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Not so much a hotel as modern art: a sculpture, a fantasy...a giant wonton bun.

This hotel gets our award for most innovative architecture of the year (except perhaps for the Intercontinental Davos which is an orb-like fantasy too).

Just look at the photos. This hotel is what modern design should be about. A building that stands out in the landscape. That makes you want to Instagram it from every angle. Hell no, in fact let's get out the SLR, this one's too good for a mere iPhone snap.

We love it.

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sunrise kempinski the luxury travel bible
Sunrise Kempinski exterior lake the luxury travel bible
Sunrise Kempinski exterior night The luxury Travel Bible
sunrise kempinski Guest Bedroom the luxury travel bible
sunrise kempinski pranorama suite luxury travel bible
sunrse kempinski interior lobby luxury travel bible

The hotel is meant to represent a sun rising over Yanqi Lake, hence its name, Sunrise hotel. Which of course it does beautifully. The 306 room hotel is now open, shining its beams over 21 glowing floors at the centre of a massive new development about 60 kilometres from downtown Beijing.

The building is 97 metres (318.2 ft) high and the sparkling exterior glass surface of the vast orb spans 18,075 square metres (194,558 sq ft). It is covered by more than 10,000 glass panels which are angled to reflect the lake, the mountains and the sky. The front view is that of the 'Rising Sun' apparently "symbolic of the fast-developing economy of China". No one's going to argue with that.

Kempinski says it took 24 months to build with help from more than 9,300 construction workers. It is an amazing and imaginative piece of architecture from Shanghai Huadu Architect Design Co. Chief Designer, Zhang Hai Ao worked with a team of 60 designers from across the globe, including the UK, Italy, Spain, the US, Holland and the Philippines to develop the amazing design. "We had an international team to give their opinion on modern contemporary Chinese architectural design and to enable us to broaden our ideas on how we can use our design to showcase the Chinese culture to the world," says Zhang.

The sun is as important for Chinese culture as it is for Western culture. "Chinese people would stand in awe of the sun, which they believed reflected the core values of Chinese philosophy - that mankind is an integral part of nature and in order to be harmonious, nature should be respected", explains Yang.

As you would expect from a hotel in China there is a lot of symbolism in its design, beyond the sun itself. The entrance of the hotel is shaped like the mouth of a fish, symbolising prosperity, while from a side-angle view, the hotel building is shaped like a scallop, which represents 'Fortune' in Chinese culture. Other Chinese cultural elements are also used in the design details for example, the roof of the third floor, where the main round building starts, is a free-form shape, like a cloud. So that in essence 'The Cloud is lifting the Sun'.

At night, the hotel is even more impressive - lit up by hydroelectric-powered LED lights.

We suspect that with so much dazzle outside interior designers, DiLeonardo had their work cut out. DiLeonardo wisely went for simplicity and style, framing views and introducing selected sculptural pieces for that all-important 'wow-factor". For example, the custom-designed art feature set around the lobby staircase, composed of thousands of round glass spectrums hanging from the ceiling to the ground on stainless steel cables.

The Luxury Travel Bible readers will naturally head for the Presidential Suite, with Jackson Pollock-style artworks, silk wallpaper, and large-scale abstract flora carpet and inlaid French walnut wood floors. There are also bevelled mirror-lined friezes around the recessed ceiling. The view across to the lake and mountains is just the icing on the sun-cake

Aside from the main hotel the complex includes an additional 111 rooms at the Yanqi Hotel and another 178 spread across 12 boutique hotels on a nearby private island. There are also 14 restaurants and bars, two spas, a private marina, pagoda, recreational and fitness facilities and a kids club.

We predict that like the Burj Al Arab in Dubai this hotel will become a landmark icon - so much more than a mere place to sleep.

Luxury Insider says:

With a hotel that pays such homage to the sun we are glad to know that Solar Photovoltaics - Sustainable Energy SourcePhotovoltaics (PV) isolar panels are used extensively. PV is applied to the building's roof and exterior and any part of the building that is exposed to sunlight. The hotel's solar power system also uses Yanqi Lake's solar panels located next to the hotel by the dam.


Luxury links: www.kempinski.com , www.gha.com

Hilary Doling 10//10/14




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