The growth in domestic tourism and business travel in China, as well as sustained demand from international travelers, has brought virtually every major global hotelier to China over the past 20 years. Recently, Shanghai in particular has been the site of a luxury hotel construction boom, as world players fight to finish new properties in time for the Shanghai World Expo, set to take place this May and expected by organizers to attract upwards of 70 million visitors.
As we wrote in October, newly constructed hotels have added nearly 4,000 five-star rooms to the city’s already vast luxury hotel market, and since then, Sol Meliá Hotels & Resorts has opened its newest property -- the Gran Meliá Shanghai, a glittering five star hotel in Shanghai's Lujiazui district, one of the city's main business and entertainment hubs.
The [Gran Melia Shanghai] has views over the Huangpu River and district of Puxi, and is the maximum exponent of ultra-modern design in the city based around traditional Feng Shui philosophy, in which all of the architectural features of the building live in harmony with its location.
Its 30 floors make it the tallest hotel in the city, and its 686 rooms have a minimalist design and furnishings.
Some guests may also enjoy a VIP experience in the Premium rooms provided on the REDlevel: 119 guest rooms, 12 suites, 1 presidential suite and 1 imperial suite along with a range of extra services such as a private check-in area, continental breakfast, aperitifs, and access to the REDlevel lounge.
There are also 17 meeting rooms for between 20 and 150 people, a large ballroom with space for up to 800 guests, as well as Wi-Fi access throughout the hotel, newspaper service, CD and DVD library, buffet breakfast, lounges and business centres equipped with additional services such as secretaries, transport, fax and e-mail.
While this may sound like a run-of-the-mill press release for yet another hotel opening, the important thing is that the Gran Meliá Shanghai is the company's first foray into the China market and only its seventh Asian location. With this new hotel, Sol Meliá looks to be declaring the company's interest in establishing a strong foothold in the mainland, from which they can spread to other major cities and later to the interior.
While the first Shanghai location appears to be something of an experiment in this new market, considering the traffic that this city is expected to see in about four months' time, it looks as if the company will be starting off on the right foot.