Alila Yang­shuo

Guilin, China

Living Etc - - TRAVEL ⁄ ETC -

The low­down A con­verted Six­ties sugar mill set in mag­nif­i­cent coun­try­side. Best for De­sign-con­scious trav­ellers seek­ing a pared-back oa­sis.

By­pass the Great Wall, skip Bei­jing and head straight down to the south of China for Guangxi’s wind­ing rivers, pagoda-dot­ted lakes and dra­matic lime­stone land­scape. Just out­side of the an­cient city of Guilin you’ll find Yang­shuo, an area so pic­turesque it’s been a pop­u­lar item on back­pack­ers’ lists since the Eight­ies. Slightly off this well-worn path is Alila Yang­shuo, a new well­ness re­treat flanked by tree-cov­ered peaks that strad­dle a curve of the Li River. The ho­tel’s im­pos­ing ar­chi­tec­ture com­prises a se­ries of mid-cen­tury in­dus­trial build­ings, with lofty pub­lic spa­ces that are a min­i­mal­ist’s dream. Head to the sub­ter­ranean spa for a black sugar scrub, take rock climb­ing lessons in the ho­tel’s gar­dens and dine on south­ern Chi­nese clas­sics in Philip Zhu’s Sugar House res­tau­rant. Alila’s pièce de ré­sis­tance, how­ever, is a pil­lar-lined lap pool look­ing out over the spec­tac­u­lar moun­tains and val­leys be­yond.

Book it Dou­ble rooms from £240 (alila­ho­tels.com/yang­shuo).

Words / Pa­trick hamil­ton Court­ney

FROM TOP The out­door pool has epic views; in the lobby, a sunken, cir­cu­lar seat­ing area in a dra­matic red hue con­trasts with the earthy pal­ette used else­where in the re­sort

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