The Intercontinental Sanya Resort is located along the beach of Xiao Dong Hai Bay in Sanya, on Hainan Island - China’s southernmost province.. The resort comprises of a Hotel with 350 rooms and related facilities. The location has a tropical climate with an annual typhoon season. The area is characterized by steep hills framing low lying agricultural land. The coastline has steep rocky hills plunging into the sea, framing white sandy beaches and coral. The site is very close to the centre of Sanya, the main town in the area. The hotel site stretches from the busy entertainment spine to the natural forest of the rocky point, and responds to this by having two distinct characters to its accommodation, urban and resort. One third of the rooms – the Skyrooms - are located in a 10-storey curved linear block that frames the arrival space. All rooms have sea views, and are accessed off naturally ventilated open corridors that have views over the surrounding mountains. These wide-frontage rooms have bathrooms with a view, and large balconies with built-in daybeds. These rooms work equally well for holiday or business, as they are close to the lobby and function facilities. Two thirds of the rooms – the Watergarden Rooms and the Club Intercontinental Rooms - are located in huge water courtyards, and are more resort-like in feel. These rooms are an innovative hybrid of detached villas and room blocks. Each room has a private open air garden bathroom, and a detached cabana that is reached via a bridge or garden. The cabanas sit within the huge watergardens, each almost a hectare in size. The design combines masterplanning, landscape, architecture and interiors to set up a series of views and vistas to the sea, framed by coconut trees, reflected in water, and then reframed again with stone, timber and fabric, ensuring every room has a special view. The rooms have full cross ventilation to their private courtyards, which enable them to be used without airconditioning, if desired. Instead of room corridors, the single level walkway leads through a series of courtyard gardens featuring tropical vegetation. The rooms are reached by a staircase from this walkway. All rooms have a sea view, framed by a foreground view of watergardens and coconut trees. The rooms are almost like terrace houses, with a front and back garden. The lobby, lobby lounge and bar are located in a pavilion structure which has a sophisticated metropolitan atmosphere with views over the resort heart, the swimming pool and the sea. The beachfront promenade is a circulation spine that leads from one destination to another, and has a public character. The public facilities are located along the beachfront, with areas of different character. Adjoining the lobby is a beachfront cafe and and deli, with an internal courtayrd sheltered from the sea breeze. This frames one side of the formal pool, with a night-time bonfire in the centre, and the other side framed by a beach bar with hanging cane furniture. The next area is the family pool, which are overlooked by family villas that have direct access into the pool from their private cabanas. A seafood barbeque restaurant marks one edge, while the other side has an artist village. The promenade then leads around the bay to a warehouse style seafood restaurant built over the water. The function areas are located directly off the main lobby and have a garden theme. The Ballroom has a garden courtyard pre-function area, and all meeting rooms have their own private garden. Back of House areas are concealed below the entrance garden, and service areas exposure is kept to an absolute minimum. Architecturally, the hotel is designed around the theme of a garden. From the sky gardens and flowering bougainvilleas in the sky block to the huge watergardens in the room blocks, to the walled courtyard gardens of the guestroom walkways to the orchid gardens in the spa, every space relates to an outdoor space of different character and mood. This strategy shows off Sanya’s tropical climate to the fullest. Even the roofs are treated as gardens, so the surrounding high-rise blocks look down at and over the hotel as a huge garden design providing a foreground framing their sea views. The geometry of the roofs and gardens are inspired by the rice-paddy fields of Sanya. Coconut palms frame views of the sea. Stylistically the hotel is contemporary, fresh and light. Making full use of the availability of craftsmanship, materials and technology of China, the architecture and interiors are designed together to create a continuous integrated contemporary Asian environment. The materials were inspired by the oyster shell – rough and natural on the outside, and smooth and lustrous on the inside. This concept guided the palette – the exterior of the building is designed in natural neutral tones – white walls, grey granite and silver metal, while the interior is rich and lustrous in bronze, gold and earth tones. The design of the various public areas varies from urban and formal to casual and beachy, allowing the hotel to address many different markets and customers. Many elements are inspired by traditional Chinese elements, but reinterpreted in a contemporary way, such as the “cloud motif” windows in the stone walls, and the screen elements which combine traditional chinese forms with advanced geometries. The hotel is designed to sustainable principles. Passive energy saving design (large overhangs, natural light, cross-ventilation, shaded courtyards, and planted roofs), use of indigenous seasonal landscape and water conservation and recycling are some of the strategies used. The overall design innovation is in the reworking of the large hotel model into a new typology, which combines garden expression with urban typologies to create a hierarchy of privacy and vibrancy that is highly successful.