Peak Time

With their gorgeous traditional naxi clay roofs and stone courtyards, the 55 villas at the Banyan Tree resort, banyantree.com, have become the ne plus ultra of accommodation in mountainous Lijiang, a historic southwestern Chinese town and designated World Heritage Site. Red lacquered woods and heated private plunge pools are among the highlights of these expansive, 350-sq-m houses, pictured above, and all have unobstructed views of Himalayan peaks and grazing buffalo. If that doesn't satiate your appetite for exotic luxury, then you can get a second helping at the Banyan Tree Ringha, a sister property four hours' drive north....

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