The Intercontinental Sanya Resort is in Sanya, Hainan, China's tropical island and comprises of a hotel with 350 rooms and related facilities. The hotel stretches from a busy entertainment spine to the natural forest of the rocky point.
One third of the rooms are located in a 10-storey curved linear block that frames the arrival space. All rooms have sea views, and are accessed off naturally ventilated open corridors that have views over the surrounding mountains. These wide-frontage rooms have bathrooms with a view, and large balconies with built-in daybeds. These rooms work equally well for holiday or business, as they are close to the lobby and function facilities. Two thirds of the rooms are located in huge water courtyards, and are more resort-like in feel. These rooms are an innovative hybrid of detached villas and room blocks. Each room has a private open air garden bathroom, and a detached cabana that is reached via a bridge or garden. The cabanas sit within the huge watergardens, each a hectare in size.
The design combines masterplanning, landscape, architecture and interiors to set up a series of views and vistas to the sea, framed by coconut trees, reflected in water, and then reframed again with stone, timber and fabric, ensuring every room has a special view. The design of the various public areas varies from urban and formal to casual and beachy, allowing the hotel to address many different markets and customers.
The entire resort is designed as a patchwork of inhabited gardens. From the sky gardens and flowering bougainvilleas in the sky block to the huge watergardens in the room blocks, to the walled courtyard gardens of the guestroom walkways to the orchid gardens in the spa, every space relates to an outdoor space of different character and mood. This strategy shows off Sanya's tropical climate to the fullest. Even the roofs are treated as gardens, so the surrounding high-rise blocks look down at and over the hotel as a huge garden design providing a foreground framing their sea views. The geometry of the roofs and gardens are inspired by the rice-paddy fields of Sanya. Coconut palms frame views of the sea.The design is inspired by Chinese screens, palaces and compounds, interpreted in a contemporary fashion. The huge precast concrete screen is an aperiodic mathematical tiling.
Stylistically the hotel is contemporary, fresh and light. Making full use of the availability of craftsmanship, materials and technology of China, the architecture and interiors are designed together to create a continuous integrated contemporary Asian environment.
The hotel is designed to sustainable principles. Passive energy saving design (large overhangs, natural light, cross-ventilation, shaded courtyards, and planted roofs), use of indigenous seasonal landscape and water conservation and recycling are some of the strategies used.
The overall design innovation is in the reworking of the large hotel model into a new typology, which combines garden expression with urban typologies to create a hierarchy of privacy and vibrancy that is highly successful.