The Songtsam line of luxury boutique retreats has opened its newest location in Lhasa, Tibet. Our Director of Sales, Jenny Zhao, was recently in the region curating a brand new selection of unique and immersive experiences. She had the chance to take a sneak peek at the new Songtsam Retreat and here’s what she loved:
The Philosophy of the Songtsam Lhasa
The founder of Songtsam Retreats, Baima Duoji, has built Tibetan culture into every nook and cranny of the Songtsam Lhasa. Starting with the design, the Songtsam Lhasa follows historic Tibetan architectural philosophy. From the iconic Potala Palace to the vibrant Jokhang Temple, Tibetan structures typically feature large amounts of wood, stone, and pure local soil. The Songtsam Lhasa has followed this design to create a classic feel.
The hotel invited Lamas to pick the construction site and asked them to perform a religious worship ceremony. Fortunetellers then came to predict the hotel’s future. From picking the site location to completing the whole construction process, the Songtsam team skillfully complied with the historical and cultural traditions of the region.
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The Design of the Songtsam Lhasa
In addition to the building materials, the design of Songtsam Lhasa boldly echoes some of the oldest and most traditional buildings in the region. In particular, the Norbulingka Palace was used as inspiration. Songtsam Lhasa hired more than twenty traditional Tibetan carpenters from Shangri-La and around eighty masons from Shannan to complete the building work. These craftsmen polished and carved the imported timber and stone and skillfully sculpted every detail.
Construction is difficult on the Tibetan Plateau because timber is rare and trees grow extremely slowly. To protect the environment, Songtsam Lhasa imported timber and stones and shared with us that, “sustainability and green buildings was always our first consideration”.
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Beyond the actual structure, every detail in the hotel is imbued with traditional Tibetan flourishes. The curtains are handmade by a textile artist who has a gallery inside the hotel. Even the key has a lucky Tibetan talisman attached.
Stay at the Songtsam Lhasa
Songtsam Lhasa opened in the summer of 2017. To inaugurate the opening of the hotel, a local living Buddha was invited to bless the structure according to local tradition. The hotel is completing its final stages of building and we think it will be Lhasa’s hottest new accommodation in 2018. The great location is a 15 minutes’ drive from downtown Lhasa which makes it a perfect respite from the bustling city. It’s ideal for those craving a luxury and authentic boutique experience that incorporates Tibetan design philosophy.
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Plan your Tibet trip with Jenny and tap into her unique knowledge of the region. While she was there, she sampled some of Tibet’s top experiences that she’d love to plan for you. She especially loved learning from monks how to craft traditional thangka paintings which usually depict scenes important to Tibetan Buddhism. In the same building, Jenny raved that you can watch women extract special paints and pigments from rocks found in the outer regions of Tibet. You’ll also have the chance to visit a Tibetan Medicine Expert who can give you a complete physical and suggest traditional ways to salve your ailments. Jenny loved interacting with the medicine man and he even spoke flawless English!