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