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When one thinks of the serene valleys and rolling hills of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, a picture of unspoiled wilderness, vibrant Tibetan culture, and ethereal natural beauty comes to mind. Nestled in this idyllic landscape is a newly unveiled gem, the Rissai Valley, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. The intimate luxury hideaway opens a gateway into the traditional village life of Tibet while promising an exquisite experience that marries nature, culture, and unparalleled luxury.
The Rissai Valley, situated in southwestern China, lies in close proximity to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Jiuzhaigou Valley and the World Biosphere Reserve. This location is an emblem of exceptional natural beauty, with towering alpine mountains that rise above dense forests, glimmering lakes, and cascading waterfalls.
The Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area, encompassing a vast expanse of 72,000 hectares, is a national nature reserve protected for its unique ecosystem. The forested landscapes of the Jiuzhaigou National Park serve as a sanctuary for China’s cherished and endangered species, the giant pandas, making this location a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
Visitors to the Rissai Valley have the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the extraordinary surroundings, whether through a peaceful hike in the national park or indulging in traditional Tibetan cuisine. Aspects of the resort pays homage to the rich cultural heritage and natural wonders that envelop it.
“We are thrilled to debut Rissai Valley, China’s first Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Jiuzhaigou, one of the most stunningly beautiful and culturally rich areas of the world,” said Tina Edmundson, President, Luxury, Marriott International. “Rissai Valley is the sixth property in a rare portfolio of exclusive estates worldwide, offering an intimate and transformative experience rooted in heartfelt care and human connection.”
A stay at Rissai Valley, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
The Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Rissai Valley consists of 87 intimate villas, each designed to blend seamlessly with the enchanting landscape. The architectural firm WATG has masterfully combined traditional building forms with locally-sourced materials, paying homage to the region’s natural surroundings and Tibetan heritage. The interiors, curated by renowned designer Jaya Ibrahim, echo the beauty of the landscape, incorporating palettes of forest greens, emeralds, and icy blues to mirror the jewel-coloured lakes and waterfalls of Jiuzhaigou.
In the tradition of true luxury, each villa at the Rissai Valley Reserve is assigned a personal host, or a “Nieba” in the local language. Acting as a personal butler, the Nieba caters to guests’ needs, enhancing the personalized experience the resort promises to deliver.
Culinary explorers will find themselves delighted by the diverse dining options at the resort. The all-day dining venue, Bo Ri Village, offers a unique gastronomic journey set in the charm of an idyllic ancient village. For those inclined towards local flavours, the refined Sichuan restaurant Cai Lin Xuan highlights local specialities. Additionally, La Montagne offers a western menu, complemented by al fresco barbecues and breathtaking views of the stunning landscape.
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Relaxation and rejuvenation are integral to the Rissai Valley experience, and the Rissai Spa does justice to this promise. The spa menu comprises a selection of healing practices like singing bowl sound therapy and yoga sessions that take place beside a cascading waterfall. The experience is elevated by an infinity swimming pool that seems to merge with the surrounding landscape, further blurring the lines between the resort and the valley.
“Rissai Valley is a truly magical place, nestled in the landscapes and surroundings of one of the most mythical natural wonders of the world,” said Marcel Damen, General Manager, Rissai Valley. “As the first Ritz-Carlton Reserve in China, we look forward to welcoming guests to a place of marvellous beauty and to experiencing the many curated experiences that connect guests with the rich local culture.”
In essence, the Rissai Valley, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, is more than a luxury resort; it is a passage into the heart of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, where the grandeur of nature, the allure of Tibetan culture, and the charm of luxurious living intertwine to create an experience like no other. It invites guests to experience, explore, and immerse themselves in a distinctive natural beauty, culture, and luxury blend. Whether spotting a giant panda in the wild, tasting local delicacies, or simply unwinding in your villa under the majestic alpine mountains, every moment here is bound to be an unforgettable memory. ◼
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© This article was first published online in June 2023 – World Travel Magazine.