Discover Chinese culture: Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel

Deeply rooted in local culture, every aspect of this property symbolises unity, prosperity and good luck – all you could wish for during your stay. Claire Hill reports.

This stunning hotel in Pudong, Shanghai is located within the futuristic landmark Himalayas Center, part shopping mall, art museum and theatre, that’s as impressive inside as it is on the outside. It was designed by world-renowned architect Arata Isozaki who has won a number of awards. The interior was designed by K.C.A International, whose portfolio also includes the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah in Dubai.

1. Immerse yourself in Chinese culture
On entering the hotel lobby, guests are greeted by a full-size antique pagoda, carved in wood which is encapsulated in a palatial space. This tiered tower from Shen Zhou, Zhejiang, is over 300 years old, dating back to the Qing dynasty. Over the years, the feature has been used as a stage for live performances including belly dancing and jazz.

2. Priceless artefacts
A wander around the hotel reveals art from the private collections belonging to Dai Zhi Kang, Chairman of Zendai Group and Zhang Zhenyu. While the walls are adorned with original art from the Qing, Tang and Liang dynasties, the building itself is likened to a piece of precious jade. The outer square is said to represent the earth, the inner circle represents heaven and the cylindrical atrium represents a connecting passageway. The landscaped garden within creates a peaceful retreat. Other pieces that have graced the lobby with their presence over the years include a jade Guayin Buddha; 2,000 year old Chinese carved lacquer ware; and a portrait of Chairman Mao by Chen Yifei. This artist was a central figure in the development of Chinese oil painting and became one of the leading Chinese painters in the 1960s and 1970s. His experimental oil paintings featured significant figures from Chinese society and political life, which earned him a great reputation and led to international success.

3. The dragon boat
Made from African Rosewood, this dragon boat took two years to craft by hand. In Chinese culture dragons are a symbol of power, strength and good luck. The dragon boat also hosts three famous pavilions of China – Teng Wang Pavilion, Peng Lai Pavilion and Yue Yang Pavilion which represent the good will of Chinese to pursue higher achievement in life. It also delivers the good wishes to guests for a smooth journey through life.

4. The ‘Thousand Character’ poem
The calligraphy on the 16-metre-high lobby contains the ‘Thousand Character’ Chinese poem written by a Tang dynasty monk named Huai Su, 1,200 years ago. The artwork tells an ancient story – each character in the poem has a special meaning, teaching the essence of moral virtues and cultural evolution. This poem has become one of the most popular literacy texts in China.

5. Ancient Chinese culture
Staying true to its roots, the property incorporates elements of Chinese philosophy and closer investigation will reveal elements of yin and yang. For example, study the rooms and you may notice that efforts have been made to strike a balance between two shapes. The round objects such as the coffee table (yin), symbolise heaven; and square objects (yang) such as the sofas symbolise the earth. When these two shapes are combined, it is a universal recognition of harmony.

6. Feng shui
Another important element incorporated into the hotel’s design is the ancient art of feng shui which was developed around 3,000 years ago in China. The principle is to balance the energies of a space to assure good health and fortune. In Chinese culture wind (feng) and water (shui) are associated with good health and feng shui therefore translates to good fortune. For example, mirrors are used to expand spaces and to draw the beneficial ‘chi’ energy into the rooms. In the lobby, the arrangement of the four seasons (spring with wood; summer with fire; autumn with metal and winter with water) also connects to the feng shui elements of the hotel.

7. The lucky cloud
Look out for the lucky or auspicious cloud. Commonly used in Chinese mythology, auspicious clouds often have deities perched on top. The lucky cloud is a symbol of traditional Chinese culture present in the everyday lives of Chinese people. It can be seen in a whole manner of objects including sculptures and architecture to utensils and furniture. The Chinese expect the auspicious clouds to bring blessings and harmony to society. Keep a look out for lucky cloud patterns in the Grand Ballroom, meeting rooms and the Club floors of the hotel. Tree patterns can also be used to enhance the positive energy and block negative forces so look out for the images of trees which can be found in each lift and guest room. Regarded as an important life source, they are also said to exert a powerful influence on the feng shui by promoting growth and good health.

Discover 360° views of Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel with Jumeirah Inside here

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