Pre and Post-Olympic Luxury
But that doesn’t mean Beijing’s hotel market is limited to mid-range properties. In fact, several luxury hotel chains established a presence in the city well before the Olympics came to town. Starwood’s St. Regis brand was introduced to Asia in 2000 with the launch of the St. Regis Beijing, which recently completed a $27 million renovation that included a redesign of its 258 rooms, including 102 suites as well as its signature restaurants and public spaces. The hotel also offers a natural spring water spa, more than 13,114 square feet of meeting space and St. Regis’ signature butler service. “With strong domestic demand, an increasing affinity for global brands and international inbound travel on the rise, our opportunity in China is perhaps unsurpassed anywhere in the world,” said Simon Turner, president of global development for Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “As the Chinese travel abroad, they look for brands they know, and therefore Starwood’s development in China today, has significant implications for our hotels worldwide.”
The company continues to strengthen its presence in the city with the openings of the Sheraton Beijing Dongcheng Hotel, the company’s 100th hotel in China, and Four Points by Sheraton Beijing Haidian.
Back on the luxury front, the Sofitel Wanda Beijing opened in October 2007 as the brand’s 20th property in China and Asian flagship hotel. Along with 417 rooms, the hotel also features a signature restaurant, Le Pré Lenôtre, inspired by the Michelin-rated, three-star restaurant Le Pre Catelan in Paris. There are three additional dining experiences and two bars, in step with the brand’s commitment to exceptional food and beverage options.
Following the Sofitel’s Beijing opening, the 305-room Ritz-Carlton unveiled the Ritz-Carlton, Beijing adjacent to the Shin Kong Place shopping center, it offers club level accommodations with private elevator access. A multi-lingual concierge prints out boarding passes, makes restaurant reservations, and answers questions about business protocol in China.
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts will manage the Fairmont Haitang Bay Resort, Sanya, China scheduled to open in 2011 joining sister hotels in Singapore, Beijing (2008), Kunshan (2009), Macao (2010), Shanghai’s landmark Peace Hotel (2010) and Fairmont Manila, Philippines (2010).
The newly-formed company Swire Hotels opened its first property, the Opposite House, in Beijing in August. Located at The Village at Sanlitun, a new open-plan shopping, dining and entertainment destination developed by Swire Properties, the hotel has 99 studios, including nine suites, and a restaurant serving contemporary north Asian cuisine. Despite the economic downturn, another new luxury hotel group, Guoman Hotels is opening new properties in Asia in 2009, among them is a 460-room deluxe hotel as part of a mixed-use project in Beijing and a 360-room hotel in Shanghai.
The Aman at Summer Palace, Amanresorts’ new Beijing hotel, recently opened its doors. Steps from the east gate of the Summer Palace grounds, The Aman at Summer Palace is housed in a series of dwellings that date back over a century and were built for guests awaiting an audience with Empress Dowager Cixi. The hotel has four restaurants, a bar, library and boutique. The Aman Club - a large spa and pool and health center will be located underground in order to maintain the aesthetic of the surroundings. Also on the luxury front, Traders Upper East Hotel, Beijing opened in September as Shangri-La’s fifth hotel in the city. The 419-room hotel is home to three dining outlets and a spa and fitness center of more than 10,000 square feet, including an indoor heated pool.
Not to be outdone, the Hilton Hotels Corporation is also getting in on Beijing’s burgeoning hotel market as the company announced plans to unveil the 300-room Conrad Beijing at the end of 2010 and the Hilton Beijing Capital Airport this quarter, having already opened the Hilton Beijing Wangfujing and the Doubletree by Hilton Beijing this summer. The yet-to-open Conrad will showcase a rooftop bar, while Hilton’s airport property will offer 324-rooms in Terminal 3 and will showcase a piano bar as well as wine and cigar bars in addition to meeting space and fitness facilities. The 547-room Doubletree in the new Lar Valley International mixed-use business complex, will boast the brand’s signature Sweet Dreams by Doubletree bedding as well as executive floor rooms with an executive club lounge. Guests at the 225-room Hilton Beijing Wangfujing can view the works of local Beijing artists, scattered throughout the hotel, and a chance to dine at Vasco’s, one of the few Macanese restaurants in the city. “I look forward to continuing the success of Hilton Hotels in a city that is experiencing phenomenal growth,” says Nils-Arne Schroeder, general manager of Hilton Beijing Wangfujing.