Mystery Bay to the south of the Lingshui Bay development offers a special combination of qualities that make it an ideal place for a hotel resort. In addition to its pristine beaches, the resorts’ secluded bay, enclosed naturally by a steep mountain ridge to the north east and steep cliffs at either end, give it an advantage over other beaches in Hainan. Privacy and seclusion is guaranteed.
Unlike many resorts where this kind of privacy is offset by a long distance to any entertainment of cultural features, Mystery Bay is a 5-minute drive from a golf club and a 10 minute drive from the Lingshui Bay new town development with its high-rise CBD, galleries in the canal town, convention centres, theme parks and entertainment facilities.
The design of the resort hotel responds to this setting with a cinematographic strategy which through its storyboard emphasizes and enhances the special quality of the location. Guests arriving from the bustling development of Lingshui leave the high-rise towers and freeway and drive through smaller settlements, before passing by a golf course set in a beautiful landscape and up a narrow valley into Bai Nui Mountain where they arrive at a tunnel. Emerging into bright sunlight at the other end of the tunnel, they see the sea and a large lake, its far end blurring into the sky like an infinity pool. Letters spelling the name of the hotel appear to float on the reflective surface. The road appears to lead on into the lake, its destination unclear, before spiraling down mysteriously beneath the water’s surface to a place beneath the lake, where the temperature is cooler and the blinding light gives way to an intricate play of shadows and bright spots where the sun shines through windows in the bottom of the lake. Arriving at the hotel, the guests enjoy a 270-degree panoramic view of the ocean from the reception.
After checking in the scene changes: the guest descends into a cool canyon with lush tropical vegetation on the landward side and access to the hotel rooms facing the sea. The temperature is cool, the light comfortably shaded, the air filled with the sounds of tropical birds living in the “canyon”. Entering their room, guests at first see greenish, reflected light, but on opening the coloured glass shutters are greeted with the same 270-degree view of the bay. As all rooms are accessed from one side only, every room has this spectacular view.
Once settled in, guests can explore the resort. The cool, cave-like pool and spa is built into the mountain-side and is accessible via a passage in the tropical canyon wall. The beach club, on the other hand, is reached via an “inclinator”, a diagonally moving elevator car on a track that descends the steep mountain side connecting the hotel and beach. Restaurants, bars and pools are arranged beneath the shade of palm trees, and the existing natural boulders along the beach are used to create an intricate play of terraces.
Alternatively, guests can take a winding hiking path from the hotel to the beach bar, passing by a botanical garden and terrarium with local fauna and flora. The cocktail bar at the beach is a special highlight with a swimming pool as its roof. Visitors can relax and enjoy a cocktail while watching swimmers pass overhead as if watching from the seabed.
The oasis is a short walk from the beach club and makes use of a large, flat portion of land at the south end of the bay. Each Oasis Suite is a single pavilion. Two different typologies of pavilions respond to the topography: beach-front pavilions that look like futuristic vessels hovering above the beach and vegetation, ready to depart back into the sea at a moment’s notice; and hill-side pavilions clustered as cabana-like buildings on terraces in the topography, gradually ascending the hillside. Further up the mountain side above the hotel are the resort villas. Each is between 1200m² and 2500m² in size, and nestled in amongst the steep terrain.