LTW Designworks evokes the cultural spirit of local Hainanese ethnic groups for the Grand Hyatt Haitang Bay.

Grand Hyatt Sanya Haitang Bay Resort and Spa mark the hotel group’s first beach resort in China. A milestone project for LTW Designworks, who are synonymous with luxury hospitality projects, including Grand Hyatt Dalian, was commissioned to design the hotel’s lobby and public areas, all-day-dining restaurant, spa, and 435 guestrooms, suites and villas.

“The concept of the hotel evolved from the idea of a contemporary fishing village, inviting travelling families to congregate, experience a sense of community, and enjoy authentic local traditions,” explains LTW partner Teo Su Seam. What was created was a relaxed yet refined interior that evokes the cultural spirit of the local ethnic minorities and taking advantage of the various physical connections to nature.

Spanning across an impressive 190,000 square meters, the hotel’s architectural forms resemble oversized Chinese lanterns with pitched roof lines and glowing interior spaces. In line with the architecture, LTW employed a warm colour palette and natural materials to create an inviting arrival experience in the circular lobby, anchored by four large columns and domed ceiling while allowing the beach and sand tones to exude warmth.

Inside, customized fretwork patterns resemble fishing nets in nearby Haitang Bay, and other elements such as fabrics and upholstery are inspired by traditional costumes.

“To diffuse the scale of the columns, we added slats and used textured paint,” Su Seam explains. Within the double-volume space of the Lobby Lounge, the 15-metre high glass walls frame the area while lush greenery and a vertical garden enhance the tropical spirit. Adding to the cosy settling, lights in woven baskets hang from the ceiling, creating a relaxing setting for guests to unwind and escape from the frantic pace of the urban world. Adding to the natural vibe, a faceted glass mural depicting the Tree of Life is displayed behind the reception desk, its prisms showcasing iridescent qualities.

The Li ethnic minority, the original inhabitants of Hainan, are renowned for their weaving and embroidery. Drawing on this tradition, LTW incorporated ethic elements in an eye-catching feature wall that serves to divide the various spaces within the grand lobby. Traditional woven patterns were also reinvented and paired with ceremonial colours and curated artwork to complement the deluxe marble, mosaics and streamlined furnishings, all impeccably styled for discerning resort travellers.

Inspired by Hainan’s history as a fishing village, Grand Café – the resort’s all-day-dining restaurant – reflects the colours of the sea and the sand with an emphasis on blue and yellow. Fashioned as a beach house, the extensive use of timber adds a rustic tone. Echoing this theme, the stone floor is patterned with timber circles to represent drops of rippling water, reinforcing the hotel’s sense of place. As a final touch, LTW sourced specially-designed artwork to adorn the walls of the restaurant.

Meanwhile, the guestrooms are provided with an elegant and contemporary design that highlights the spaciousness of the layout and unobstructed picturesque views of the ocean, garden or mountains. Continuing the fishing village theme, LTW used raw textured materials and natural palettes for the rooms, contrasted against sleek silhouettes.

The beauty and delicacy of traditional local craftsmanship are evident in the artwork and bespoke wall coverings. Set against the backdrop of the panorama ocean or landscape views, burgundy tones also create a strong visual impact. “Our intention was once again to bring in the outside environment into the interior space with floor to ceiling windows,” says Su Seam.

Continuing the hotel’s subtle design narrative, traditional symbols seen in Li’s cultural celebrations are cleverly infused into the spaces, from the pre-function areas to the Grand Ballroom. The understated design, combined with refined lighting, creates elegant banquet spaces for any special occasion.

Designed to resemble exclusive luxury residences, the seven meting and event salons of the hotel feature open kitchens to create one-of-a-kind event experiences. Within the meeting spaces, contemporary elegance is contrasted against tribal patterns in beautifully woven fabrics, once again a nod to the beauty of traditional Hainanese craftsmanship.

The Grand Ballroom, featuring an expansive 900 square metre space and seven-metre high ceilings, includes large French doors along one side of the ballroom that open to an outdoor garden offering refreshing views of nature and sunlight.

Huan Spa is set within its own 16,000 square metre spa village and gardens. An intimate environment for guests to feel refreshed and rejuvenated, LTW has used a neutral palette and natural materials to connect with the outdoor environment. To introduce outdoor elements into the space, colourful installations made with fresh flowers are dotted throughout the spa, further enhancing the guests’ sensory journey.

Reflecting local culture and traditions, Grand Hyatt Sanya Haitang Bay is a haven of understated elegance and ample interior spaces fostering a relaxed resort lifestyle.

Project: Grand Hyatt
Location: Sanya, China
Design Studio: LTW Designworks
Photography: Edmon Leong