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Taking advantage of Yangshuo’s landscape of karst mountains and rolling hills, the design of Alila Yangshuo incorporates breathtaking views of the natural scenery while preserving the history and legacy of the building that the resort sits in. 

The newly opened resort is housed within what was previously a sugar mill by the Li River, and the space has been transformed by Vector Architects and Horizontal Space Design to become a contemporary 117-room resort with design elements preserved from the original architecture. In a bid to ensure the heritage of the building was best preserved, the design process involved extensive research about the sugar mill business. Artwork and influences of Chinese culture also served as further inspiration. 

To better assimilate the architecture and design with the surrounding landscape, there was extensive use of bamboo for design features such as scaffoldings and art installation pieces hung around the resort, to mimic the look of tunnels and caves found in the limestone hills nearby. 

Made mostly of sandstone bricks that were customised and inspired by sugar blocks produced in the 1920s, the building’s facades and passageways also include clever use of ventilation blocks, which help filter light into the interiors, while ensuring privacy and adding textural details to the space. 

Red volcanic rocks, which were uncovered during the construction phase of the original architecture, were grounded and used for the new terrazzo floors and wall screeds, adding subtle hints of red throughout the common interior spaces, while paying homage to the site. Potteries made from the material also serve as decor accessories within the guest rooms. 

The design of the rooms does not pale in comparison, and serves the modern needs of guests within a contemporary-style space. Bathroom walls and headboards are clad in patterned tiles made from local clay that give the rooms a strong visual effect. Guests can enjoy the in-outdoor experience and take in the picturesque views of the surrounding greenery through fully operable glass balcony doors, from the comfort of their suites. 


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