Set against a backdrop of lush forests, tropical flora and sweeping vistas of the South China Sea, hospitality design leader Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) has created luxurious interiors for Hilton Resort Wenchang that are in harmony with Hainan Island’s stunning setting. A deliberate play on scale creates a sense of intimacy as well as openness, all offset by the vastness of the property’s natural environment. Taking full advantage of the playful architecture, vantage points are dotted throughout the hotel, creating a sense of discovery among guests, and encouraging engagement with the unique landscape.
HBA’s design for the 432-room property strikes a balance that is at times playful, and at others arresting. Asserting this approach with unmistakable flair is the hotel’s jaw-dropping lobby space. Built to a monumental scale to mirror the grandeur of its natural environs, vaulted ceilings of exposed wood beams, slats of indigenous materials, and organic-looking contemporary chandeliers draw attention upwards. Natural light permeates the space via a floor-to-ceiling glass wall, teasing guests with a glimpse of glittering blue ocean beyond. Positioned directly behind the hotel’s reception desk, the vista is a welcome reward for travellers and one that underscores the resort’s commitment to relaxation. All in all, the combination of natural finishes and polished glass, alongside sea views glimpsed from inside a lofty, cavernous space sets a tone that oscillates between sparse refinement and natural splendor.
This attention to texture, material and contrast continues throughout the property’s public spaces. Sensual dark wood and rustic rattan create an unexpected contrast against the hotel’s more formal architecture, immersing guests into an environment that simultaneously celebrates both authenticity and craft, and the level of luxury one expects from Hilton and HBA. By re-contextualizing elements of local culture to inside a five-star resort, the design salutes Wenchang’s history, provenance and traditions.
This theme is expanded in the hotel’s two restaurants: Bocca and HaiTian. Fittingly for a venue whose name translates to ‘market,’ the latter transports elements of the island’s local colors, crafts and motifs to an eatery specialized in the area’s indigenous cuisine. Supportive of Wenchang’s palpable pride in its unique and time-honed culture, HBA’s design is a marriage of regional flair and contemporary finesse.
Like HaiTian’s island-inspired fare, sister restaurant Bocca also specializes in a cuisine rooted in seafaring heritage. A design thread throughout both spaces, here it serves as a backdrop to Italian food, served from an open kitchen built around a traditional wood burning pizza oven. Inspired by Italy’s reputation for community and conviviality, it’s a casual yet smart space in keeping with the resort’s relaxed tone.
For flexible, all-day dining, OPEN’s sumptuous dark wood counter is offset by lighter wall panelling and floors, while soft furnishings in neutral tones reinforces the eatery’s commitment to authentic flavors and healthy eating. Finally, pool bar Sundae called for a more playful approach in keeping with Wenchang’s reputation as a fun, family-friendly holiday destination.
Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) was inspired by the natural scenery for the Hilton Wenchang
(Photography for HBA by Will Pryce)
Similarly, the hotel’s 432 guest rooms and 27 villas are deliberately airy, neutral and bright, mirroring the island’s tranquility and calm. Wenchang’s lush beauty and tropical climate make it an ideal backdrop for destination weddings. HBA’s design balances both the cultural requirements of Chinese bridal parties – a 8,625 sq. ft. space for banquets and entertainment, for example – with conspicuous nods to the hotel’s natural surroundings by way of organic-shaped light fittings. Fivesophisticated meeting rooms present business traveler with an uncluttered, and above all, flexible space for conferences and gatherings of all kind.
Lead designer Darrell Long, said, “Thanks to its abundance of natural beauty quite literally at its doorstep environment, Hilton Resorts Wenchang was a real pleasure to design. Our design cues all came from that same stunning setting, all coming together to create a destination for true relaxation with a palpable luxurious finish.”
Indicative of the longstanding partnership and trust in which Hilton Resorts holds HBA, the design brief for the Wenchang property was open to interpretation and creativity. Adamant that the region’s natural beauty take center stage, interiors continually reference Hainan’s regional identity through local craftsmanship, organic materials and carefully considered viewpoints. Above all, HBA sought to celebrate this unique environment in a way that works with, as opposed to clamors against, its island setting. At once intimate and vast, traditional and contemporary, HBA’s interiors for Hilton Resorts Wenchang confirm HBA’s reputation as global leaders in designing not just for world-class luxury, but also in creating spaces that showcase regional identity in the most stylish of ways.