Posted in Projects on 19 June, 2017

Debuting in China, EDITION Hotels, a partnership between Ian Schrager and Marriott International, opens The Sanya EDITION resort on the luxuriant Hainan Island. Tonje Odegard from SPACE discovered how local culture became the inspiration for the organic design…

This oceanfront property with its sophisticated design is a marriage of traditional Chinese culture with a modern and cosmopolitan China. Drawing inspiration from local influences, the property has remained respectful of Hainan Island’s rich cultural heritage, yet infused the property with ultra-modern twists.

Situated in the city of Sanya, within a huge area of meticulously landscaped lush tropical greenery, the property offers a striking private ocean overlooking the South China Sea.

Designed in collaboration between interior designers I.S.C Design Studio/CAP Atelier, architects SCDA, lighting designers Lighting Planners Associates (LPA) and landscapers Madison Cox, the horse shoe-shaped property features 512 guestrooms (including 46 suites and an additional 17 exclusive hotel villas), four restaurants and two bars. As if that wasn’t enough, the resort also offers outdoor cabanas, meeting spaces, a spa, art gallery, a retail shop and a family Playland.

In ancient times, Sanya was known as ‘the end of the sky and the ocean’ and today the area is known for its sumptuous landscapes, crystalline beaches and tropical climate. Inspired by the sea, the Sanya EDITION is defined by water, a source of both vitality and purity.

Outdoor areas

Sourcing inspiration from the island’s ever-changing landscape and taking advantage of the lavish vegetation surrounding the property, the hotel has an impressive outdoor area. Conceived as a tropical oasis and inspired by the Summer Palace in Beijing, the landscaped ground covers more than 50 per cent of the total site area, promoting largely native and indigenous flora and fauna.

For instance, as you enter, the driveway is lined with tropical rain trees, leading you to the Port Corchere, where a tremendous reflective infinity pool meets you. With highly polished black granite finishes, which mirrors the sky, the area resembles a wishing well and is completed with dramatically lit rows of bamboo. 

The private ocean forms the centrepiece of the property. With water pumped in form the South China Sea, there is a large salt-water swimming area that features iridescent glass mosaic tiles, lapping onto the crescent-shaped sandy private beach with zero-edgy entry into the sea. The surrounding area is planted with tall coconut palms.

At night, the private ocean is transformed with hundreds of floating candles and lanterns, creating a magical atmosphere. A custom-designed wooden dining barge with natural teak furniture, a luxurious daybed and strings of festoon lighting and fabric canopy further enhanced the space. Exotic tropical hardwood decking and boardwalk all along the perimeters encloses the sea.

The Sanya EDITION offers several cabanas, a modern interpretation of outdoor pavilions in traditional Chinese gardens, surrounded by lush landscape. With teak frames and stretch canvas roof, they are surrounded by ripple fold draperies with fabric-tie backs and accessorised with stainless steel floor lanterns with clear glass cores. Completed with custom upholstered lounge seating, the cabanas are a relaxing addition to the hotel.

The outdoor pool bar is housed in a pavilion with vertical aluminium-wood slats covered with flowering vine and icy, and green hedgers in planters. It overlooks the fresh-water pool and is finished in grey-blue glass mosaic tiles. Dramatically lit after dark with underwater lighting fixtures, the area is completed with oversized daybeds and chaise-lounges on tropical hardwood decking.


The reception highlights and reflects the hotel’s duality where a traditional lotus pool and live bamboo grove serves as a counterpoint to the curated art gallery displaying the work of renowned Chinese artists. The sense of luxurious tranquillity the Sanya EDITON aims to portray is established here. As you arrive, you are greeted with a striking view of the private ocean, gracefully framed by a series of teak pavilions. Clean and minimal, the open-air architecture creates a beautiful, welcoming porch.

Inspired by the Hainan Island’s ‘Li’ tribal villages, the major functional zones of the lobby are separately housed in individual rectangular pavilions clad with solid teak wood lattice. Set atop a panoramic podium above the private ocean, the pavilions offer the best spot to take in the stunning view and serene surroundings.

Additionally, there are a number of reception pavilions designed to give the impression of floating on the reflecting water. At the centre of the pool is an abstract sculpture carved from a solid block of white marble, and a custom-designed sculptural reception desk crafted from oil-rubbed African tea wood logs and artistically stacked. The main reception also has another beautiful sculpture made of sheet lead on a stainless steel panel.

The loft reception pavilion features a custom designed silk tapestry screen with a Chinese brush-painted plum tree on antique golden brown tone silk with accent hand-embroidered white plum blossom resembling the artistic style from the late Qing Dynasty. The elegant silk screens contrast with the rustic wooden log counter and the clean contemporary form of the pavilion. An overwhelming solid teak wooden platform on the edge of the podium provides a semi-outdoor lounge capturing dramatic views of the private ocean.


With all rooms having an ocean view, the designers have gone for a relaxed beach-like vibe for the guestrooms. Light oak finishes and lime stone floors from Indonesia are used to evoke this vibe, completed with a clean, light colour palate. Bathtubs are placed in the main room, and surrounded by views of the private ocean, the rooms are made even more luxurious and spacious.

The 17 hotel villas, nestled into the terrace hillside, has private pools and pavilion spaces. Minimally designed, they are modern and emphasises on wood and stone textures. The Loft Rooms all have free-standing circular white stone bathtubs and a dramatic circular sheer curtain embracing the beds. These are features that are perfect for the open plan solution. Thick veneer in crown-cut bleached oak with brushed open-grain finishes is a nice touch, and with extra balcony space, there’s room for semi-circular daybeds and a deep-soak bathtub outside.

Restaurants and bars

The Sanya EDITION offers four restaurants: Market at EDITION, The Jade Egret, Xian Hai By The Sea, and Beach Barbocca at EDITION.

MARKET AT EDITION. This eatery references Sanya’s history as a trading port. The timeless design evokes the feeling of an old Chinese warehouse – a layer of vertical solid teak wood lattice defines the architectural shell of the restaurant. The large, high-ceilinged space has columns clad with horizontal solid oak planks in a heavily brushed antiqued finish.

The warehouse concept is set off by white-washed oak shelves and racks displaying hand-made pottery, tea, glass herb jars and ceramic plates and bowls. The floor is grey limestone slab with white faded ornate patterns, hand-painted to give reference to South East Asian colonial architectural heritage.

Oversized custom-designed moon lanterns with outer shades made of bronze hang over the centre hub area of the restaurant, providing a moody ambient glow. Seating is an eclectic mix of bleached wood dining chairs, beige leather and natural grey upholstery with a combination of custom-designed box-like banquettes. A large semi-outdoor terrace offers direct private ocean views and is lavishly landscaped with tropical palms and ferns.

THE JADE EGRET. This ocean-level restaurant is an extravagant space perfect for enjoying a sophisticated meal. Walls are clad with oak planks in a matte white lacquer finish and the ceiling in a high-gloss white. The long, custom-designed bar counter in streamlined nautical shape is formed by white homogeneous reconstituted white stone and equipped with full height wine cabinets. Creating a more intimate vibe is the open kitchen with a stainless steal oven, flanked by apple tree logs. Taking inspiration from luxury vessels, the use of white lacquer reference this, and the solid teak wood strips floors that extend into the patio platform in front of the restaurant completes the look.

Xian Hay by the Sea 

The signature restaurant offers a different dining experience, where guest are situated on a series of illuminated floating platforms, only accessible by boat. The custom-designed spaces with teak interiors and rich upholstery are covered with a shaded canopy, and from afar, it looks like the restaurant is a collection of glowing lanterns skimming the water. Composing of two small pavilions and one large a-la carte pavilion connected by an outdoor dining platform cladded with solid iron wood, the space is varied and intriguing.

Beach Barboca at EDITION

Seafood grill Beach Barboca is inspired by the Jimbaran Bay in Bali. With sand underfoot and an eclectic mix of furniture, it’s a lively and fun spot. The kitchen counter front is clad with Hainan brownish, grey lava stone in a natural finish, and hammocks and teak-lounge seating around a bonfire pit help create a relaxing and beach-like environment.

Rooftop Bar

The Rooftop Bar and pool is an elegant and sleek area with the hotel’s most impressive interiors. Clad with a solid elm wood in a heavy-brushed aged finish, with long banquette sofas in deep maroon velvet, which contrasts with dark oak and light grey upholstered lounge chairs. Above the centre bar area, more than 2000 pieces of clear-cut crystal drops are installed on a black stainless steel mirror ceiling, emulating a starry sky. The bar disk is made out of two solid planks of elm wood. The infinity pool with sun beds on the teak deck overlook the private ocean.

EDITION Hotels is an unexpected and refreshing collection of individualised, customised and one-of-a-kind hotels with a personal and intimate approach. It is therefore impressive to see how the designers have been able to convey this philosophy into such an enormous property. Local culture and modern design has gracefully been combined, making the Sanya EDITION a beautiful destination.

Join our mailing list

Click here to Join
  Join our mailing list