My colleague, Deidre Woollard, wrote in Luxist about opening of The St. Regis Lhasa Tibet in November, 2010. It is now receiving significant attention for its original architectural design that merges traditional Tibetan elements with signature St. Regis amenities into a luxury hotel literally on top of the world.
At 12,000 feet above sea level, it is one of the highest luxury hotels in the world, with unimpeded views of the Himalayas and Lhasa Valley. The resort was designed from the ground up with sustainable features including solar panels, locally-sourced produce and herbs for the resort's three signature restaurants, as well as an underground water recycling system.
The eight-acre-resort complex is inspired by the nearby world-famous Sera Monastery, built in 1419, a place of great architectural and spiritual significance to this region. The Sera Monastery developed over the centuries as a place of scholarly learning, and trained hundreds of scholars, many of whom have attained fame in the Buddhist nations. There are still nunneries and hermitages on the property, and is still home to famous Tibetan Monk debates about Buddhist sacred texts.
"The Sera Monastery is beautiful, dramatic and lively, and very much what I wanted to capture about Tibetan culture," said Jean-Michel Gathy, Principal Designer of Denniston International Architects, and the architect, interior and hardscape designer for the St. Regis Lhasa. "And, while the monastery is an immense place," he continues, " I appreciated how they have created many intimate spaces and courtyards. It was an excellent model for introducing the St Regis brand to this region."
Similar to the natural beauty of the surrounding Himalayas, the resort is surrounded on all sides by high pale gray walls made from stone, and landscaped with poplar and willow trees. The buildings have exteriors of stone with dark shale/tile pagoda-style roofs, an homage to the ancient Buddhist culture that surrounds the resort. There are three main complexes with buildings that house 150 guest rooms, 12 villas and suites, and a Presidential Suite. In addition, the resort features The Decanter Wine Bar and The Iridium Spa.