Officially called Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort, the ring-shaped, 27-storey structure lies on Taihu Lake between Nanjing and Shanghai and is currently in its soft-opening phase. Its unique design was conceived by the architect Ma Yansong and constructed by Shanghai Feizhou Group. Best known in his native China, Yansong has worked with Zaha Hadid Architects in London and is responsible for the rippling Absolute Towers in Mississauga, Canada.
With two levels that underground to create a complete oval, and 27 floors above water, the Sheraton Huzhou contains 282 rooms and a host of design features intended to lure China’s rapidly growing population of luxury travellers. Jade, a symbol of elegance and pureness in Chinese culture, is found throughout the hotel. The lobby’s floor is paved with Afghanistan White Jade and features Tiger’s Eye Stone from Brazil, while the porticos and the entire ceiling are laid with Citrine, a jade that symbolizes wealth. Additionally, the lobby ceiling is decorated with 20,000 Swarovski and European natural crystal lamps which are suspended in a way intended to resemble a rolling wave.
Additional features include an extensive spa as well as a separate ‘spa village’ which features eight villas, 40 hot springs and a yacht dock. A club lounge, huge ballroom and various restaurants and bars will also be available to guests who find themselves in Huzhou. Known as the ‘City of Silk’ because of its ancient silk-production industry, the city is said to be the home of China’s tea culture as well as the capital for writing, calligraphy and painting. Nearby attractions include the Anji Bamboo Museum Garden, the 8th-century Feiying Pagoda and Huzhou Hot Spring Golf Club.