Aventree — Hangzhou, China
When it comes to location, the owners of the newly opened Aventree could not have picked a prettier spot. Set at the top of Hangzhou’s Wengjiashan mountain in a neighbourhood speckled with tea farmers and a tableau of scenic West Lake, the 15-room hotel is a quiet bolt-hole that’s far from the madding crowd but near enough for excursive strikes to the area’s famed landmarks.
The Tokyo-based architecture firm Kooo (which is not a typo) has converted the original five-storey farm house with finesse. A sequence of Corten steel pipes on the façade and property fence provide a unifying look, while the internal spaces have been reshaped into austere rooms lined with blonde timber, floating bed platforms, and airy bathrooms. A contrasting mood pervades the public spaces with Kooo adding black walnut to the lobby, bronzed steel for doors and handrails, and a staircase swathed in tactile linen.
Throughout the hotel, mirrors have been used with great effect, bringing in both diffused light and scenes of the countryside. On misty days, the view through the floor to ceiling glass windows of the restaurant is especially evocative, though more adventurous guests will thrill to the hotel’s offer of tents for a camping jaunt in the mountain.
Personally, we’re staying put for executive chef Chen Yanhai’s beef roll with egg, and roast chicken wings scented with Longjing green tea harvested from the neighbouring plantations.