Since its opening in 2012, Imperial Springs, located in Conghua (some 40 minutes from Guangzhou’s Baiyun International Airport), has been a six-star retreat for China’s wealthy elite and visiting dignitaries. Now, however, the 246-hectare complex will be open to international guests, ushering in a new era of luxury for travellers in the Middle Kingdom.
To launch this outward-looking change, Eric Zhang, Business Development Manager – Asia for Imperial Springs, and Tess Wilcox, General Manager of World Resorts of Distinction, hosted an intimate dinner at Longrain in Surry Hills on Thursday evening. Over a shared meal of South-East Asian delicacies such as smoked trout on betel leaf, freshly shucked oysters, an egg net filled with pork, prawns and peanuts, red Jungle curry of beef and caramelised pork hock, with dessert of coconut jelly and vanilla tapioca, Mr Zhang and Ms Wilcox shared details about the extraordinary property now open to Australians.
As well as a luxury resort, Imperial Springs features a state-of-the-art international convention centre (host to many global summits and conferences), spa and fitness centre, 27-hole golf course and the Kingold Museum, one of the largest private museums in southern China containing more than 20,000 pieces from thousands of years of Chinese culture. Perhaps Conghua’s most well-known attribute, however, is its mineral-rich hot springs, found across the resort and in private villas. Since the 1950s, its springs and annual mean temperature of 21ºC has seen this area in the foothills of the Phoenix Mountains nicknamed China’s Winter Capital.
The lush natural surrounds are complemented by 20 Deluxe Rooms, 90 suites and 37 courtyard-style villas rendered in a Chinese Imperial style, all featuring 24-hour butler service. Each villa is equipped with its own living room, private outdoor swimming pool, radon-rich hot spring pool, Jacuzzi and massage area. Villas start at 231sqm for one bedroom, ranging to a 732sqm compound with four bedrooms. Suites feature a minimum space of 109sqm, located within the hotel annex. The resort is also home to the Presidential Villa, an 9968sqm complex of 28 suites, designed for modern leaders with banquet halls, meeting rooms, pools and libraries. The Prime stands apart as a corporate meeting venues, a multi-purpose commercial and leisure destination along the lines of Camp David, with a combined total of 115 rooms.
Golf is taken seriously at Imperial Springs, with a 27-hole International Championship Golf Course designed by Colin Montgomerie (and a favourite with former Australian PM Bob Hawke). The Golf Club uses driverless golf carts and features five Master Villas for privacy while changing, preparing and waiting for tee-off time. The Montgomerie Lounge is a unique venue with Scottish flair and a 19m-high ceiling, with the finest whiskey, cigars and wine on offer for members.
Western and Chinese chefs create the unique cuisine on offer in the five main restaurants, cafes and bars (meals can also be served in the privacy of guests’ villas), while the Imperial Spa features seven treatment rooms and eight spa villas, integrated into a garden design. As well as hot springs within villas, the resort complex features six spring pools able to accommodate up to 50 people, making the most of the natural landscape.