China's Guangdong province is often called "the world's factory" and less often associated with idyllic beach holidays. But here's the thing: 30 minutes' drive from the frenzied, congested city center of Shenzhen (and close to two Hong Kong border crossings) lies Dapeng Bay, ranked among southern China's most beautiful stretches of coast. Standing on a gloriously golden, powder-fine beach is the futuristic Sheraton Dameisha Resort, www.sheraton.com/dameisha. The hotel skirts the contours of the seafront in an S shape, which is intended to reference a dragon. The dome-shaped glass-atrium lobby is designed to represent a pearl held tenaciously beneath the creature's sinuous torso. Dragon and pearl together are supposed to bestow excellent feng shui but even if you're a nonbeliever, the hotel's cool and contemporary interior, bathed in natural light, is a very favorable augury for your stay.
All of the 386 comfortably appointed rooms the smallest of which is a generous 540 sq. ft. (50 sq m) come with balconies or terraces offering a view of the ocean. While the beach itself is absolutely spotless, seawater quality can be less than ideal in this part of the world, so you might prefer swimming in one of the hotel's four pools (three outdoor and one indoor). When you've worked up an appetite, the hotel's signature restaurant, Capri, offers what it calls "contemporary Italian fare with Japanese elements." Arrive at sunset and take an alfresco table for the best sea views. There's also an upscale Cantonese restaurant, Dragon Court, and a beachfront bar. Have a couple of evening cocktails there and listen to the lapping surf: it seems rather incredible that China's economic engine is grinding away, somewhere in the distance.
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