“Chengdu is very popular for its underground culture, hip-hop, art, independent fashion designers, and super-friendly LGBT community,” says Kurt Macher, who moved to the city as general manager of The Temple House
hotel three years ago. The 100-room outpost had opened a year earlier as part of the Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li restoration and retail development, which also created a pedestrianized district with a mall, built around restored heritage buildings such as the 1,600-year-old Daci Temple. In the brief time since his arrival, Macher has watched the neighborhood transform into the city’s place to be seen.
Free-spending and well-funded Chinese millennials stock up and strike poses throughout Taikoo Li mall’s open-air thoroughfares, then rally for the night with DJs in Jing bar at The Temple House before moving on to hours-long hot-pot feasts and the clubs. A short walk from the hotel, the Shuijingfang Museum provides a fascinating tour of the country’s oldest distillery, a vast building where visitors can watch workers create labor-intensive baijiu
(a sorghum-based spirit) in pits in the same way it’s been made there since 1408.