FIRST SHOT

DestinAsian - - DEPARTMENTS -

Alila moves into the an­cient Chi­nese wa­ter town of Wuzhen.

For its third prop­erty in China, the Sin­ga­pore-based Alila brand has turned to one of six an­cient wa­ter towns south of the Yangtze River: Wuzhen, a pic­turesque maze of canals and well-pre­served Ming- and Qing-era ar­chi­tec­ture. Once a flour­ish­ing trade hub on a trib­u­tary of the Grand Canal, the town has been gussied up for tourism over the past two decades and now at­tracts mil­lions of vis­i­tors a year, many of them day-trip­pers from Hangzhou and Shang­hai. For those wish­ing to stay longer, the Alila Wuzhen ( alila­ho­tels.com; dou­bles from US$302) de­liv­ers a whole new level of lux­ury to its lo­cale. De­signed around wa­ter fea­tures and stone walk­ways, the 125 suites and vil­las are stylishly sim­ple, with pri­vate court­yards, light wood–pan­eled walls, and sleek fur­nish­ings (some vil­las come with their own pool). Also on hand is an ex­pan­sive spa, fine Can­tonese cui­sine at Shui Shi Kou, and a sunken bar where cock­tails are crafted us­ing lo­cally dis­tilled san bai rice wine —just the thing to toast Wuzhen’s most so­phis­ti­cated new ho­tel. —David Tse

A pool villa at the Alila Wuzhen.

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