Living with nature

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 September, 2011, 12:00am

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From a private valley in a mountainous area of China to an exclusive Koh Samui beach in Thailand, elitism and seclusion have been the key selling point for a branch of new eco-resorts catering to discerning travellers looking for a luxury getaway to reconnect with nature.

The Stables Private Reserve, to be opened next month, sits atop the bamboo forests of the Moganshan Hills, a picturesque mountain hamlet in Zhejiang Province about 21/2-hours by car from Shanghai.

Set on 60 acres in its own private valley, the resort is surrounded by a large reservoir, bamboo and tea plantations, and small farming villages. It was designed around the philosophy of 'getting back to the enjoyment of life in a more pure form'.

The resort's 121 rooms in free-standing tree-top villas and earth huts are constructed using sustainable materials. The 30 tree-top villas offer two-, three- or four en-suite bedroom lay-outs over two levels, with floor-to-ceiling windows giving unobstructed views over the valley. There are also seven VIP tree-top villas designed for exclusive views with extra services and amenities.

It is also one of the first resorts in China to offer horse riding. Its equestrian centre is equipped with stables for 20 horses, plus an equestrian field and mountain riding trails.

Other facilities include a 750-square-metre spa and wellness centre, three outdoor swimming pools, a tea pavilion, bamboo museum, pottery studio and a conference centre.

In Koh Samui, the newly opened Akatsuki Resort promises to take the exclusive resort experience to a new level.

Located on the secluded and picturesque Lipa Noi Beach facing five islands across a lagoon, the five-suite resort is available for private use only, accommodating group bookings for 15 guests at a time, or 17 at capacity. The basic concept is intuitive to the site's local culture, climate and locality and results in a design that is functional yet luxurious, with minimal dependence on artificial energy. It is built entirely from recycled wood, and uses natural ventilation and shade for guest comfort.

It comes with four pools, private spa, concierge team, private chef, personal guide, driver and butler, and a range of entertainment and relaxation facilities and services.