Blossom Dreams — Guilin, China
It won’t be too controversial to state baldly that the star attraction of this 23-room boutique property in Guilin’s Yangshuo County is not its looming silhouette, but rather its spectacular natural backdrop of craggy karst mountains, lush green patchwork of grain fields, and mirror flat rivers studded with old fashioned sampans.
Working hard to compete with the view, Co-Direction Design has softened the façade of a pre-existing building with a tableau of garden paths paved with white stones and pergolas, alongside a vast low-hanging pavilion lounge that’s fringed with bamboo and a reflection pool. It’s a beatific spot even in summer as cool mountain air is drawn in through high clerestories.
In contrast, the rooms – and the suites, in particular – are a study in modernity, the cool white interiors lined with marble and dark timber, slender four poster beds, fabric covered walls and delicately carved pieces of jade. But even here, Co-Direction Design has wisely pulled in that vivid view through floor to ceiling windows and generously proportioned balconies.
Similarly, local chef Xie Jianlan cleaves close to the bucolic playbook with a menu based on regional farm dishes including fish sautéed with ginger, garlic and, of all things, beer; and homey handmade noodles. §