park (太子湾公园) to visit the tulip festival and end at Mao Jia Ku (茅家堀).  A least visited part of Hangzhou where the local used to go for local farmer food (农家菜).

The mark highlighted in red is the rough location of Chaxianglishe.  There is a small turn off from Hupau Road.  A small sign board is at the entrance of the road together with other restaurant and hotel you can find along the small road (with some nice hidden cafe too).  Somebody has set up a red flag hanging right outside at the junction for easy identifying.

Pang (胖- Fat) sent me the photo he took last year (2011) with Chaxianglishe and Hupau Road ((虎跑路) covered with snow.  I really like the photos so Pang decided to send these photo to me for souvenir.

p/s:

I accidentally brought back a book (“I Love Hangzhoue”) with me which I suppose to return to the bookshelf at the sunroom.  I sent an email to let Lao Ni and Pang know about this.  Their reply is “just treat it as a souvenir” from Chaxianglishe.

We really has a whole bag of good memories here and Hangzhou.   Thanks a lot to Chaxianglishe.

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