China
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Luxury hotels in China

China
Extraordinary scenery helps to draw visitors to Lijiang in Yunnan province in southwestern China, and the Banyan Tree hotel just outside town seeks to add to the experience. Shown here is a view of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain -- actually a series of peaks -- from the Banyan Tree, one of the sophisticated new luxury hotels that have been springing up throughout China. (Susan Spano / Los Angeles Times)
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A simple elegance characterizes quarters at the Banyan Tree Lijiang, where each of the each of the hotel’s 55 chambers is a supremely private, single-story villa surrounded by its own gray brick wall. (Susan Spano / Los Angeles Times)
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Art has a conspicuous place at the Hotel of Modern Art: the lobby. The 3-year-old hotel near the honeymoon capital of Guilin in China’s south lies at the threshold of a 1,320-acre art park . From her $120 deluxe double, a Times reporter had a view of several peaks as wildly shaped as anything in Utah’s Monument Valley. (Susan Spano / Los Angeles Times)
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It’s a family gathering at Yuzi Paradise -- or, rather, a sculptural depiction of one at the art park near the Hotel of Modern Art. The legacy of a Taiwanese cemetery tycoon, Yuzi Paradise has modern sculpture that’s too massive to be shown in most museums. (Susan Spano / Los Angeles Times)
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A serendipitous collection of architecture also has risen in Hotel of Modern Art-adjacent Yuzi Paradise near Guilin. The city is in an area of fantastically shaped limestone peaks immortalized in classical Chinese painting and poetry. (Susan Spano / Los Angeles Times)
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An immense metal shadow puppet by China’s Su Xingchuan is a striking denizen of Yuzi Paradise near the Hotel of Modern Art. (Susan Spano / Los Angeles Times)
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An inviting room at the Hotel of Modern Art projects a spare stylishness. Other amenities at the hotel, as reported by a Times writer: a small spa, an Asian-American fusion restaurant and a kidney-shaped bar. Yuzi Paradise, meanwhile, has opened the smaller and more luxurious Hotel of Modern Art Relais & Châteaux inside the art park. (Susan Spano / Los Angeles Times)
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The entrance to the Commune by the Great Wall, about 50 miles north of Beijing. The hotel is a spinoff from a showplace for the work of Asian architects who were commissioned to design dream houses for China’s new moneyed class. In 2005, the Commune created a hotel by replicating some of the four- to six-bedroom models along a neighboring canyon that winds up from the Commune clubhouse. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
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One of the villas in the Commune by the Great Wall; true to its name, the property is within walking distance of the fabled wall on a private path, according to the hotel’s website. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
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Hilly terrain looms beyond the living room of one of the villas at the Commune by the Great Wall. Speaking of the property’s uneven, dispersed layout: It is a challenge that requires a shuttle service to take guests to and from up-canyon rooms (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
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An attendant stands outside the Anantara Spa, where massages and beauty treatments are offered, as are tai chi and yoga classes, the Commune by the Great Wall website asserts. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
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The Anantara Spa at the Commune by the Great Wall, which is managed by the Switzerland-based Kempinski hotel group. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
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The Anantara Spa at the Commune by the Great Wall. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
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The lobby of the Commune by the Great Wall. The idea for the hotel was hailed by a Times reporter who stayed there, but she found fault with the hotel’s staff. One expert on travel in China says a chief stumbling block at luxe lodgings has been the dearth of well-trained personnel. (Susan Spano / Los Angeles Times)
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Bamboo figures prominently at this villa at the Commune by the Great Wall. (Susan Spano / Los Angeles Times)
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The Commune by the Great Wall’s state-of-the-art children’s center features not only a play kitchen but an art studio, costume shop and water slide. (Susan Spano / Los Angeles Times)
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A swimming pool is an additional attraction for children visiting the Commune by the Great Wall. (Susan Spano / Los Angeles Times)
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A room at architecture-minded Commune by the Great Wall is an attractive perch for viewing the green hills and blue sky outside. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
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White walls and soft lighting impart a cool feeling to a room at the Commune by the Great Wall. (Susan Spano / Los Angeles Times)
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A show villa at Commune by the Great Wall is as good as its name, if this interior view is any indication. (Susan Spano / Los Angeles Times)
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A show villa at the Commune by the Great Wall. (Susan Spano / Los Angeles Times)
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