Hua Di Hotels To Add A Luxurious, Modern Twist To The History And Culture Of China
Over the past couple of decades, the influence of David Tang — founder of the Richemont-owned Chinese luxury fashion house Shanghai Tang — has extended far beyond the borders of Hong Kong, inspiring businesspeople from around Asia to reconsider their conceptions of luxury with an Asian twist.
This week, one of Tang’s unofficial disciples, award-winning hotel veteran Edmond Ip (formerly of Hyatt and Banyan Tree, current CEO of Kosmpolito Hotels International) announced that he plans to take a page from Shanghai Tang’s playbook and launch a new boutique hotel brand infused with Chinese art, culture, and history.
Much like Shanghai Tang, which offers contemporary updates on traditional garments like Zhongshan suits and qipaos, Ip’s new brand, “Hua Di,” will be developed with the goal of putting a modern, luxurious twist on traditional Chinese art and design.
As Ip said in a recent interview,”what David Tang has done with Shanghai Tang – that will be a good illustration of the brand that I’d like to develop.” Pointing out that he sees Hua Di as something of a “personal brand,” Ip added, “[a] lot of people are in love with the China of today but they don’t know its history and culture. I want to cultivate a new method of translating the history and culture, and using Chinese art in a different format.”
While the new brand is still in the early planning stages, considering Ip told his interviewer that China is “still the place to go, still the place to grow” in the hotel industry, it’s probably not unreasonable to expect the first Hua Di hotel to land in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Hangzhou or Kunming.
Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Financial Street, Voted Mainland China’s Top Hotel
The Ritz-Carlton may still be applauding the grand opening of its new Pudong location in Shanghai, but this week there was even more cause for celebration as The Ritz-Carlton Beijing (Financial Street) was voted the best hotel in mainland China — and sixth-best in a list of the top 25 hotels in Asia — by readers of the American magazine Travel + Leisure.
Commenting on the award, Mark Lettenbichler, Area Vice President and General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Financial Street said, “To be the highest ranked hotel in Beijing for two consecutive years and the top ranked hotel on mainland China is testimony to our consistent delivery of unique experiences and dedicated service. We are truly honored and will continue to set a new benchmark and deliver memorable experiences through our devoted ladies and gentlemen.”
The annual poll by Travel + Leisure is based on a questionnaire in which respondents are asked to rate five characteristics such as rooms/facilities, location, service, restaurants/food, and value.
In announcing the results of this year’s poll, Travel + Leisure described The Ritz-Carlton Beijing (Financial Street) as a hotel that “abounds with clever designs and touches that ensure good feng shui. In the lobby lounge, walls are adorned with 60,000 sculpted resin bamboo leaves and specially commissioned paintings by famous local artist Bo Yun. An enormous indoor pool forms part of a 15,000-square foot spa complex and has a giant movie screen at one end where classic black-and-white movies are shown.”
This is not the first time The Ritz-Carlton Beijing (Financial Street) has been listed among the best hotels in Asia. Since opening in mid-October 2006, it was named “Best Hotel” in Travel + Leisure’s 2008 Design Awards (the only hotel in the world in this category to win this particular accolade) and was also listed in Travel + Leisure’s 500 World’s Best Hotels in 2009 and again this year.
Banyan Tree Looks To Take Yunnan Up-Market
China Hospitality News reports today that the Singaporean luxury chain Banyan Tree has signed an agreement with Tengchong Yumagu Hot Spring Investment Company to jointly develop the high-end tourism market in China’s southwestern Yunnan province. While Yunnan’s a bit off the beaten track for many visting business travelers or tourists, it’s rapidly becoming something of a playground for China’s entertainment and business elite.
Under the agreement, Banyan Tree will be in charge of the design and management of one Banyan Tree and an Angsana resort inside the Tengchong Yumagu Hot Spring International Tourist Resort.
The tourist resort is in the northeast of Tengchong, and is a joint investment of Yunnan Metropolitan Construction Investment Company and Shenzhen Hua Long Group. The resort has a planned area of six square kilometers, and will have three luxury hotels, an upscale spa center, a sports training center, and a high-end villa property program. The aim is to build Yumagu into one of the most attractive international holiday and convention destinations in Yunnan, in China, and even in Asia.
The Banyan Tree resort is planned to open by the end of 2012, and the Angsana resort will open by the end of 2013.
Additionally, Banyan Tree Lijiang (in Yunnan) is offering a new “Spirit of Yunnan” package that includes a two-night stay in a Deluxe Garden Villa at Banyan Tree Lijiang and two-night stay in a Tibetan Suite at Banyan Tree Ringha, running until September.