Rissai Valley, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, was unveiled this week in Jiuzhaigou, a valley on the edges of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau in China’s Southwestern Sichuan province.
The region is an area of exceptional natural beauty with spectacular alpine mountains soaring above a fairyland of forests, lakes, and waterfalls, and has been inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and World Biosphere Reserve.
In this spellbinding setting, Rissai Valley—its name a transliteration of the Tibetan word for “village”—is an intimate luxury hideaway that offers guests rare insights and immersive connections with the natural surroundings and culture of traditional Tibetan village life.
Rissai Valley’s 87 villas offer views of the snow-capped Minshan mountain range, forests, and ancient Tibetan villages.
U.S.-based architectural firm WATG paid homage to the natural surroundings and Tibetan heritage with the use of traditional building forms and locally-sourced materials. The landscaping was led by John Pettigrew, who created the immaculate gardens with indigenous planting.
The interiors were designed by the late Indonesian interior design legend Jaya Ibrahim, who curated palettes of forest greens, emeralds, and icy blues to mirror the jewel-coloured lakes and waterfalls of Jiuzhaigou, while celebrating the culture and heritage of the local villages with examples of artisanal Tibetan craftsmanship throughout the property.
Guests arriving at Rissai Valley are warmly welcomed with a Zhaxi Dele Tibetan blessing ceremony, and every new day brings opportunities to be immersed in experiences that provide insights into local heritage and life. Through a dedicated team of local Tibetan culturalists, artisans, chefs, and healers, guests are welcomed into an ancient culture to gain transformative insights along with genuine connections with the people of Jiuzhaigou and their families.
Each villa enjoys the services of a dedicated personal host, called a “Nieba”” in the local language, who takes care of every detail for guests.
Dining options at Rissai Valley include Bo Ri Village, an all-day dining setting in an ancient village situated opposite the Reserve. Refined Sichuan restaurant Cai Lin Xuan highlights local specialities, and at La Montagne, diners can select from a Western menu and enjoy al fresco barbecues with views. The Lobby Lounge offers afternoon tea and evening cocktails.
The spa offers a selection of healing practises and experiences based on centuries-old Tibetan wisdom for guests who seek serenity and balance, such as singing bowl sound therapy and yoga sessions by a cascading waterfall.
The property features an expansive infinity swimming pool framed by a breathtaking view of a Tibetan village against towering mountain peaks.
At the Reserve Kids’ Club, Rissai Kids is an engaging and immersive programme that encourages children to discover the wonders of Jiuzhaigou, focusing on connections to Tibetan culture through music and dance, and exploration of the indigenous flora and fauna surrounding the Reserve. Activities include fun guided outdoor adventures, treasure hunts, animal feeding, kite flying, and stargazing evenings.
“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 experience the many curated experiences that connect guests with the rich local culture. A stay at Rissai Valley will inspire many memories that will last a lifetime.”
The Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area covers 72,000 hectares in northern Sichuan Province and is protected as a national nature reserve.
The ancient forest ecosystems of Jiuzhaigou National Park are home to China’s beloved giant pandas and other rare species of plants, animals, and birds.
Visitors to the destination can hike in the national park, sample traditional Tibetan cuisine, and enjoy colourful cultural performances.
Jiuzhaigou is located about 430 kilometres north of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, with daily connecting flights from Chengdu to Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport.
Rissai Valley is approximately 88 kilometres, or about a 75-minute drive, from the airport.