One wouldn’t expect to see a property as spectacular as Alila Anji just 90 minutes drive from Hangzhou international airport. Located in Anji County in China’s northwestern Zhejiang province, which was designated by the Chinese government as the country’s first National Ecological County, Alila Anji feels a world apart from the city.
Offering picturesque views of Tian Fu Lake surrounded by 60,000 hectres of bamboo groves and tea plantations that have been left pristine and untouched by human intervention – there are no roads, no houses and no pollution. Come spring, a grove of plum trees adjacent to the resort begin to blossom, creating an entirely new landscape that’s equally – if not more – breathtaking.
Opened in 2016, Alila Anji’s design is inspired by traditional Chinese villages, with 74 villas and guestrooms on the property that feature whitewashed walls and contrasting dark-tiled roofs. Every villa offers a terrace or pavilion with sweeping lake or mountain views, which are complemented by light, airy and minimalist interiors; think pieces made of bamboo and native woods, hand-woven textiles, and local ceramics and antiques.
The aesthetics may be inspired by the past, but Alila Anji’s in-room amenities are as modern as they come – for example, each villa boasts a 47-inch flat screen and Wi-Fi.
“A new location must have unique characteristics such as a beautiful natural setting, strong cultural heritage and great leisure options with good accessibility,” says Co-Founder and President of Alila Hotels & Resorts, Mark Edleson. “However, we are less inclined towards integrated developments with common facilities. We try to let the land inform the architecture, rather than allow the architecture to overwhelm the location.”
Spa Alila at Alila Anji is the epitome of relaxation, blending ancient Asian healing techniques with age-old beauty recipes to deliver a natural, rejuvenating experience. Its therapists are trained in anatomical physiology, massage, meditation and service, to provide warm and genuine care that flows from the heart through the hands to bring balance to mind, body and spirit.
Spa Alila also offers specialist reflexology rooms, a heated indoor swimming pool, a Tai Chi pavilion, and fully equipped gym.
In the realm of dining, a main restaurant, Lake View, serves international cuisine, while traditional Chinese restaurant Hidden Dragon celebrates local, seasonal ingredients prepared in Zhejiang or Anji style.
Bespoke destination dining experiences can also be arranged at a venue of your choice, from the resort’s pavilion in the garden, on the jetty or at the heart of a secluded bamboo forest; it’s a romantic and truly special option for anniversaries, birthdays, or simply just because.
Don’t let Alila Anji’s isolated location fool you – there is plenty to do, see and explore. The hotel has curated a selection of experiences that vary from mountain biking, to canoeing or paddle boarding on the tranquil Tian Fu Lake. For those who like to go a little faster, Alila Anji also offers a ‘Maserati Journey’ through the Anji countryside where you’ll visit picturesque attractions including North Zhejiang Grand Canyong, Lingfeng Temple and more.
For kids – and perhaps some adults – there is also a Hello Kitty theme park nearby.
Despite being barely a year old, Alila Anji has managed to collect an impressive number of accolades from some of the world’s most trusted and prestigious travel authorities, including National Geographic, DestinAsian, and Conde Naste Traveller.