China Travel Guide
At the beginning of the year we were hoping that after seemingly endless anticipation, end of June would be the time to finally whiz up to the heights of Shangri-La at the Shard in London. Latest word however is that we’ll all have to hold our breath until after the summer before that can happen, with opening of the hotel pushed back to September.
While we continue to wait, the group is offering something to tie us over though: the Jing An Shangri-La Puxi, its second hotel in Shanghai, due to arrive on June 29 in the city's west end. Its older sibling can be found in the eastern Pudong business district, looking impossibly small from high up its vertiginous neighbor.
Sweet Suites / Shanghai Hotels / China Hotels / Indigo Hotels / Photo Gallery / Hotel Snapshot / Hotel Design / → All Tags
Next up in our Sweet Suite series is this gem from the Hotel Indigo Shanghai on the Bund. Now, we've fallen in love with this place before—specifically, the lobby, with its book-lined shelves, curvy walls, and that lonely yellow bicycle.
But today, we're heading upstairs to the Glamour Suite, which is one of three "Icon suites" located inside the hotel. How did this one get to be so glamorous, you ask? The designers had originally wanted to create three major suites (Shanghai past, present, and future), but the hotel decided to "take things to the next level," and ended up naming the suites Shanghai Deco, Shanghai Glamour and Shanghai Future.
As you can see from the photos, everything—from the mirror-paneled nightstand to the turquoise couch to the marble martini bar—is way over the top. But in a good, life-is-short-so-why-not? kinda way.
The fixtures are designed to "reflect contemporary Shanghai's glamour".
They're also meant to make you feel more glamorous. For example, if you suddenly get inspired to throw a private cocktail party, you can gather in the 12-seat dining room, which has giant windows overlooking Pudong. On top of that, there's also an outdoor terrace that can hold up to 20 people, with views over the Bund.
Ever feel like glamping would just be sooo much cooler if your tent was completely see-through? Well, a France-based company called BubbleTree has gone ahead and designed one. It's called a "Bubble", and it's made of clear vinyl that allows plenty of sunshine (or, in other cases, nosy neighbors) to filter through.
To acquaint Chinese customers with the product, RocketNews reports that BubbleTree installed one of their bubbles on a street corner in Chengdu last weekend. And to make things really realistic, there was even a young girl living inside it for two days, going about her business like reading an iPad and reclining on the bed.
Unsurprisingly, the stunt worked: the bubble hotel sparked the interest of hundreds of passersby (and just as many iPhone cameras).
Inside, the girl sprawled out in her fully-furnished, 100% see-through hotel room (bed, table, dresser, armchair, ottoman all included) and showed the world how wonderful it was to be seen by…the world.
Kinda makes you think twice about the expression "killer view", doesn't it?
While some in the travel industry are promoting wellness retreats as group-style getaways on isolated resorts that include daily workouts and a dumbed-down diet, the Banyan Tree brand has its own plan to help lower your blood pressure: They combine the local nature and culture, stick you in a suite, and close the door behind them.
It's true. Space and privacy are big selling points of Banyan Tree properties, such as the five-star Macau resort with in-room private relaxation pools. As it reads right on its homepage, "The philosophy behind the hotels, resorts, residences, spas, retail galleries and destination club is based on rejuvenation of the body, mind and soul – a Sanctuary for the Senses."
Opening this summer, the Banyan Tree Chongqing Beibei 0 will take things to the next level. Set amongst the alleged healing waters of the North Hot Springs outside of Chongqing, this baby is essentially built into a hillside and will feature 107 suites and villas with private hot spring pools (using the water from the North Hot Springs). There will be 48 Hot Spring Retreats and 59 Hot Spring Villas as well as seven different indoor/outdoor springs throughout the property. As you can see from the photo, this will be a retreat in every sense of the word.
Even though Langham Hotels is prepping to open in Chicago and have recently taken over the Setai Hotel in NYC and the Observatory Hotel in Sydney, they've actually closed the door on the Langham Yangtze in Shanghai.
Sophie Friedman, a Conde Nast Traveler contributor based in China, emailed us last week to say the hotel, a place we once called "practically perfect", parted ways with Langham (i.e. the management contract was not renewed.) Instead, the building's owners are doing their own thing and the hotel has been renamed Yangtze Boutique Hotel.
The Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong gets into the Easter spirit by asking the age old question--which comes first--the chicken or the egg?
To be honest, we prefer not to get into such debates. Instead, we'll focus on the cute as hell eye candy brought to you front-and-center from the hotel's delectable Mandarin Cake Shop.
Sing it now, "rubber ducky, your the one..." What, you don't know this song? Gah! To the corner with ya!
[Photo: Instagram/Mandarin Oriental Hotels]
Hotel Layovers / Hotel Packages / Four Seasons Hotels / Beijing Hotels / China Hotels / Hotel Tips / → All Tags
As we learned from our extensive coverage of Anthony Bourdain’s “The Layover” show, a stopover in a city can be as fun as you make it. And if you’re a savvy traveler (which we know most of you are), many of you will plan your flight arrangements to include a break in a city that you love or want to cross off your bucket list. Certain routes seem conducive to extended layovers—Beijing being one of them.
But instead of holing up in an airport lounge of one-of-the world’s most historic and exciting cities, the Four Seasons Hotel Beijing has come up with a better idea--the “Experience the Best of Beijing in 72 Hours” package.
For the first time ever, tourists can spend up to 72 hours in Beijing sans visa. So, now a hotel staff member will arrive at Beijing Capital International Airport, tuck you into a FS car (either limo or BMW 5, hand you a steaming cup of traditional tea, then whisk you away to the hotel to get freshened up.
Between a Japanese public toilet, an English yellow submarine, a beer barrel, and a Tasmanian morgue, we have seen a lot of hotels that are, let’s say, a little different. Whether it’s just for the novelty factor, or to make a particular statement, we usually take an approach that says: whatever floats your boat – if there are guests out there willing to pay for it, then here’s to you.
This week’s oddball that’s doing the rounds everywhere from CNN to Inthralld is the Haoduo Panda Inn in China, and as much as we appreciate and support wanting to draw attention to the endangered panda, we kind of can’t decide: is this cute or creepy?
Luxury hotels are opening left, right, and center in China; our recent archives are full of them. So humor us for a second, imagine we’d ask you to close your eyes and describe a new luxury hotel opening in a major Chinese city. How would you do it?
If you’re like us, it would go something like this: glassy high-rise, say, attached to a high-end mall? Check. Interiors done up in a mix of whites, greys, and woods, with a dash of contemporary Asian? Check, check. Large rooms, a Club floor, a mix of restaurants (both Chinese and Western, ideally some fusion in there) with a hip bar? Triple check.
Maybe some business and conference facilities, with the latest technology, as well as a swanky spa? Check, check, CHECK – and...welcome to the new Mandarin Oriental Guangzhou.
This week couldn't end without discussing a new Shangri-La hotel, could it? Of course not!
So, besides gushing about the über-plush and attentive service the hotel chain will bring to their newest property debuting in March in Qufu, East-central China, we'll detail their elaborate and unique opening celebration.
The 502-room behemoth will be the first international hotel chain for the city that's better known as Confucius' hometown. While the folks at Shangri-La will be wowing guests with luxury amenities and comfy guestrooms, we like the the events surrounding the ribbon cutting because it involves beautiful food, and, in this case, a food roadshow!
It's that time of year again: the 2012 HotelChatter Awards! Today and Monday, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...
The Park Hyatt Shanghai is located on floors 79-93 of the Shanghai World Financial Center and was once considered the tallest hotel in the world (that’s now been trumped by the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai).
Still, no matter the designation, we give it an award for having the best view around and we've loved it for a long time. The reason is simple. Once you take the express elevator up to the 87th lobby floor of this mammoth building you’ll be gobsmacked by the incredible panoramic views of the city that’s becoming the center of attention for many hotel brands. The Four Seasons, Mandarin Oriental, Banyan Tree, and Bulgari are coming to town, sooner rather than later.
An afternoon dim sum lunch at the 100 Century Avenue restaurant on the 91st floor makes it hard to concentrate on the food and not the famous Oriental Pearl Tower in the distance. And at night, the ambiance and views at the Park Hyatt get even better when you go to level 92 and the Music Room, where a cocktail to accompany the live music sets an incredible scene.
Naturally, if you’re afraid of heights, you might disagree with our choice, but we just say, don’t look down!
China is hot in the world of hotels, as we all know. There’s the dizzying number of properties being opened or announced on a near daily basis, and then InterContinental Hotel Group went and created an entire brand (Hualuxe) just for the Chinese market.
It’s perhaps no surprise then that another new premium hotel brand dedicated to China will be showing up in the next few years: Ahn Luh Resorts & Residences. But, there are a number of reasons why we are intrigued by Ahn Luh, not least among which is the fact that one of the people behind it is Adrian Zecha, founder of drool-worthy (and bank-account busting) Amanresorts and co-founder of GHM Hotels.