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1 Hotels makes its Asia debut with a sprawling, eco-luxury resort at Haitang Bay

A forerunner of the eco-luxe hospitality segment, US-based boutique hotelier 1 Hotels is doing things a little differently for its first property in Asia — putting down roots on the tropical Chinese island of Sanya.

Along with seven food and beverage outlets and a spa by Bamford, guests can anticipate one of the largest private gardens in Hainan — encompassing over 43,000 sq.ft. of lush, biodiverse green space.

If your preferred holiday destination is somewhere in Europe or Southeast Asia, you could be forgiven for not having heard of 1 Hotels. Launched in 2015 with two properties in Miami and New York, it has since become a fixture among eco-conscious travellers across North America, with additional openings in Brooklyn and West Hollywood garnering critical acclaim (the latter even cracked the ‘top five’ of the Conde Nast Traveller Reader’s Choice awards). Now, the brand has aspirations to go global — pivoting away from Canada and the US to open its first-ever hotel in Hainan, China.

In the mould of brands like The Sukhothai or Six Senses, the newly opened 1 Hotels Haitang Bay proposes a vision of luxury accommodation that is big on environmental and cultural sustainability.

The property “draws inspiration from the rugged beauty of [Hainan Island]”, going beyond the now rather typical shtick of filtered water and fewer linen changes to give guests a tangible eco-conscious experience.

Singapore-based design studio Farm, which oversaw the project, were mindful to incorporate motifs and building materials native to Sanya. Facades are made of naturally occurring materials like red cedar and lava stone; while a multitude of public spaces incorporate ‘living green walls,’ a tactile expression of the surrounding bay’s lush vegetation.

Meanwhile, private spaces comprise 294 distinctive villas, suites and rooms — all conceived with the same emphasis on sustainability and harmony with nature as the rest of the hotel. “We wanted to capture the textures, diversity and spirit of the island,” says Farm senior designer Nina Arily. “We were so taken with Sanya’s fertile volcanic plains, green forested hills, sandy beaches and sparkling waters.”

In light of its relative seclusion, 1 Hotels Haitang Bay boasts no less than seven F&B outlets. Again, each champions a refined and relaxed experience — many of them focused on authentic Min and Kra-Dai flavours. A noodle house, fine dining restaurant and oceanfront rooftop bar are just some of the culinary destinations guests are invited to sample; all making use of the an off-site organic farm that supplies the hotel with Hainan’s best seasonal produce. For those who prize wellness over dining, there is also a Sky Deck (perfect for early morning yoga), fitness centre and full-service spa. The latter concept has been designed exclusively for 1 Hotels by Bamford — the award-winning British spa brand that’s considered a pioneering voice in holistic wellness.

1 Hotel Haitang Bay, Sanya is now open (the property’s Sky Bar and Adult Pool are expected to begin operating in mid-June). To learn more about the property and accommodation rates, visit 1 Hotels online.

Randy Lai
Having worked in the Australian digital media landscape for over 5 years, Randy has extensive experience in men's specialist categories such as classic clothing, watches and spirits. He is partial to mid-century chronographs and a nice chianti.