A rare 300 year old courtyard mansion, lovingly restored in the heart of Wuyuan county, China. This house has seen the rise and fall of the Qing empire, the Nationalists, Communists and Modernity all glide past its front door. Isolated from the carnage of the 20th century by the misty Wuyuan mountains, experience China as it was. Brought lovingly into the 21st Century with 14 modern bedrooms, Wuyuan Skywells invites you to come and share this utterly unique experience.
The Skywells is an elegant, 300 year old mansion built in the Huizhou style - thick brick outer walls to keep out the heat, and ornate wooden interiors. A 'Skywell' is the tall, narrow courtyard typical of China's South, and our house has three of them. Heat is taken up out of the house, and water drains into channels in the centre, symbolising wealth being kept in the family and not being lost to the outside.
Being secluded up in the hills, Yancun village escaped the worst madnesses of the cultural revolution; the stories of merchant families who have lived here are preserved in hand carved friezes, painstakingly restored by Yuzong, our local artisan carpenter.
What brought us here?
Working hard jobs in marketing in Shanghai for a few years can take its toll, and many of us dream for more than we find in the depths of Microsoft Office and monthly financial reporting. It is impossible not to fall in love with the lost pleasures of birdsong, long grass and wild flowers blooming in Wuyuan.
Trailing through the winding alleys of Yan village on a holiday in 2015, and after more than one glass of wine, we realised we both shared the same dream - to pour our time, money, future and energy into restoring a beautiful old house. Holidaying in China is restricted to guided tours of frantic cities for too many people. We both want to show you the majesty, grandeur and stories we all hear about China, but are locked away beneath the surface.
We have 14 well apportioned bedrooms restored using traditional joinery and panelling. Every bedroom tells a story of people who've lived in our house over the past centuries through their documents, newspapers, household items and decorations we have recovered from within the house. Look out for the merchant bankers business notes from the 1900s, a revolutionary's original Mao era posters, and a musicians instruments and sheet music - all pieced together with local interviews.
All of our rooms face inwards, towards our skywell courtyards. Huizhou-style houses were designed to keep outsiders and heat out. We have remained loyal to the architecture and vision of our house.
Every room has its own modern, Kohler fitted bathroom, and King Koil mattresses. High grade, thick insulation keeps each room cool and quiet. All of these are essential in the countryside, but very rare to find! USB ports, safes and wildly flagrant toiletries keep you clean, safe and comfortable. You can expect a comfortable, enriching stay in one of China's oldest hotels as you explore a part of China modernity simply forgot about.
Wuyuan is a county of ancient villages in the Jiangxi countryside. We are located in Yan village, (Sixi Yancun scenic area) a protected 900 year old village which cars can not enter. Our house stands in Yan Village (Yancun), a Song dynasty village. The village is littered with spectacular houses of the merchants, scholars and mandarins. Many would travel the country working, and spend their earnings on spectacular mansions, that their family and descendants would be safe for years to come. All built in white brick, with wooden interiors, the village was designed to be beautiful - and still is. Yan village is nestled by a river to the South and hills to the North, a FengShui ideal.
Find us / Contact Us
108 SiXiYancun Village, Sikou Village Wuyuan, 333201 Wuyuan, China
Tel: (China) 0793-7335178
Wuyuan Rail: Taxis gather around the high speed railway station in Wuyuan town. It takes 25 minutes to reach the village. Wuyuan train station has direct trains to Beijing (7 hours) and Shanghai (4 hours) and Huangshan (22 mins) on the new high speed network. Trains from Nanchang take approximately 2 hours to reach Wuyuan.
Jingdezhen Airport: 90 minutes by taxi to Yan village
Huangshan Tungxi Airport: 70 minutes by taxi to Yan village
Information reproduced from the Skywells website and edited by VNC with the kind permission of Ed and Selina. VNC recommends you to visit the Skywells website to learn the full story of how Ed and Selina transformed this ancient building into a wonderful and unique hotel.