You recline restfully in the lounge chair and gaze out of the window. The sun has made its appearance over Qufu. It peeks over the assembly of clouds and with its rays, gently awakens the city beneath.
Delicately, you move your finger along the meandering silhouette of the Yi River. It leaves no traces in the air, but etches a visual impression in your mind. A simple affair - the breaking of dawn - yet it transcends into extraordinary at the enchanting Shangri-La Hotel, Qufu.
With the city awake, you anticipate the day's activities. A guide arranged by the hotel concierge will be picking you up for a day tour, but first, breakfast calls at Café Kong.
Thoughts of al fresco dining in the lush, landscaped garden whets your appetite. The food shows itself in a myriad of colours, amazing you with a plethora of flavours. After a fulfilling breakfast, you embark on the eagerly-awaited cultural immersion.
The Confucius Temple marks your first stop. Classical Chinese architecture displays its magnificence outwardly, enrapturing you with the rich history it conceals. The tour continues with a visit to the landmark Kong Family Mansion and Confucius Cemetery.
As you take in the sights, your guide relates story after story, lending many insights into the great philosopher's longstanding legacy.
As the day comes to a close, you return to your suite for much needed respite. Authentic Qufu dishes and Cantonese delights are mere steps away at the elegant Shang Palace. This peaceful interlude before dinner gives you just enough time to slip into a warm, soothing bath.
Sitting in the calm water with your head resting on a bath pillow, you let indelible memories of the day trickle by. Tomorrow, you will continue exploring. For now, allow yourself a little indulgence. Let Shangri-La Hotel, Qufu, lead the way.