Mission Hills Volcanic Mineral Springs and Spa

Mission Hills Volcanic Mineral Springs and Spa

SB Architects
Haikou, China
Project Year
Wellness Centres
Courtesy of Mission Hills

World's Largest Spa Complex

SB Architects as Architects

The magnificent Spa at Mission Hills Hainan is the central defining feature of an expansive spa and hot springs destination currently under construction at the Mission Hills Hainan resort. Once complete, this resort complex will be one of the largest spa destinations in the world. The iconic Main Spa structure – the first element of the resort master plan to reach completion – sets the standard by which design, service and the spa experience are measured on Hainan Island and throughout mainland China.

The Spa at Mission Hills Hainan takes its initial design inspiration from the traditional Hakka Earthen Fortress Villages of Southern China - distinctive communal structures that have been recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites for their unique contribution to the history of building and human settlement. These circular structures, which rise several stories, encircle gracious open courtyards. Historically used for defense and communal living, these circular structures and courtyards now offer the opportunity for an exceptional spa experience in a peaceful, protected, meditative environment.

The Spa is designed to create a holistic experience from the moment of arrival. The structure is intertwined with the overall Lava Springs experience, yet set apart as a distinctive experience of its own, separated by height, lava stone rock walls and water to create a true sense of privacy and intimacy. The dramatic structure is comprised of a souring, semi-circular bamboo structure rising out of a massive circular lava stone base, which is slightly canted to increase its sense of grandeur. In every direction, the Spa overlooks ritual gardens, private spa villas, infinity edge water features and pools, with stunning views of the golf course in the background.

The overall visual experience of the Spa is highly dramatic, yet refined and meditative, in keeping with its function as a place for rest, relaxation, and pampering. In a striking arrival sequence, hotel guests enter through an entryway elevated eight meters above the Lava Springs directly into the towering circular bamboo structure. Views through the circular center courtyard extend to the open-air event space and through to the golf course beyond. The multiple-story volume of this circular courtyard, which houses a central relaxation area, provides yet another opportunity for dramatic vertical space. Several additional connections provide multiple access points for visitors from the Lava Springs, and a causeway floating above the bamboo walkway provides private access for Spa Villa owners and guests.

The circular arrangement of space, together with the soaring vertical spaces artfully crafted of beautiful, sustainable, locally-sourced bamboo, offer a unique opportunity for powerful architectural expression. The immense visual impact of this lava stone and bamboo structure is balanced by its deep connection to the surrounding environment. The use of locally-abundant lava stone and bamboo firmly grounds the design in the nature and topography of Hainan Island. The large clay tiles that top the roof of the Spa are echoed by smaller, traditional Chinese tiles on the resort’s smaller structures and on the bamboo spine that connects the many destination points within the Lava Springs experience.

Aside from the distant views of the golf and landscape, the spa provides an inwardly-focused experience, with an emphasis on service, experience and nature. Water features and bamboo landscape help to soothe and relax, while providing a quiet complement to the dramatic architecture. Indoor/outdoor spaces throughout the Spa take advantage of Hainan’s temperate tropical climate. Two floors directly below the lobby level house 61 treatment rooms – one of the most expansive spa experiences in the world - arranged in two great rings, looking either outward toward the lushly-landscaped Lava Springs or inward toward the circular courtyard. Each luxurious treatment room is designed with high ceilings and an individual terrace, creating a private, intimate, indoor/outdoor experience within this grand spa experience.

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