Latest Project From Starchitect Ma Yansong Is Huzhou’s First Five-Star Hotel
Whether you see a giant horseshoe, slinky, or traditional Chinese arch bridge, the new Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort is hard to miss. The latest project from starchitect Ma Yansong’s Beijing firm MAD Architects is 100 meters high and 116 meters wide, covering an area of 75 acres. The 321 rooms include 40 suites, 37 villas, and presidential suites, each with a view of the fabled Lake Tai, China’s third largest freshwater body.
The US$1.5 billion luxury resort, which boasts a 28-ton Persian jade rough in its lobby and a marina for guests arriving by yacht, is the first international five star hotel in Huzhou (湖州), a city in Eastern China two hours inland from Shanghai with a population of 2.5 million and known for its silk.
The hotel represents a trend for investors to shift focus to less developed, tier two cities. Sheraton, the largest brand under the Starwood Hotels & Resorts banner, is also a China market pioneer. Thirty years ago, the Great Wall Sheraton Hotel Beijing became the first five-star international hotel in mainland China. Ten years ago, the hotelier helped put Sanya on the tourism map with the Sheraton Sanya.
In the evenings, the LED lights on the metal façade of Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort create a reflection on the water that is supposed to resemble the moon (not to mention the figure eight, a fortuitous number in Chinese culture). The design speaks to Ma’s philosophy of harmonious integration between the man-made and nature. The 38-year-old Beijing native has witnessed his hometown undergo several transformations in his lifetime and seems to have internalized and indeed embraced the concept of dual embodiment, a contemporary hybrid of past and future: the LED arch bridge.
Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort aims to be fully operational by fall of this year.