China is showing off its new wealth with an increasing number of landmark buildings.
The 27-storey Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort, looms over the skyline of Huzhou, near Shanghai, in the shape of a massive glowing doughnut.
Set on the shores of Lake Taihu and offering 321 spacious guest rooms, including 44 suites and 39 villas, it’s an ideal destination for China’s newly affluent business class.
The Sheraton website boasts that visitors to their latest hotel can see some of the areas top attractions and, perhaps more crucially, “gather with those who matter”.
At just seven degrees north of the Tropic of Cancer, Huzhou has a subtropical humid monsoon climate and an average annual temperature of 12.2-16.1C.
Known as “The City of Silk”, the ancient metropolis is situated on the southern shores of Lake Taihu in the northern part of Zheijang Province. It is hailed as the birthplace of the Far East’s famous tea culture.
Guests to the Sheraton Huzhou will stay in the most opulent surroundings.
While the hotel, which is designed by Beijing-born architect Ma Yanson, appears in the shape of a horseshoe the bottom ends are in fact connected by two basement levels.
The ostentatious lobby is lit by 20,000 Swarovski and European natural crystal lamps arranged in a wave-like formation across its ceiling, while the floor is paved with Afghan White Jade and Tiger’s Eye Stone from Brazil.
There are three restaurants, catering for tastes both domestic and international, each with private rooms, and informal liaisons can be conducted over cocktails of coffee in one of the two lounges.
Each of the Sheraton Huzhou’s guest rooms includes a private balcony, a large work desk with an ergonomic chair, High Speed Internet Access, an LCD flat screen television, and an iPod docking station.
Suites boast marble bathrooms complete with sunken bathtubs and walk-in “rainforest” showers.
While the hotel, like much of what is going on in China, seems geared towards businessmen, with vast and well-equipped conference facilities and 16 meeting spaces covering a total of 2,200sq/m.
Sheraton boasted: “The Grand Ballroom is ideal for large, lavish gatherings or conferences. Private meeting rooms on the 22nd floor offer a heightened level of exclusivity, while the best lake view can be appreciated from the 300-square-meter multipurpose Taihu Room on the 27th floor.
“The resort’s event facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art audiovisual technology, and our planning and banquet teams will work with you on every detail.”
Guests can book in for treatments at the resort’s holistic spa, which features a steam room, saunas and a range of hydrotherapy pools. A fitness centre offers gym equipment, aerobics classes and massage treatments.
Sheraton said in a statement: “The hotel’s numerous facilities are designed to help you stay busy or relax. Keep in touch with home and the office via complimentary High Speed Internet Access; our business centre offers additional support services.
“Maintain your workout regimen at our modern fitness centre, featuring state-of-the-art machines, cardiovascular equipment, and a stretch area, or take a refreshing dip in our indoor or outdoor pools.
“Within a haven of tranquility, pamper yourself with a treatment in our holistic Shine Spa for Sheraton. Choose from a range of treatments that have originated throughout the world.”
Tourists are well catered for too. For guests who want to celebrate a special day there is a 1,600sq/m private wedding island and a full time wedding coordinator on hand to help them make sure it all goes smoothly.
And for those who merely want to take in the sites of Huzhou, a city dating back some 2,300 years, there is the unique 8th-century Feiying Ta Pagoda, the 14th-century Temple of the Iron Buddha and the Anji Bambbo Museum, set in beautiful forests showcasing more than 300 species where visitors can learn about the history and culture of bamboo.
For nature lovers there is also Mogan Mountain; one of China’s best summer resorts, the picturesque area is filled with wild bamboo, hundreds of springs and waterfalls, and some 200 villas representing various architectural styles from all over the world.
Visitors can enjoy more nature at Lake Taihu. Famous for its limestone formations, this scenic and popular attraction is China’s third-largest freshwater lake and home to about 90 islands.
And golfers can play a round at the Huzhou Hot Springs Golf Club, rated the #1 golf course in China.
Rooms at the Sheraton Huzhou start from $445 per night.