Kingsway Resort, Yunnan
What is it? A cluster of sleek tented structures perched high on an isolated plateau two hour's drive from the Yunnan province tourist town of Lijiang. Opened this year, the resort is miles from anywhere, in the heart of the Three Parallel Rivers National Park, a Unesco World Heritage site for biodiversity. Tents are equipped with all the mod cons (showers, air conditioners, espresso makers, to name a few) and the resort has an alfresco hot tub with perhaps the best view in the region - looking down over rolling fields and mountains, with not a soul in sight.
We don't really 'do' camping, however luxurious it may be. Kingsway isn't luxury camping but rather an exotic experience. To call the accommodation units 'tents' would be an understatement. They come with glass walls offering panoramic views of the mountains and valleys that surround the Ge La Dan Plateau. Take into consideration the hiking, horse riding and all-terrain vehicle opportunities and you have yourself a great escape from city life - without having to hammer in any pegs.
What is there to do? The region is home to four ethnic minorities (the Yi, Naxi, Lisu and Pumi) and is known as one of the most biologically diverse in the world. Much of it can be walked, cantered or off-roaded through. 'Every season and even every day different flowers are in bloom,' says Kingsway's general manager, Lei Tang.
Is there a restaurant or a bar? Both are housed under canvas and Yi specialities cooked with local ingredients are on the menu. Morchella (wild mushroom) chicken soup and stewed spare rib with aweto (a caterpillar fungus known for its medicinal qualities) are highly recommended.
Anything else we should know? Technology addicts be warned: you don't get beautiful seclusion without some sacrifice. There is almost zero phone reception and no internet; the hour-long drive up the dirt road to the resort is no picnic either. The management is toying with the idea of introducing yoga, astronomy (with no light pollution the night sky is dazzling) and tai chi elements to the Kingsway experience, and is considering running a helicopter service from Lijiang for those who want to arrive in style and without a sore bum.
What's the bottom line? Prices range from 4,400 yuan (HK$5,400) a night for a two-person, 43-square-metre tent to 6,000 yuan for an 84-square-metre tent, although there is a 40 per cent discount during an indefinite soft opening period. The price includes transportation from Liming, all meals and basic activities, though horse riding and vehicle hire is additional.
Kingsway Tented Resort is located on the Ge La Dan Plateau, west of Lijiang, Yunnan province, tel: 86 871 5375236; kingsway.cn.com.