After the powerful grip the country faced due to the ripple effects of COVID-19, China is bouncing back to business. Reports show positive growth in hotel construction activity as well as occupancy rates, a result of increased staycations, domestic travel, business travels, leisure trips, and relaxed restrictions after the two-year hiatus.
As business picks back and tourism starts to stretch its legs, now is the time to take inventory of the best places and hotels to visit. China is known for its grandeur in buildings, its modern and contemporary designs taking design and architecture to new frontiers. Keeping that in mind, we have identified the most unique hotels in the country, which are sure to raise your eyebrows a tad, both in surprise and awe.
Be it a beautiful ring at the center of a lake, or luxury underground in an abandoned quarry, or marvel at the architectural extravaganza of uprooting and assembling centuries’ old buildings to create a new contemporary hotel, this list is sure to tug at your curiosity and wonder as few others have.
Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland:
It is a wonderland, no doubt, but this one is underground. At least 17 out of 19 stories are underground, of which two are underwater. Located around 30 kms from Shanghai, the hotel took shape in an abandoned quarry. The hotel was designed by Martin Jochman and his studio JADE + QA, and consists of 337 guestrooms; but most uniquely, it took more than 10 years to build it.
The Castle Hotel, Dalian:
A Bavarian castle in China sounds like a Disney script. And yet here you are. The Castle is a 292-guestroom hotel that was recently opened in the city of Dalian. A part of the Luxury Collection portfolio, the hotel castle offers a global rainbow of experiences under one Chinese roof. You will find influences from Europe, Australia, and Japan, blending into Chinese architecture and cultural haven.
Hotel Eclat Beijing:
The five-star hotel is situated within the iconic Parkview Green complex in China’s Chaoyang. The hotel forms part of the 2 million sq ft landmark that has carved a special place in the city thanks to its unique design and sustainability features. The hotel features 100 rooms and drools of luxe features, attractive enough for Lade Gaga to choose it as a location for one of her birthday bashes.
Most bizarre yet fascinating are its suite themes – Darth Vader, Barbie, Harry Potter, and Midnight in Paris really cannot fail to impress!
As challenging it seems, as beautiful it is. The Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort is shaped like a tube out of the water and gives the ancient ‘city of silk’ a contemporary stroke. Its 83 suites and 38 villas all come with private balconies and are all blessed with ample natural lighting and views of Lake Taihu.
Commune by the Great Wall:
A luxury resort you would have never seen or heard of before. So exclusive, it has the design brains of 12 Asian architects. Originally designed by Chinese architect couple Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin, Commune is now managed and operated by Hyatt. The resort has two clusters of villas, the Walnut Valley and Stoney Valley; and some exclusive villas in each from the original owners, such as the Suitcase House designed by Hong Kong based architect Gary Chang, the Cantilever House by Chinese architect Antonio Ochoa and the Bamboo Wall House designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.
Park Hyatt Ningbo Resort and Spa:
For sweeping views of Hangzhou and the hills in its backdrop, the 49-floor Park Hyatt is luxury in the city’s heart. The hotel offers a great blend of modern and traditional. The design mimics a Chinese merchant’s mansion from the Ming dynasty, but present-day China can be revelled from its long 16-foot windows in its public spaces.
A living museum is what Amanyangyun is often referred to as. A part of the Aman Resorts portfolio of resorts, this hotel was part of restoration works to a 2,000-year-old forest, as well as other historical buildings from the Ming and Qing dynasties. The task involved dismantling and rebuilding these buildings on the new site where the hotel is located.