North of Chengdu, the lush hills of China’s Sichuan Province harbor serene lakes, lilting pagodas, and a steadily growing population of pandas. The holy Qingcheng mountain, believed to be the birthplace of Taoism, rises above the surrounding valleys here. Its slopes are dotted with Taoist temples and blanketed with forests, through which the breeze often carries the fragrance of burning incense. Nestled in a bamboo and cedar forest on the shores of a pristine lake, Twinkle Valley has taken a cue from this sacred and serene setting. The lodge combines a deep reverence for nature with a harmonious, inspired design, rewarding guests with an immersion in the great outdoors—and a fresh perspective on China.
Twinkle Valley offers forest living at its finest, with 16 eco-friendly, wood-and-stone tree houses and a comfortable villa that blend with the natural surroundings. Part of the neighboring Andaman Village, which hosts a number of recreational facilities, the lodge offers zip-lining, rock climbing, kayaking, archery, and more. Nearby, two UNESCO World Heritage sites beckon culture-seekers with their historic wonders. With daily tai chi and yoga classes, coupled with the lodge’s signature Sichuan cuisine, this idyllic hideaway provides an authentic taste of a delightful and little-known corner of China.
China has seen extraordinary social and economic growth in recent years, and in this nation of more than one billion, sustainable development is still a relatively new concept. Twinkle Valley was conceived in the aftermath of a 2008 earthquake that devastated Sichuan Province, with the goal of showcasing sustainable development and creating local employment opportunities. The result is a property that sets the standard for ecologically responsible hotels in Sichuan Province while providing an exceptional guest experience.
“Service from the heart” is the philosophy at Twinkle Valley—one that the lodge embraces in all aspects of its operations. At this detail-oriented property, every effort is made not only to meet a guest’s needs, but to surpass them. Since opening its doors in January 2017, the lodge has hired ninety percent of its staff from the local community—and they enhance the experience by adding a warm, personal touch. The lodge seeks to give back as well, buying locally from farmers and vendors and offering a “green school” for kids, which educates young guests on the natural landscapes of the valley and the lodge’s eco-friendly practices.
Guests who reserve their space through National Geographic Unique Lodges have a number of National Geographic Exclusive options from which to choose. Join the lodge’s head chef for a private noodle-making lesson and learn the secrets to Sichuan cuisine; take part in a bamboo basket-weaving lesson with a local weaving master; or experience the culture of a nearby village, enjoying a traditional tea-making session in a local home. Guests can designate their preference at time of booking.
Twinkle Valley maintains a light environmental footprint and supports the surrounding landscapes in many ways—sourcing foods from local farmers, integrating a gray water treatment plant, and incorporating a tree-planting program for its younger guests. Staff members are trained in a range of sustainability issues, including water and energy conservation, and water consumption at the lodge is routinely monitored and analyzed. Plans are also underway to install a high-efficiency generator to combust wastes while simultaneously recovering heat. From the “green school” that educates children on the lodge’s natural surroundings to the electric golf carts used for transportation on the property, the lodge is committed to setting an eco-friendly example for hotels in Sichuan Province and beyond.
The Regalia Group, owner of Twinkle Valley, has been recognized by the World Luxury Resort Awards in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
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