Winner of an international design competition, Ole Scheeren's vision for a tropical resort complex will enhance patrons' experience of the natural world

Designed by Büro Ole Scheeren

From the architects:

The beach is the focal point of every voyage to the resort city of Sanya. 

One of China's busiest and most desired domestic holiday destinations and frequently compared to Miami or the Bahamas, visitors are drawn to the city by the warm, tropical environment, lush natural setting and beautiful beaches stretching for miles. 

Rising 160m above the verdant waterfront, Sanya Horizons embraces, integrates and amplifies the surrounding nature to create a unique ecological leisure destination.

Programmatic synergies

The project for CDF Investment & Development Co is sited on 83,500m² of lush beachfront property and consists of a pair of two hotels under IHG brands – The Regent Sanya Bay and Hotel Indigo Sanya Bay. 

Rather than creating a pair of separated towers, the hotels are stacked on top of one another, thereby occupying a smaller footprint and liberating large parts of the natural landscape on the ground. 

This strategic manoeuvre allows the combined massing to be more structurally and ecologically efficient and creates a memorable and iconic silhouette along Sanya’s shoreline.

Spectacular experiences

Sanya Horizons’ stacked horizontal volumes are planimetrically curved to embrace the ocean and further enhance the abundant vistas, with every hotel room given its own private terrace and 100% unobstructed sea views. 

Through the offsets and openings between the volumes, a wide spectrum of natural plantings and gardens emerges throughout the building, almost doubling the amount of green space on the site. 

An integral vertical jungle, these hanging gardens can be experienced on every floor and from every guest room, providing a more holistic and synergetic experience of the resort. 

Within the horizontal openings, exclusive Horizon Villas feature their own private terraces and swimming pools. 

The insertion of diverse experiential amenities on the Sky Terrace and Sky Deck with restaurants, lounges and verdant landscaping, opens up the massing to increase the overall sensorial diversity of the project. 

Seventy-five metres above the ground, the Horizons Window – a six storey tall opening – offers a multifunctional outdoor deck with unobstructed views of the sea to the east and the sunset to the west. 

One of the largest in the world, the giant infinity-edge Horizon Pool is 153m in width and cantilevers above the ocean, projecting bathing guests towards the surf and beach far below.


Besides the overall structural efficiency of the combined hotel volumes, the multiple large-scale openings of the building increase the porosity and thereby minimise structural wind loads. 

Single-loaded hotel room layouts allow for complete natural cross-ventilation and reduce the need for mechanical cooling. 

The façade consists of a deep hexagonal grid of balconies and walkways that provides complete protection from the sun and thereby dramatically further reduces the building’s energy footprint. 

Through those strategic measures, combined with the integration of abundant greenery throughout the building, Sanya Horizons yields a highly environmentally responsible and sustainable performance in respect of the planet and beautiful nature surrounding the project.

A living landscape

Returning to the ground level, the gentle, undulating landscape, optimised through the vertical stacking of the hotels, echoes the ocean waves and ripples beyond. 

Home to various unique species, biotopes, pavilions and experiences, these gardens further complement and blend the natural with the built environment, creating what architect Ole Scheeren describes as “the merging of architecture and nature into a space of synergetic habitat” – a new, natural space of living combined with an experiential diversity and richness not previously seen.

Credit list

Sanya Horizons – the combined Regent Sanya Bay and Hotel Indigo Sanya Bay, Sanya, China

Designed by: Büro Ole Scheeren

Story by: Trendsideas

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