When one of Asia’s leading luxury hospitality brands, Alila, first arrived in China, it seemed the pair might make for unlikely bedfellows. Given the sheer size and scale of its population and its many vast metropolis, China might well have been considered in direct contradiction with Alila’s brand philosophy; immersive experiences melded into an undisturbed and pristine panorama. They reign supreme when it comes to offering seamless luxury with the minimum of disturbance to Mother Nature. However, the alliance has worked and Alila’s first Chinese project, planted deep in the heart of the country’s first National Ecological park, in the northwestern area of Zhejiang’s Anji County, is thriving. It’s an area is known for its lush, bamboo groves, sweeping mountain vistas and tea hills. In fact, it’s where director Ang Lee chose to shoot his Oscar-winning movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. What better way, then, to enjoy the area’s beauty than from the sky with the new Sky Safari?
Prior to this new package which includes stay, safari and spa, the area beyond the property was only really the vestige of the most accomplished backpackers and hardcore trekkers. Now, with Alila’s alliance with the local airport and Easy Tours, access and views of these fabulous vistas are available to the layman. There’s two ways to take the trip – helicopter or single wing propeller engine plane (the Robinson R44 chopper and the 90s engineered Cirrus SR20 monoplane). Both are equally exhilarating, and both are up-to-the-minute when it comes to aviation safety and comfort. The only caveat being that either craft are strictly limited to pilot plus three, so best enjoyed as small family gatherings or anniversaries.
The tours do differ slightly depending on the craft you choose, too. The mono plane giving you a longer 15-minute sweeping bird’s eye flight over Tianzi Lake and nearby town, Zhangwu. Those with the flying bug can also play co-pilot for a duration of the flight. The chopper, on the other hand, whips over the terrain at much lower altitudes of around 300 meters, for an up close and personal view of the flora and fauna. The property, like all its sister destinations across Asia, focuses on architecture that is culturally befitting of the area. In Alila Anji’s case, the spacious lake-view villas are arranged to resemble a typical village of the province. Cuisine and gourmet dining at Alila also draw heavily on local recipes, styles and tastes of the region. Valid until 30 June, the Sky Safari package includes two nights villa accommodation, a bespoke flying experience and a complimentary Alila Living facial mask treatment. At just one-hour’s road journey from Tianzi Lake Airport, now could be time the right time to go get your jungle on.