Only 2.5 hours West of Shanghai, is a charming mountain area called Moganshan. This mountain outpost once served as a hiding place for Shanghai’s most notorious gansters, but today is the place that has become the quick weekend getaway of choice for many denizens of Shanghai, local and expat alike, who are seeking a bit of the restorative calm that comes from being close to nature. And nestled in the folds of the mountains and protected bamboo forests is Naked Retreats.
What was once a little guest house cum eco retreat has blossomed into a full fledged resort, Naked Stables. While the original guest house called Naked Home Village still exists, it is Naked Stables that is drawing lots of attention these days. Recently voted in Conde Nast Traveler’s 2012 “Hot List” of hotels, Naked has come on the map as a company that does what few attempt to do in China….execute a high-end luxury resort in an eco-friendly manner. Surrounded by bamboo forest in a protected nature reserve, at Naked Stables everywhere you look you see the use of natural, raw materials in the expanse of the resort which houses 30 villas and 40 earth huts. The earth huts are made of….you guessed it…earth. No CFC’s are used in the air conditioning systems – instead chilled water is run through the property on aquaducts. And Naked buys as many local products as they can with a great deal of their produce coming from the local farming community. (although to be fair, I do find the abundant use of animal skins as decor a little disconcerting when viewed through an “eco” lens.)
I have had the opportunity to visit Moganshan and Naked Stables twice. Once in the winter and once in the summer and found it equally gorgeous and restorative at both times. In the summer, escaping the sweltering heat of Shanghai is the draw. We escape and enjoy the large balcony of the villa, the lush green mountain vista and of course the pool. In the winter we took in the frosty mountains as we sat in the jacuzzi on the balcony and sipped red wine.
The villas themselves are thoughtfully decorated in modern yet rustic decor. And the fully equipped kitchen and outdoor barbeque make it easy for a group or family to feel a bit more at home. Although we did hire some staff one night to come to our villa and cook an amazing South African inspired BBQ dinner. So it doesn’t have to be all do-it-yourself But if you like to cook, and you know I do, you don’t have to feel like you are eating “out” every night.
Of course as one would expect there’s hiking to be done and trails to be explored. I hear there’s even mountain biking, although that’s not really my thing. And the “stables” part of the name is not gratuitous, there are in fact horses to ride as well. But honestly what I have enjoyed best everytime is gazing at the morning view of the mountains from my bed, drinking some wine on the balcony and digging into good book by the pool (in summer) or in on the expansive sofa (in winter).
Naked Stables Eco Retreat
Reservations:+86 21 6431 8901