by Jincy IypeJan 10, 2022
The Skyline Coast, a popular tourist attraction in Sanya, Hainan, China, with a vast seascape and natural sounds of crashing, cresting waves, becomes the inspiration for this tranquil, expansive hotel designed by GS Design. Garbed in stark white with free-flowing arches in abundance that come alive in a fresh, minimal aesthetic, the Sumei Skyline Coast Boutique Hotel has been designed to "relieve people's spirits in the immersive blue natural ambience," the Chinese architects share. “The Chinese character Su means rest, while mei means a sweet dream. Beyond its literal meaning, Sumei carries our client’s aspiration, of providing a comfortable and elegant space of enchanting scenery for guests, to build an “Instagram-worthy” spot, gaining long-term popularity,” they add.
The contextual design plays on the arching forms of ocean waves and white sea foam for its skin and interiors - from the outside, the beachside hotel looks like the ocean waves rising and falling along the shore, while for the interiors, each peak of the ocean wave encloses an independent frame, presenting vivid pictures of the infinite blue ocean. "Art comes from life and goes beyond life. (we) excel at exploring and expressing the abundance of minimalist art, and an arc is a scene show window within this project,” the designers elaborate.
Largely experiential and cosy, the hotel's architecture features geometric balconies and arched apertures on its facades, garbed in crisp white to juxtapose at once with the aqua blue of the sea and the soft blue of the sky, ala the famous forms dotting the Mykonos-Santorini coastlines in Greece. The hotel lounge opens itself fully with a reception area, expansive seating spaces, a photography booth and a high tea room upon entry. The height differences in the shallow water area placed here further polish the artistic vibe, basing its contemporary blueprint on the coastline winding a few metres nearby. The Chinese designers craft the boundary of this area into a multifunctional platform, presenting a rich layered visual effect with the pool and the ocean.
The endless idyllic white dressing the pleasant hotel design creates a specific, eye-catching contrast to the azure sky, restless seascape and hued sunsets and sunrises, ensuring a powerfully cinematic backdrop, captured in its arched vistas and numerous openings. “We work to craft the space into a timely and sophisticated art piece with a long lifespan of usage by adopting this classic, timeless colour,” relay Huang Yuanman and Li Liangchao, Design Directors of the Shenzhen-based office. “The blue sky, vast ocean, beach and palm are collected within the arch-shape frame to perfection, thanks to the precise aesthetic proportion. Wandering by the consecutive arch-shape windows, people are offered a broad vision of pure white, never-ending spaces, enjoying vivid natural scenes everywhere,” they continue.
The neat arches follow inside the Sumei Skyline Coast Boutique Hotel beginning from the lowest floor with a free, open layout and next to partitions, existing as a complex comprising a bar and an infinity pool, opening in different periods respectively or serving as the heart of pool parties. "The swimming pool visually integrates with the boundless ocean and the infinite blue sky, presenting a natural experience of swimming freely in the vast ocean,” says GS Design.
The champagne bottle-style matrix and the soft golden colours complement each other well to embellish the glaring white context of the Chinese architecture, where guests can appreciate the sunsets from any point within the hotel, while walking, standing, lounging, or even swimming. “With a glass of wine, splendid natural lights and scenes, the romantic vibe in the space deserves every moment,” the designers relay. “When people’s sight extends from the infinity pool and meets the invisible connection of pure white and blue, it would turn their perception and imagination to roof deck,” they add.
The roof deck with another curving pool receives broad views of the hotel and the spaces outside, overlooking the misty green hills and the boundless sea in near sight. The designers developed the vivid landscape to the most, by dividing the space into many aesthetic settings including viewing, seating, hot spring bathing, photography areas, and more. The shallow water mirrors the sky, while the slight stone steps and the sunken seating area express the space’s minimal order. Arches swerve and dance across the hotel becoming installations and backdrops for photography, increasing interaction with being of the space at personal levels.
“(We) deconstructed the art with simple graphic morphemes, depicted circles inside the square, and made them overlap with each other to form a loop, which ensures an in-depth vertical layered vision effect in the hot spring area. The shifting of light and shadow depicts poetry on the spatial structure; the silhouette of the waves, the afterglow of the sunset, and the ripples of the hot spring pool are all intersections of time and space,” shares GS Design.
Repeated geometries of circles, semi-circles, squares and arches intersect and weave through the space, as individual frames, creating a three-dimensional and dramatic aesthetic. The visible arching door of the transition space highlights the free and open nature of the entry, encouraging visitors to linger longer at the precipice of the “secret white wonderland”. Perfect proportions are applied to visualise the pure and serene interior design, sans speck or distractions in the form of heavy accents or artworks, to let people’s imaginations flow, meeting the scenery at the right moment. “When the light and shadow penetrate the door and into the interiors, the structural relationship between points, lines and surfaces becomes lively, unique and fun,” they add.
Natural light is channeled to frame the picturesque, created scenery of the hotel design, explaining its textures, surfaces and the subtle play of light and shadows with ease. Vaulted corridors lead to the 45 guest rooms, where circular skylights placed directly overhead the beds mirror the geometries seen throughout the hotel, like the round headboards. Arched recesses also host seating across the space. While windows bring in the waves and hues of the sunrises, the skylights become conduits of sparkling starlight, furthering the natural vibe of the space. GS Design also maximised the introduction of natural light at the sea level, for guests to enjoy the seascape unabashed.
Subtle perceptions of the scenery are shown through stolen glimpses, from various perspectives and vantage points brought forth by the choreographed vistas within the hotel, accompanied by playing with the height differences of the placed furniture. All employed bedding and bespoke furniture within the Sumei Skyline Coast Boutique Hotel follow the all-white aesthetic, playing with subtle textures, materials, soft furnishings and hues of white, to differentiate the elements, where a friendship of wood veneer, white stone, white ceramic and textural art paint sets a dialogue between delicate and rough.
The soothing, sun-drenched, luxury retreat of laid-back sophistication welcomes the sun as it starts its descent into the sea, while scattered fishing boats return to shore in the distance. The sparse street lamps come alive along the coast one by one, interweaving with the afterglow of the rich sunset, creating a soft, warm and peaceful ambience that perfumes the roof deck profusely, a natural wonderland away from the hustle and noise of a city to enhance people’s sojourns where they can seek relaxation to reset themselves.
Name: Sumei Skyline Coast Boutique Hotel
Location: Tianya Dristrict, Sanya, Hainan, China
Area: 3,200 sqm
Year of completion: 2021
Client and owner: Sumei Skyline Coast Boutique Hotel, Sanya
Architecture, Interiors and Furnishing: GS Design
Design Directors: Liangchao Li, Yuanman Huang
Furnishing Director: Yu Feng
Design Team: Chao Li, Zigeng Luo