W Hotels To Open Five Locations In China In Coming Years
With parent company Starwood investing heavily in the China market over the past several years — and even moving its CEO there for one month in 2011 — it was only a matter of time before the stylish W Hotels imprint made its way to the Mainland. This past week, with the grand opening of a 317 room property in Guangzhou, W officially launched its long-term China expansion effort, which should see the brand open five locations in mainland China within the next four years.
In 2014, W properties will be rolled out in Beijing, Shanghai, and Changsha, with Suzhou scheduled to open in 2017. This means that China will account for almost half of the 11 new Asia-Pacific properties W hopes to open within the next five years.
So why launch now? According to the hotelier, part of it boils down to the outbound Chinese tourism boom, which has exposed thousands of prospective mainland Chinese guests to the look and feel of W Hotels worldwide. As China Daily notes:
W Hotels Worldwide brought in a team of interior designers from New York, Toronto, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur to depict the ancient history of Guangzhou against a backdrop of a thoroughly modern commercial city.
The asymmetrical black hotel, which features architectural cutouts and bright glass highlights, is near China’s tallest building, Canton Tower.
One reason that W Hotels, whose first property was in New York in 1998, has sought to imprint the boutique brand on China is growing interest from Chinese outbound travelers, said Charlie Dang, the company’s regional vice-president of operations for Greater China.
“These travelers usually stay in hotels they are familiar with,” he said. “We have W hotels all over the world now, so it gives them the choice of whether they want to stay within the brand of their preference.”