The city of Guilin, in southern China, was founded over 2000 years ago during the Qin Dynasty. Already at that time, these places were famous for their beauty and inspired many famous artists and poets. So, Han Yu (768-824), the great poet of the Tang Dynasty, compared the Lijiang River flowing through the whole city with a green ribbon in the hair of a beauty, and the green hills framing the city with jasper hairpins. Since then, say the Chinese, these places have only become more beautiful. The hills have already acquired a completely mystical shape, their grottoes and dungeons began to attract the traveler even more, and the suburbs of Guilin are able to plunge even the most primitive and thick-skinned manager into poetic awe. In a word, the places are very beautiful and poetic. I have been there twice and remember them well. Perhaps these are the most beautiful places, if not in the world, then in China.
Photo: Olga Molodtsova/Peremeny.Ru
Feng Shui-crystal bridges across the cold city river… Seven Stars Park, an example of high Feng Shui and one of the masterpieces of the highly developed park design in China… These are undoubtedly the main advantages of the city. But by far the biggest hit is half an hour from Guilin. Near the town of Yangshuo there is a collection of divine limestone hills. One of them is Yueliang Shan, Moon Mountain. It is located in the very center of this limestone ensemble and is an extremely high hill, the top of which forms a natural arch through which the moon gazes at the surrounding villages at night. To climb this peak, you need to overcome one thousand two hundred and fifty-one (1251) steps. And then climb up again, bypassing the observation deck. But it’s worth it! The air is foggy and humid. Below, among the villages and rice fields, the green river Jinbao runs, squirming like a lizard. And above the hills everywhere froze living, still unembodied poetry. The beneficial energy of qi permeates everything around here.
I climbed to the top, there, even higher than the steps lead … And without a single movement, I sat there for two hours. Enjoying peace, silence and beauty of the world.
Photo: Olga Molodtsova/Peremeny.Ru
Photo: Dennis Kruyt/flickr.com
And then I took a bottle of plum wine with osmanthus from a store in Yangshuo (osmanthus is the most popular spice here!) And drove to the hotel. To survive this evening and take a break from the impressions of a brightly lived day.
Where did I stay? Now I’ll tell you. The place is very unusual. Hotel with a chip. It’s called HOMA. Stands for Hotel Of Modern Art.
A few kilometers from Guilin and Yangshuo, surrounded by lakes, rice fields and stunning hilly landscapes, a real architectural miracle has grown. Yuzi Paradise Art Park, Asia’s first place dedicated to all the gods of contemporary art. Among the two hundred bizarre sculptures from around the world, he stands. HOMA Hotel. A huge triangular building made of glass and marble. A palace entirely dedicated to contemporary art, consisting of magnificent suites, each of which could well claim the title of a separate art gallery.
The slogan of HOMA Chateau is exactly the same as my own: Luxury is an art. I always literally say this, with these words: luxury is an art, the art of living beautifully. Not luxuriously vulgar, but beautiful, these are different things, you see. Although they are often replaced here in Russia.
However, back to the place. The name of the Yuzi Paradise art park, where HOMA Chateau is located, is translated as “Fool’s Paradise”. The fact is that the creator of all this miracle, a Chinese named Ry Chan Sao, was often called a fool when he started this whole eccentric project – an art park and an art hotel. Before that, he was often called so much that he used to answer: “Fools can afford to do things that they think are right,” and the characteristic eventually received such a positive connotation in his mind that he ironically called his entire park Fool’s Paradise. “I, the fool, noticed that while China enjoys prosperity, the aesthetic side of life is somehow very far from us. My goal is to enrich my nation aesthetically.”
It really is more than a hotel. This is experience. Starting from innovative architecture and interiors (each room has its own) and ending with a personalized VIP service. Believe me, an unforgettable experience. It seems that the staff is just reading your mind. At least that part of them that deals with various kinds of everyday issues and needs. And in the end, you just don’t have any. Everything will be told and shown to you here and they will do it, which is surprising, at the very moment when you just want to ask. But you won’t be able to do it. Walks in the surrounding forest, acquaintance with the exposition, traditional Chinese massage, Tai Chi, calligraphy classes, a spa center and more, more, more! We won’t even list everything, otherwise you can’t see the forest for the trees!
HOMA Chateau itself looks like a sculpture – indeed, it is a very innovative piece of architectural thought. To match the rooms. All different. Each of them represents a variant of one of the concepts of modern design. Last but not least, the pyramidal structure of the building itself contributed to such design diversity, due to which each room has its own unique layout, which provokes a variety of design solutions. In general, I do not want to describe all this. Better to see once…
To all of the above, it is worth adding that the HOMA hotel once became the first Chinese representative of the Relais & Chateaux association. And that this hotel is one of the most incredible I have ever been to.
Karst cave near the hotel