It’s too early to tell for sure, but China’s picturesque rural landscapes, far from the bright lights, and noisy tourist crush of its metropolises, may well be the country’s answer to Italy’s Tuscan and Umbrian pleasures. This is especially the case as more neglected old piles are restored and repurposed with sensitivity and fidelity to architectural history into millennial luxury boltholes.
Wuyuan Skywells is one such example, Beijing-based anySCALE has breathed new life into this third-century-old inn in east China’s Jiangxi province, refitting the long, shaded corridors with their original brick and clay walls and interlocking courtyards of stone and timber into a remarkably slick 14-roomer in which past and present collide aesthetically with pleasant results.
In addition to working with a local artisan who restored and adapted worn and damaged decorative carvings around the property, anySCALE harnessed the skywells – a common feature in this generation of architecture to bring light and air into inner spaces – to accentuate the high-ceilinged bedrooms.
After a tour of neighbouring villages nuzzled against the sides of misty mountains along ancient postal trails lined with wild wisteria and azaleas, return for executive chef Hong JiYong’s spicy, local menu featuring delicacies like butterflied and steamed red carp from the hotel’s pond.
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Daven Wu is the Singapore Editor at Wallpaper*. A former corporate lawyer, he has been covering Singapore and the neighbouring South-East Asian region since 1999, writing extensively about architecture, design, and travel for both the magazine and website. He is also the City Editor for the Phaidon Wallpaper* City Guide to Singapore.
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