If you dream about a fairytale getaway, this might be the right place for you. Inspired by the famous Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria - home to the mad King Ludwig II – and overlooking the amazing Xinghai Bay in Dalian, China, this 2002 building now hosts a luxury hotel. The renovation, completed last year, has been designed by global hospitality design leader HBA for the Dalian Yifang Group. To meet the luxury hotel standards, the castle underwent several transformations: since relatively low ceiling height was not conducive to a five-star hotel, existing towers were demolished and rebuilt as new 19-level towers, with windows added and enlarged.
The enlargement also involved a new guestroom wing to maximize the number of guestrooms, especially those overlooking the ocean. Dalian Hotel is the place where size does matter, as proved by its figures: 292 guestrooms, 29 suites and 67 apartments, restaurants, lounges and even a German pub. In terms of decoration, HBA sought to complement the grand scale of the castle with an opulent yet contemporary design that respected the building’s European heritage but also reflects the regional heritage and its new role as a five-star hotel, with an interior aimed at complementing the exterior – rooted in highly refined European elegance, and not a kitschy expression of medieval European elements. The heart of the castle is undoubtedly the Lobby, where guests are transported to another world: the space opens with rich stone flooring inlaid with elegant designs leading to a Great Room with a soaring ceiling and large, classical, glass skylight. The sense of openness recurs in the All Day Dining, which was originally conceived as the gathering hall and kitchen, historically used only for staff: here the old ceiling was removed and replaced with a signature cove element allowing height and grandness. Thanks to its unique look, the Dalian Hotel, a member of the Starwood Luxury Collection, has already become an iconic landmark of the whole Northern China.
PHOTO COURTESY: Will Pryce