China Travel Guide
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David Beckham made his name as a top footballer in his younger years but now in his retirement, he's become a man of many leisurely pursuits such as underwear modeling, cologne-making and tattoo collecting. He's also dabbling in the hotel world.
Last week, the Las Vegas Sands Corp., announced that Beckham would be assisting in the development of "dining, retail and leisure concepts" at the Sands properties in Macao and Marina Bay, Singapore. Much of the press release about the partnership is a bunch of "we're so excited" type of statements yet the details are scant on what exactly Beckham will be doing.
Our guess is that someone else is going to come up with these new concepts which will obviously have a luxury element to them for which Beckham will lend his face and body. We're thinking David Beckham Steakhouse, David Beckham Watch Shop, David Beckham Cigars, David Beckham Men's Intimates, David Beckham Noodles To Go. Er, maybe not that last one.
However, given that Becks is now the global ambassador for Chinese Football, we're sure at least one of these concepts will have to do with the sport itself. All "Bend It Like Beckham" jokes aside, we're quite curious to see what they, er, he, comes up with.
[Photo: Las Vegas Sands Corp.]
Every time a cool new app comes out promising guests to check-in or check-out via their phone or table or use their handheld as a room key, we always wonder how much longer it will be before human hotel staff become obsolete. Well, at The Pengheng Space Capsules Hotel in Shenzhen, China, that time is here.
The Nanfang Insider reports that the hotel is nearly entirely staffed by ROBOTS. Robots greet you at reception and at the front desk and even serve you drinks and food in the lobby lounge. However, there are some humans on hand in case the service, um, short circuits.
As for the rooms, they cost just $11 a night because as the hotel name suggests, they are capsule rooms. These tiny little pods are tricked out with blue mood lighting, WiFi, flat-screen, ports galore and according to this pic, the privacy to view some adult movies on your iPad.
[Photo: Pengheng Space Capsules Hotel]
DeNiro, with his other partner in Nobu Hotels, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa.
Robert De Niro must have been pretty happy about his experience working with BD Hotels on The Greenwich Hotel because he's partnering with them again to develop a new five-star boutique hotel...in Shanghai.
The hotel will be part of what is being called Project 179 a 850,000-square-foot complex on the Bund that will also feature retail space, restaurants "led by accomplished restaurateurs currently operating distinguished establishments in the United States," a performance center and multi-screen cinema. Let's hope the first screening at this new cinema is a Taxi Driver/Raging Bull double-bill.
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Not only did we ogle Rosewood London last week (hopefully just phase one in Europe for the group), we also picked up some additional news: a first few snapshots of the rooms at Rosewood Beijing (coming next year) and the exciting update that another hotel is being planned for Bangkok.
Both hotels sound like they will be rather unique; the building in Beijing “will recall a mountain profile with contrasting volumes and shapes” and Bangkok promises 650-square foot Pool Sky Villas, with large terraces and private plunge pools (!!).
Adventures in Overservice / HotelChatter Flickr Pool / Mandarin Oriental Hotels / Shanghai Hotels / → All Tags
When we checked the HotelChatter Flickr Pool this morning for some new additions, we found this snapshot of the Mandarin Oriental Pudong in Shanghai from member BenLee123, a well-traveled man with a taste for the finer hotels in life.
The hotel just opened in April and as we expected the luxury hotel looks pretty luxurious filled with lots of high-tech amenities.
BenLee123 dropped in a few more photos of the hotel and he also posted a link to his lengthy TripAdvisor review. But this paragraph stood out for us:
No request is too much trouble. Some examples: I was on medication during this trip and asked the hotel to prepare and boil some Chinese herbs which I brought along twice a day. That’s something out of the usual service request and any lesser hotel especially in China, the answer will be an immediate NO. In this case, the staff immediately agreed to prepare this for me without a second thought or the need to “consult with management”.
Xie xie indeed!
The hotel is still offering its opening offer which gives you a complimentary second night and free internet. We found rooms on the 11th of October for just $277 USD a night.
Got a cool hotel photo to share? Drop it into our HotelChatter Flickr Pool and maybe next Monday, we'll be talking about your photo instead!
MGM Resorts International is planning their second property in China, this time it's a massive resort on the Cotai Strip in Macau, China's answer to Las Vegas. Except Macau is bigger and wealthier and way more intense when it comes to gambling.
In a quarterly earnings call yesterday, Jim Murren dished on a few details for the property, which is about halfway through the excavation stage.* The property will have an atrium three times the size of the Bellagio's and it will feature its own "over the top" Mansion.
If you don't know what The Mansion is, allow us to educate you. The Mansion is a super secretive hotel within the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Most people, including those who work for MGM, have never seen it. Others don't believe it exists. However, it's real. We saw it with our own eyes last month. We even went to the bathroom there.
We've told you about some hotels that want to send you exploring their city on a free bike and now we have a property that has the need for a bit more speed. Mandarin Oriental Pudong Shanghai has bypassed the bicycle and gone straight for guided tours of the area via the futuristic Segway.
The new hotel is perfectly located on the banks of Shanghai's Huangpu River and is an ideal location to catch some great photos ops of the towers financial district or the historic Bund across the waterway. These personal transporters make seeing the vast city a whole lot easier while reducing sore feet and the need for rest breaks; although, if your 'dogs' start barking, a trip to the hotel's garden-themed spa wouldn't disappoint.
Each 30-minute tour will kick-off as the heat begins to wane at 3:30 with the last tour leaving the hotel at 6:30pm, just in time for some stunning snaps of the setting sun making the city sparkle with colored lights. If your confidence on the two-wheeler isn't as great as you'd like, don't worry because there is free practice riding lessons at the start of the day's tours, giving even the least tech-savvy riders the ability to scoot down the promenade safely.
China Hotels / Hotel News / Hotel Openings / Chinese Hotels / IHG China / IHG Hotels / Intercontinental Hotel Group / Regalia Hotels / → All Tags
Crowne Plaza may not scream luxury in the West, but IHG is hoping that Crowne Plaza in China will find a new crop of loyal, monied guests. The 520-room Crowne Plaza Resort Xishuangbanna straddles the Mekong River, surrounded by Xishuangbanna's lush forests. The hotel's overarching theme is that of a Dai palace--the Dai are one of China's 55 ethnic minority groups--and while we wouldn't say it's subtle, neither is it over-the-top...unless you count the two 1,600 sqm. Presidential Villas and the hotel's very own temple.
Most travelers come to Yunnan for its stunning nature, but given all the offerings at the hotel, we could see it being tough to leave the grounds. There are six food and beverage venues, an enormous outdoor pool and, should you find yourself down south for work, MICE spaces galore. Take advantage of the free kids' club by dropping off your offspring and heading out for an elephant trek. Rates for a superior room start at around $140 a night.
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We can hardly keep up with all the new SLS Hotels that have been announced. So far, we've got New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, Seattle and a second hotel in Miami in Brickell. And now we must add Shanghai, Beijing, Wuxi, and Kunming to the list. Oh yes, hotelier Sam Nazarian is taking his SLS brand to China.
The SLS hotels will launch in China by 2015 as part of a partnership with the Chinese company, Palace Hospitality, who have a proven track record for growing hospitality projects. Hence, the four planned hotels and not just one.
The SLS hotels in China probably won't look the same as the ones in the U.S. as they are being tailored for the Chinese market (at least from a design standpoint) but you can expect the SLS trademark combo of restaurants + nightclubs to remain. If all goes well, SLS could open in more additional Chinese markets after the initial four.
Meanwhile, in the China announcement, we noticed a bit on SLS Philadelphia which is expected to open within the next three years. Sheesh. We knew Sam Nazarian had grand plans for 2013 but we really weren't expecting all this. Now, we just need to wait for opening day. That should happen first in Las Vegas sometime next year.
We've long been suspicious of the in-room hotel safe after personally encountering safes that simply didn't work and after hearing several tales of the safe getting robbed, like this one. But if you were still trusting the hotel safe to keep your valuables protected, this story may really cause you to think again.
At the posh Peninsula Hong Kong, one of the most high-tech hotels in the world, a man wearing hotel slippers tricked the staff into thinking he was a guest, not only gaining access to a hotel room but also getting the password to the in-room safe. Here's how he did it:
"Speaking in English, he told hotel staff that he had lost his room key and demanded another one," the [South China Morning Post] cited a Hong Kong police officer as saying, adding that the man provided details of the 47-year-old male occupant including name and birthdate, without saying how he had obtained such information.
After entering the room, the man "telephoned the front desk from the room saying he had forgotten the password of the safe and asked for assistance to open it", the officer was quoted by the SCMP as saying.
The thief managed to walk away with about $4,900 in cash, a computer, a wallet and a piece of luggage. So far, no arrests have been made but we're pretty sure that couple will never, ever, ever, use the hotel safe again. Or maybe, Hong Kong just needs to beef up their hotel security. After all, a HotelChatter tipster was able to uncover where NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was hiding out, thanks to a very nice hotel operator.
Traveling with some pretty nice stuff but don't want to use the hotel safe? Read our tips after the jump!
Two of our favorite hotels in China, The Upper House in Hong Kong and The Opposite House in Beijing, are getting a sibling late next year, with parent group Swire Hotels announcing The Temple House Chengdu. Chengdu is the capital of the Sichuan province, situated pretty much in the middle of China, and one of the most important economic centers of the country.
Scheduled to open towards the end of 2014, the hotel will have 100 rooms and 42 serviced apartments, forming part of a conservation project surrounding the thousand-year-old Daci Temple in the heart of the city. The hotel itself will mix the old and the new, with the entrance in a restored Chinese courtyard building from the Qing Dynasty, and combining traditional Chengdu architectural elements.
If you ever need to track down someone in a hotel, it helps to put someone who works in a hotel on the job. When we guessed the whereabouts of the PRISM whistleblower, Edward Snowden, this morning, we threw out a couple of not-so-serious hotel guesses. But someone reading our story took it very seriously.
Our own Macau Deepthroat, as we call him, noticed the interview setting that Snowden did for the Guardian UK looked very similar to the rooms at The Mira Hong Kong in Kowloon Park. A quick Google image search confirmed this for him. Then MD went to the next level. Here's what he did:
With this bit of information I called to the hotel and claimed that I had sent a fax to Mr Snowden but it had never reached his room. The friendly operator confirmed then that Mr Edward Snowden had checked out at 12:30 pm and explained that this may have been the reason why he never received my fax message. I thanked her and ended the call.
I then called a second time to the hotel, this time I asked for the reservations department and pretended to be interested in extending Mr Edward Snowden's stay as he had to remain in Hong Kong due to unforeseen circumstances. I only provide the name and the fact that he had checked out of a Parkview Room today and a second later the reservations agent happily provides me the room number (on 10th floor) and quotes the rates for an extension of stay...
As I work in hotels, I know how to play the game and get the information one wants...
Where Snowden has gone is anyone's guess but we're sure the CIA and the NSA are on it. Meanwhile, the Mira might need to have a conversation with their "friendly" operators.