Hangzhou's newest weekend retreat: Naked Stables Private Reserve
Beautiful as it is, no one ever accused Hangzhou of being serene.
When you are in dire need of some peace and quiet, take off for naked Stables, which we should point out is not a naturist resort, despite the name.
The idyllic resort is the newest addition to naked Retreats, an eco-hotel brand founded by South African Grant Horsfield in Moganshan's bamboo forest in 2007.
We we first visited naked Stables last fall, when it was an expansive, muddy construction site.
At the time, there had been excited whispers of infinity pools, hot tubs and a pottery studio. When you’re standing ankle deep in a wet pile of leaves, however, it’s hard to envision a luxe resort.
That's why we were recently so excited to see the place in all its finished glory.
First, the rooms.
There are two types of accommodations at naked Stables. Two-, three- and four-bedroom villas kitted out with hot tubs and grills.
Then there are the rustic hut studios for one or two guests.
The resort is currently only just up and running, so during our visit, many of its amenities were still under construction -- galleries, the aforementioned pottery studio, spa and even the stables. The pool was open but too cool for swimming.
None of this mattered though. For all its offerings, the best part of visiting naked Stables is just taking in the atmosphere.
There’s plenty of walking and hiking to be done.
The property itself has plenty of shaded, winding paths, ideal for brief communes with nature. Stroll five minutes down the dirt road from the front lawn, make a quick left and you’re in a rambling bamboo forest.
The colors alone are a treat -- green bamboo and leafy trees, red earth, blue sky. It’s incredibly peaceful.
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Before or after a trek through the bamboo -- or just a languid half-hour of shutter snapping, ooohs and aaahs -- a body needs to fuel up.
The poolside pizza spot is not yet open, but the Clubhouse Bistro and, depending on the hour, Kikaboni restaurant are both ready.
Kikaboni means “organic” in Swahili. Both restaurants use local ingredients in dishes and drinks whenever possible, including tea from naked’s property.
Breakfast at Kikaboni is good for kicking off an active day. The restaurant lays on a buffet -- fresh fruit, cereal, toast, homemade preserves, juice. The banana bread is wonderfully moist and dense.
There’s also a small a la carte menu -- eggs, pancakes, coffee and the like.
The Clubhouse Bistro serves Western and Asian cuisine. There is vegetable lasagna alongside noodles and dumplings (referred to as pot stickers). For dinner at Kikaboni, roast chicken is the can't-miss order.
Kikaboni has an extensive cocktail and wine list. In warm weather, a cool glass on its rooftop patio overlooking the lake is sublime.
A more private option, ideal for cool nights, is opening a bottle of wine and slipping into your hot tub.
The night we were there was clear enough to see a wide swathe of stars -- more than you’ll ever see in Hangzhou. There is little to no light pollution at naked Stables, making the night sky in Moganshan an inky black canvas flecked with tiny white specks.
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Driving: Hangzhou is about an hour from naked Stables. Driving directions available here.
By Bus: Buses leave Hangzhou North Bus Station for Wukang every 30 minutes. The trip takes 40 minutes. Tickets are 15 RMB. Contact naked to book car service from Wukang.
By Plane or Train: naked offers car service from Hangzhou city center, Hangzhou airport and Hangzhou railway station. Vehicles can accommodate six to 17 people at a cost of RMB 450-1,300 one-way.
Shanghai to Hangzhou: High-speed trains leave hourly from Shanghai’s Hongqiao railway station. The schedule is available here. The trip takes 45-60 minutes and tickets cost RMB 78-82. Naked can help you purchase train tickets.
Naked Stables Private Reserve, Sanjiuwu, Laoling Village, Moganshan Town, Deqing County, Huzhou City, Zhejiang Province 浙江省湖州市德清县莫干山镇老岭村三鸠坞, booking hotline: +86 21 6431 8902, www.nakedretreats.cn
Rate starts from RMB 2,600 for an Earth Hut and RMB 5,800 for a treetop villa.