Rissai Valley, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, the latest resort in the prestigious Ritz-Carlton Reserve portfolio, was unveiled today 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.
“We are thrilled to debut Rissai Valley, China’s first Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Jiuzhaigou, one of the most stunningly beautiful and culturally rich areas of the world,” said Tina Edmundson, President, Luxury, Marriott International. “Rissai Valley is the sixth property in a rare portfolio of exclusive estates worldwide, offering an intimate and transformative experience rooted in heartfelt care and human connection. I cannot wait for guests to enjoy the ancient indigenous culture and traditions of Jiuzhaigou through a unique Ritz-Carlton Reserve lens.”
The Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area covers nearly 180 thousand acres 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 colorful cultural performances. Jiuzhaigou is located about 265 miles north of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, with daily connecting flights from Chengdu to Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport. Rissai Valley is approximately 55 miles, or about a 75-minute drive from the airport.
Rissai Valley’s intimate 87 villas offer magnificent 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 to reflect the extraordinary landscapes. The elegant 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-colored 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 culturalist, 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, ensuring a seamless stay experience. In this idyllic setting, guests can discover the artistry of Tibetan folk dance and classical music, as well as discover calm and balance through the meditative practice of Thangka painting, a unique Tibetan art form. In the early morning, guests can also join on a leisurely hike into the pristine forests surrounding the property.
Dining at Rissai Valley offers memorable experiences complemented by the beautiful surroundings, from romantic al fresco dinners in a picturesque garden setting overlooking the forests, to memorable family picnics by crystal-clear streams or elegant cocktail events against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. Bo Ri Village offers all-day dining in an idyllic ancient village situated opposite the Reserve. Refined Sichuan restaurant Cai Lin Xuan highlights local specialties, and at La Montagne, diners can select from a western menu and enjoy al fresco barbecues with breathtaking views. The Lobby Lounge offers a relaxing and intimate venue for afternoon teas or evening cocktails.
A true sanctuary dedicated to holistic wellness and peace of mind, the Rissai Spa invites guests to unwind through ancient healing modalities and treatments inspired by Tibetan philosophies. The spa offers a selection of healing practices 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. An expansive infinity swimming pool invites guests to take a dip in its clear blue waters, framed by a breathtaking view of a Tibetan village against towering mountain peaks.
For families, Rissai Valley offers experiences that will capture the imaginations of young guests, with dedicated indoor and outdoor facilities. At the Reserve Kids Club, Rissai Kids is an engaging and immersive program 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 marvelous 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.”