By Meghan Dwyer
Tucked away in a valley of eastern China’s Huangshan range—also known as Yellow Mountain—at an elevation of 2,600 feet, the Sunriver Resort & Spa Huangshan is surrounded by clouds, foliage, and mist. Composed of five Huizhou-style buildings that are nestled into the hillside, the property acts as an extension of the land.
Formerly the Yungu Hotel, the 30-year-old complex is a Huangshan Scenic Region landmark that embodies the Chinese philosophy of “unity of man with nature.” Originally designed by Chinese architect Wang Guoyu, it was recently refreshed by Hong Kong-based CCD/Cheng Chung Design. “The entire design is developed around the combination of tranquility and modernity,” says Joe Cheng, founder of the studio. “The renovation was carried out on the premise of completely preserving the inherited Hui architecture. It took advantage of the favorable natural resources of Mount Huangshan and absorbed local culture.”
The design team spent more than six years repairing the buildings, implementing modern design techniques to reactivate their Huizhou soul. All structures are seamlessly integrated into the environment by way of open-air atriums and verandas, while local materials were used to maintain the original feel of the spaces—also helping to minimize expensive transportation costs to the hard-to-reach region.
While many aspects of the resort, like the historic gray roof tiles, were left intact, CCD has made subtle adjustments to meet the demands of the modern traveler. Furniture and decor are contemporary, featuring elegant, clean lines that merge harmoniously with the atmosphere. In the guestrooms, windows frame views of the gardens and mountains, and outdoor corridors and courtyards help create the ambience of an ancient village.
“The entire hotel retains many traditional and time-stamped details, such as iron door handles warm to the touch,” says Cheng. “In the courtyard, the small landscapes are made of stones left from old buildings, time-honed details designed for a personal touch that may not be apparent in pictures.”
Photos: CCD/Cheng Chung Design