Six Senses? Those hotels are a little bit special, aren't they? Indeed. The brand is known for eco-friendly luxury, gorgeous design and delicious food. This is the company's first foray into China and is an ideal mini-break destination for Hongkongers. Located at the base of Sichuan province's sacred Mount Qingcheng, the birthplace of Taoism, the resort consists of 113 spacious studios and villas - all blond wood and creamy stone - set on an 11-hectare site. The design is inspired by traditional Chinese village architecture - think tiled roofs, streams, waterfalls, arched bridges and doorways, whispering willow trees and rustling bamboo. With its immaculate interiors and lush, fragrant gardens, though, it's unlike any Chinese village you'll have been to before.

When's the best time to go? Sichuan has a more temperate climate than Hong Kong and is at its best in spring and autumn. During winter, temperatures can drop to three degrees Celsius and the mountain is sometimes capped with snow, but underfloor heating will keep you warm, and huge indoor and outdoor pools allow all-weather swimming.

What is there to do? The hotel's "guest experience" managers can arrange a variety of activities for you. Within the resort there is a spa, yoga and tai chi classes, Sichuan cookery demonstrations and a bijou cinema that shows four scheduled films a day. Venture outside and it's a two-hour hike, or a short hop in a cable car, up Mount Qingcheng, thickly forested with evergreens and dotted with beautiful temples. It's worth climbing to the 1,260-metre summit to see the mist-wreathed red and gold pagoda and sweeping views of hills and valleys. Tip: the higher you go, the thinner the crowds.

The nearby city of Dujiangyan is also worth a visit, if for no other reason than to see its 2,000-year-old irrigation system - a Unesco World Heritage site that splits the town's raging torrent of a river in two. Then cross that river on a wobbly cable bridge and stroll along the hilly riverbank, which is dotted with temples and pagodas. The hotel also runs a popular night tour of the old town's lively centre. Bike rides, fruit picking, fishing and hiking can all be arranged, too.

Yeah, yeah, but will I see pandas? You certainly will - Sichuan's biggest draw is China's national treasure. You have three options. Panda Valley has about a dozen furry residents and, with small enclosures, close-up photos are guaranteed. Panda Ark provides a home for elderly pandas and returnees from international zoos, and offers opportunities to volunteer as a keeper. If it's baby pandas you want, drive 90 minutes to the Breeding and Research Centre, in Chengdu, where the black-and-white bundles of joy frolic in the nursery.

Hungry now … how's the food? Fiery! Sichuanese cuisine, generously seasoned with lip-tingling Sichuan pepper, is China's spiciest. Regional specialities are served at the resort's 28Zodiac restaurant (the dandan noodles are outstanding). Fresh produce from the property's organic garden is used at Western restaurant Farm2Fork. The hotel's head chef devises the menus in consultation with a nutritionist - those on a healthy-eating kick have plenty of choices. There's also a Thai restaurant (below right) and, if you're hungry between meals, you can visit the Square, where little stalls dispense Chinese snacks, drinks and home-made ice cream, which you pay for using the bag of antique coins you'll find in your room.

How much is this going to set me back? Room prices start from 2,122 yuan (HK$2,575) for two, including breakfast. Various carriers offer 2½-hour flights to Chengdu (business and club passengers on Hong Kong Airlines can use its swanky new lounge).