Chongqing is a city in constant flux. But the Chaotianmen area, situated at the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers, remains as a testimonial of the city’s centuries-old maritime heritage thanks to architecture that pays tribute to bygone days. Such is the case of the new InterContinental Chongqing Raffles City hotel, where the city’s nautical past is manifest from the inside out.
Chaotianmen, which refers to “the city gate facing the emperor”, harks back to the early Ming dynasty when the emperor constructed 17 city gates for local officials to receive the imperial decrees. The gate was the largest one facing towards the primary Ming capital, which is now Nanjing, hence the name Chaotianmen. In 1998, the 800,000-square-meter Chaotianmen Square resembling the bow of a ship was launched to honour the area’s nautical heritage. Scroll through the gallery below (Photography: Feng Shao) to find out more:
“It was upon this premise that we based our design concept, a story that weaves ancient culture and heritage of the Middle Kingdom with modern day China,” said CL3 Architects, the interior design firm behind the InterContinental Chongqing Raffles City hotel.
The Jing restaurant is decked out in shades of blue with hints of red and brass, brimming with sophistication and personality.
Launched in August, the resort is housed in the Raffles City Chongqing development from the 42nd floor up. Done by Safdie Architects, the eight-skyscraper Raffles City Chongqing is a mixed-use complex combining residential, hotel, retail and other facilities across a 22.7 acre site on the banks of the rivers.
Among the luxury amenities offered by the hotel are thoughtful details intended to transport guests back to the nautical history of the site. It begins with a painting at the arrival lobby, which showcases the local history of Chongqing in the fashion of traditional Chinese painting. Other nautical references, such as curved entrances and arc-shaped lighting, are interwoven with touches of Chinese motifs and crafts flowing from the arrival lobby to what’s descried as a “horizontal skyscraper” – a 250-m-high skybridge on the 42nd floor where the hotel’s reception area is located.
Dubbed the Crystal, the glass-enclosed corridor spans 300 meters atop four of the soaring towers with glass-bottom observation desks jutting out on both ends. It houses a residential clubhouse, functional areas and a lobby lounge that nods to the nautical aesthetics with a reception desk reminiscent of a hull.
Here, green plants mingle with enveloping wooden seats in shapes of waves under a towering arc-shaped dome, creating a space likened to the mountainous landscapes in Chongqing. The interior boasts an abundance of windows capturing the stunning views of the two streams and the city’s skyline. “This iconic, contemporary hotel takes a prime site location and maximizes views of the river, mountains, city and sky,” the firm stated.
References of the city’s nautical past continue to the hotel’s 380 guestrooms and suites, where finishes, like the undulating silhouette of the coach, were chosen to mirror a yacht cabin, as were the curved walls in pale wood.
The curvaceous silhouette of the decor and furnishing elegantly defines the interior to accent the nautical theme.
“These elements combine to create a hotel which is an integral part of any guest voyage, integrating the spirit of river travel, comfort and elegant luxury into a unique hotel experience,” the firm concluded. Other prominent features include a swimming pool, a gym room, a ballroom, as well as the whimsical “Jing” restaurant defined by dark stone flooring and peacock blue finishes.