Mission Hills Volcanic Mineral Springs and Spa

Home to the largest natural springs reserve in the region, the Spa at Mission Hills on China’s Hainan island sets the bar with designs and treatments that are both locally and globally inspired. Janice Seow has this story

15 Dec 2011

A new spa destination has just been completed on the northern coast of China’s Hainan Island and it’s set on the largest natural springs reserve in the region covering an incredible 950,000sq ft!

Designed by US-based SB Architects and landscape designers EDSA, the spa forms a major component of Mission Hills ▪ Haikou, a 5-star resort with a host of wellness, leisure, recreation, entertainment and dining experiences, including no less than 10 golf courses.

The Spa at Mission Hills is the central defining feature of the mineral springs complex, which is surrounded by 473,000sq ft of lushly landscaped gardens, and 168 springs and water features.

Featuring 61 treatment suites, it takes inspiration from the traditional Hakka Earthen Fortress Villages of Southern China – distinctive communal structures and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

“The circular form allowed us to introduce natural light and fresh air into the building, which is essential for a structure of this scale. Every treatment room either looks outward toward the expansive gardens of the Volcanic Mineral Springs, or inward toward the bamboo that surrounds the central structure,” explains Scott A. Lee, president and principal of SB Architects.

The main spa structure is also made of soaring, semi-circular bamboo that rises from a massive lava stone base – slightly canted to increase the sense of grandeur. Apart from the powerful design statement it makes, the use of locally abundant material also grounds the design in the nature and topography of Hainan Island.

The volcanic lava springs are organised into a series of geographical zones – Asia, Oceania, North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa – with each venue offering treatments indigenous to its location. There is, for example, a hot stone bath, foot reflexology tunnel and Lingzh spring in the Asia zone, and, not to be outdone, a replication of a Turkish hamman and the Dead Sea in the Middle East zone!

“They [the client] wanted a variety of experiences so that all visitors and guests would find a special place within the expansive overall complex,” says Lee.

For those who desire longer-term solace, there are 29 Spa Villas nestled amidst contemplation pools and ritual gardens at one end of the Volcanic Mineral Springs.

Mission Hills