Friday, October 19, 2012

Moganshan, China

Text by Justin Bergman, executive summary by darmansjah

At the beginning of the 20th century, the highlands of Moganshan is a means of retreat for the rich. Now, after a long forgotten, the slopes are wrapped in bamboo forest re-visited. At the end of 2011, inaugurated the two properties: Naked Stables, which houses 211 rooms, as well as Le Passage Moganshan which offers 40 rooms and the garden contains 12 thousand rose bushes..

As people seek to get away from the big city helter-skelter, vacation spots in the country are mushrooming. Xu Junqian finds one quiet refuge in Moganshan, in Deqing county. It is verdant country laced with soothing streams and blanketed in evergreen trees and bamboos. Moganshan used to be a favorite summer retreat for the rich and royal of Shanghai in the past, and a sprawl of villas varying in style from medieval castles to country manors equipped with tennis courts, swimming pools and indoor ballrooms testify to that era of grand living.

Wealthy merchants and traders from The Bund created a holiday paradise for themselves at Moganshan, just 200 kilometers away from Shanghai and 60 km away from Hangzhou.Now, a different breed of professionals and expatriates from big cities in the surrounding hinterland is re-discovering the pleasures of the countryside there.

As our car crawls up the winding mountain road up Moganshan, it is easy to spot eight red-brick farmhouses among the hundreds of others that dot the rolling hillside. This is the 395 Village resort, and the gravel path leading to the farmhouses is marked by a sign enlivened with colorful images of workers in the early revolutionary style.

The access is neatly maintained and free of plastic bottles or other holiday debris left by careless visitors. The front yard, too, is blessedly free of the vulgar statues and faux rock formations that adorn so many public areas throughout Zhejiang. The only structure of note in this small open area is the wash basin, converted from a feed trough for livestock.

The amenities of Naked Retreat seem bare.

Air-conditioning, deemed harmful to the environment, is banned and guests are kept cool with fans in summer. Most of the furniture is largely made from recycled material and all household 

"Some city people flock to Moganshan in the winter months simply to see the snow," he added.

Such enthusiasm has lured thousands of local farmers into the "agritainment" industry, as they call it. Many are simply opening up their newly refurbished and modernized homes. Some empty-nesters are simply renting out the spare bedrooms left by their children, who have gone to the big cities to make more money. For them, it's like having paying guests at home to whom they can offer accommodation and meals - typical home-cooked country fare with ingredients that come straight from the vegetable patches and the hen coop in the backyard.

The county government estimates that there are currently about 1,500 beds provided by 108 agritainment families at Moganshan. More than 1,200 people, mostly farmers, are working in the business, accounting for 10 percent of the population of the less-than-100-square-kilometer mountainous area.

The demand is there, nationwide.

According to Horsfield, his company plans to open another three Naked resorts in some of the best locations in China to expand their green business. The latest is Naked Stable, a 20-minute car drive away from the village, a more high-end facility which offers horseback-riding and conference amenities. It cost 200 million yuan to build and is expected to be in operation late this year. Another two, still in blueprint stage, are to be located at Shangri-La in Yunnan and the Zhoushan Islands in Zhejiang.

1 comment:

  1. I am unable to read articles online very often, but I’m glad I did today. This is very well written and your points are well-expressed. Please, don’t ever stop writing.
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