Tucked against China’s dramatic karst mountains, the 117-room Alila Yangshuo is set to debut in July among lush countryside and picturesque Guilin temples. The resort—set within a restored sugar mill—will bring to its pastoral setting a welcome dose of luxury and style.
Designed by Dong Gong of Vector Architects and Ju Bin of Horizontal Space Design, the property expertly blends the retro architecture of the 1960s-era sugar mill buildings with contemporary touches and modern amenities. Many of the mill’s original buildings have been preserved and re-envisioned. The sugar pressing room has been transformed into the airy Sugar House Restaurant (featuring a seasonal farm-to-table menu of both Chinese and Western cuisine), while the original refining room is now home to the ultra-modern 1969 Bar (specializing in—what else?—sweet cocktails using house-distilled rum). But it is the resort’s expansive outdoor pool that is the most breathtaking transformation of all, framed by dramatic steel columns that once served as mill’s sugarcane dock.
Guests can spend their days among the natural wonders of Yangshuo, rock climbing and mountain biking the nearby karst hills or floating the Yulong river on a traditional bamboo raft. Après-adventure R&R can be found at Alila’s subterranean spa, built from volcanic rocks unearthed during the resort’s construction. The tranquil space features five treatment rooms and offers Balinese-style treatments, many of which make use of the black sugar still produced in the region.