Westin & Sheraton Resorts To Open August 2012
This week, American hotel giant Starwood Hotels and Resorts announced plans to open its first “dual-branded” ski resort complex in China. Located near the Changbai Mountains in northeast China, one of the bright spots in the country’s nascent skiing industry, the complex, which will open its doors this August, will include the Westin Changbaishan and Sheraton Changbaishan Resort. Though far from a boutique eco-resort, the new Westin/Sheraton complex will look to leverage the natural beauty of the Changbai mountain range, with its sprawling pine forests, ponds and a 494,000 acre nature reserve.
The 257-room Westin Changbaishan Resort will offer amenities like ski-in/ski-out access, full mountain views, several restaurants, a spa, a Westin Kids Club, and an indoor swimming pool. Its sister hotel, the Sheraton Changbaishan Resort, will offer 296 guest rooms and suites with mountain or ski views, a Sheraton Club lounge and Sheraton Club rooms. Altogether, the resort complex will have more than 37,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 13,362 square-foot ballroom.
As Stephen Ho, Starwood’s Senior Vice President of Development for Asia Pacific, said this week, “China is both our fastest growing global market and our richest source of loyal travelers, and we expect that this dual-branded Starwood resort development will resonate with Chinese travelers who stick with the brands they know and love.” For the project, Starwood will work with the Chinese real estate conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, which has its hand in a number of industries including commercial real estate properties, luxury hotels, tourism investment, cultural industry, and department stores. Nationwide, Dalian Wanda currently operates 49 Wanda Plazas, 28 five-star hotels, 730 cinema screens, 40 department stores and 45 karaoke centers.
Though skiing is still a relatively new pastime in China, the China Ski Association noted last year that the number of skiers in China rose from only 200,000 per year in 2000 to more than 5 million by 2005, and by 2014, that number should rise to around 20 million.