Add:395 Village, Moganshan
Credit Cards Accepted
English Service Available
For the past ten months, my downstairs neighbors have had workers remodeling their place, and for the past ten months those workers have been drilling through the concrete that separates our respective abodes, as though they were contracted by Halliburton and that apartment was an Arctic Wildlife Refuge. Every day, seven days a week, like clockwork, my tentative slumber is broken at 8:00am by what sounds like the repeated grinding of Fran Drescher’s face into my ceiling, over and over again, with no reprieve in sight. Had I known, when I’d signed the lease, this place actually was purgatory, I probably would have kept house hunting, but hindsight is what it is. So when my boss called to tell me we were headed up to Naked Retreats to spend a quiet evening on Moganshan, I took the news as though I’d just received a temporary pardon from God. Hyperbole, you accuse? Read on.
After a pleasant drive out of honk-happy Hangzhou, we soon found ourselves wistfully awash in the fresh air and lush greens of Mount Mogan. As we navigated the sycamore-lined switchbacks in our ascent to Naked Retreats we could feel the built-up stress waft off our backs like fog off a mid-morning lake. We were greeted by Doug, the onsite manager, who, despite his allegiance to the Boston Bruins, proved to be both amiable and articulate. (Our apologies, he’s fantastic, but it is hockey season.) He introduced us to his coworkers, (The staff by the way, in all regards, impeccable.), and to the friendly family of dogs who shared the mountainside with them. With the dogs leading the way, tails in full wag, Doug guided us up along some old footpaths on our Decompression Walk. It’s the perfect name for that walk, and a perfect way to start a relaxing retreat. We stopped at a clearing, where one could see over the tops of the trees. The valley below us flowed forth a verdant deluge of bamboo farms, oaks and ivy. We closed our eyes, took a few deep breathes, and exhaled. You do this all the time (hopefully), but here your breath seems to take so much more with it. The traffic. The crowds. The sound of drills in the morning. The sound of my wife, which is a lot like the drills (I’m married to the Chinese Fran Drescher). Everything. We opened our eyes, and took in again all that lay before us with a renewed appreciation for the profound beauty of nature. Then my boss farted. The mood was ruined, and Doug, looking defeated, took us to our bungalow.
If you’ve little more than a weekend to try to relax and unwind, then your accommodations are going to play a big part, and, at Naked Retreats, they deliver. We stayed in the Huahua Bungalow, but toured every other lodge, bungalow, and studio on the grounds, and rest assured they are worth every jiao. Each living space has been painstakingly renovated, refurbished, and decorated. The bungalows are equipped with full kitchens to cater to the gourmand in you, and the studios offer the perfect atmosphere for working on that novel you’ve always been meaning to finish, or in my case, the manifesto I need to complete denouncing the malign accusations of my ex-girlfriend, Rhonda. All the little things are taken care of, and too numerous to mention other than to say, right after you enter your accommodations, you feel right at home. If your home were infinitely better than it actually is. Case in point, at Naked Retreats, you can drink the tap water. Temporary pardon by God doesn’t sound so hyperbolic now, now does it?
In our bungalow, on the first floor, a quaint, wood burning stove warmed both the house and our hearts. In our living room, a large multi-person lounge bed was edged with a two-tier shelf stocked with books, board games, and DVDs, among which was the director’s cut of The Abyss. How cool is that? Through the double doors past the dining area we found our own private courtyard that in the fading twilight reminded us of Tuscany. Old stone walls enclosed us as a mountain creek trickled, by design, through it and into our own private outdoor shower, which by the way, you must use. Nothing beats getting nude and sudsy in the brisk night air. To relish the moment, we popped open our first bottle of wine, as one of Naked Retreats’ trained cooks arrived to prepare our romantic, yet strictly professional, candlelight dinner for two.
Maybe it was the Cabernet, or the fresh mountain air, or the fact that the chicken we were eating was just pecking happily about our feet only moments ago, but we both agreed it was the best chicken we’d ever had. The garlic mashed potatoes were just right, and although we’ve always held steamed vegetables in the same side dish esteem as coleslaw, these were not to be missed. How you get carrots that tender without steeping them in diazepam is beyond me. We finished off our meal with the lovely bottle of sparkling wine that came with it, and retired once again to our private, outdoor, Tuscan-style, courtyard.
We were fortunate that a cold front had just blown through a few days prior, because, as we whiled away the early evening that surrounded us, it could not have been more clear and calm. Astronomy lovers, this is a fantastic place to glass the sky. With your naked eye you could not only clearly see all the major constellations, but even distant galaxy clusters. It was planetarium clear until about 10:00pm. It was, in a word, “Sagan-esque.” In a better word: spellbinding. We opened our 3rd bottle of wine.
Prior to dinner, and the subsequent euphoria it induced, Doug informed us of an optional, nighttime hike we could take to an old, abandoned house inhabited by ghosts, but first let’s recap. Naked Retreats offers amazing accommodations, a trained staff that will happily cook a delicious meal for you (not to mention, do the dishes afterward), tap water you can drink, a view of the night sky on par with the Lowell Observatory, and an authentic haunted house. Did we mention the entire place is environmentally friendly? We didn’t? Well it is. They’ve literature on the subject in each of the houses, and we encourage you to read it, but back to the point. What doesn’t this place offer? We haven’t even gotten to the bedrooms, but there’s a reason.
After a meal fit for a king, and 3 bottles of wine, we opted out of the hike to the haunted house (providing us a perfectly good excuse to come back), and decided, albeit in poor judgment, to open a 4th bottle of wine and watch the director’s cut of The Abyss. Needless to say, we succeed in opening the wine and starting the movie, but both of us were out cold in the firelight before the opening credits finished rolling. So we did not get into our respective beds until well past midnight, which is a shame, because those beds are like cocoons for angels.
I woke refreshed, spry, and with the sun. Dawn was breathtaking, and the fact that I could enjoy it while going to the bathroom made it all the more enjoyable, which brings me to the bathrooms, and I assume your praise, considering that segue. The bathrooms are adorable, and fit the aesthetic of the place to a T. We were also impressed by the full tubes of Crest brand toothpaste they offer in each fully furnished bathroom, as opposed to the one-use, dual-purpose toothpaste/caulk amalgam so many other hotels provide. All the linens, from the bath towels to the bed sheets, were of the utmost quality and make you wonder why you skimp on such things at home.
As we lazily moved back downstairs, everything we needed for a full, hearty breakfast was waiting for us: Farm fresh eggs, bacon, mushrooms, peppers, onions, and a fresh baked loaf of bread that brought a tear of fond reminiscence to our eyes. Also that bottle of wine we opened the night before had plenty of time to breath. Wine with breakfast? Are we royalty? It felt like it.
After breakfast we packed up, and went for a short hike around in the fresh light of morning. It was harvest season for the bamboo, and people were busy bundling it up and getting it ready for transport. We, sadly, had to gather our stuff together and get ready to transport ourselves back to the real world that lay an hour south of this tranquil sanctuary. We checked out, bid adieu to Doug, and thanked him emphatically for everything, because it was the least we could do in return for all he and his staff had done for us during our stay.
So go to, http://www.nakedretreats.cn, check out what they have to offer, book a place, and enjoy. Also, don’t forget to thank us. Actually thank them. We don’t need to tell you that though. You will.
Pick up: You can arrange to be picked up from the Hangzhou International Airport, the Hangzhou train station and/or the surrounding West Lake area. The drive takes about an hour. Prices below are for single trips.
By Car: naked Retreats is located in Mogaowu Village (梅高坞村), Moganshan. To get there by car get on Hangning Expressway (杭宁高速), and head towards Deqing. Get on S304 until you see the sign for the G104. When you see the sign for Moganshan, turn left. This will bring you to the mountain itself, for detailed directions on how to find them, please visit their website at: www.nakedretreats.cn.
For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call them on (021)6431 8901