Luxury Hotelier Mandarin Oriental Targets Second-Tier China

320-Room Chengdu Hotel Slated To Open In 2015

Mandarin Oriental Shanghai: The hotelier hopes to tap inland Chinese growth by 2015

Rising high-end consumption and wealth creation in second- and third-tier Chinese cities isn’t only attracting brands like Zegna or multi-brand luxury retailers like The Swank, it’s enticing some of the world’s top hoteliers to go further inland. Though outbound travel continues to boom and mainland Chinese are venturing increasingly further afield, boutique and luxury hotels are springing up not only in and around top-tier cities but inland, in the hopes of benefiting from the growing premium business travel industry and the popularity of “staycations” around areas of particular natural beauty. Perhaps with the “hotel saturation” we see in top-tier cities in mind, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced this week that — after its debut in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou — it will open a new property in mainland China in second-tier Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province.

Slated for a tentative opening date of 2015, the upcoming Mandarin Oriental Chengdu will be the hotelier’s fourth location in the Chinese Mainland. (It operates three locations in Hong Kong and two in Macau.) The hotel, located on a riverfront site in the city’s Jin-Jiang district, will sit nearby major commercial and entertainment areas as well as Chengdu’s ancient Wangjiang Park, which dates back to the Ming Dynasty. The Mandarin Oriental Chengdu will comprise the top 33 floors of a new high-rise, with 320 rooms including 41 suites, with views of the city skyline and the nearby park.

Perk-wise, according to a company release, the hotel will include several restaurants and bars, including a rooftop lounge and tea house, a range of dining options and a Mandarin Oriental Cake Shop. Additionally, it will include a 1,200-seat grand ballroom and 500-seat junior ballroom and several multi-function spaces for social gatherings and conferences. The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Chengdu will be particularly large, taking up 2,740 square meters and featuring 10 treatment rooms, likely making it one of the most expansive spas in the entire western China region.

The new Mandarin Oriental Chengdu will be located near the city's historic Wangjiang Park

As Edouard Ettedgui, Group Chief Executive of Mandarin Oriental said this week of the new hotel, “This project presents an ideal opportunity to further grow our brand in the mainland, and we are looking forward to creating the best luxury hotel in this dynamic city, the capital of this important economic and culturally rich province.”

Since China’s luxury hotel boom of 2008-2010, which saw the number of five-star hotels balloon in preparation for major events like the Beijing Olympics and Shanghai World Expo, hotel expansion in China has shown no sign of stopping. As of last year, China had approximately 2 million hotels in total — a number expected to leap to 5 million by 2016 — and at the beginning of 2012, the number of five-star hotels in the country stood at 651, with an additional 500 scheduled to open in coming years. Despite a fast-growing domestic tourism and business travel market, this rapid expansion by both Chinese and international hoteliers has, since the closing of Shanghai’s World Expo in 2010, led to chronic oversupply and low occupancy rates. Still, hoteliers at the high end of the market see potential in places like Chengdu, which benefit from strong economic and tourism growth.

One of the major business gateways to western China, Chengdu sits close to Sichuan province tourist hot-spots like the Wolong panda research center, E-mei Mountain, the Giant Buddha of Le Shan and Huang-long and Jiu-zhai-gou national parks.

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