China Travel Guide
Right after Shanghai (now 2016, but previously 2015) and before Dubai (2018), Bulgari Beijing is slated for early 2017, next to the Liangma river in the Embassy District. Its 120 rooms will, apparently, be some of the largest in the Chinese capital. There will also be an Italian restaurant, bar, spa and – wait for it – a private park.
The hotel will be designed by Bulgari’s regular team from Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners, and the look will be “contemporary Italian”, though there are no renderings yet. But know that Bulgari has high hopes – according to the website, “It is conceived as a link between the discerning traveler in search of nature and art, and the sophisticated elite of Beijing.” Backhanded compliment or clumsy wording? We can’t decide. Either way, let's hope it's not Vulgari.
Kempinski Hotels are now accepting reservations for their largest and their most striking hotel to date in China.
The Sunrise Kempinski Hotel, Beijing is located about an hour’s drive from Beijing’s city center and shares the site of a larger complex of Kempinski managed hotels overlooking the picturesque Yanqi Lake.
The design of the hotel—and this escaped even our eagle eyes—draws inspiration from the rising sun and other symbolism in Chinese culture. The architect, Shanghai Huado Architect Design Company, led a 60-day pow-wow with 60 designers from around the world, seeking a worldly perspective to come up with this unusual design, pictured above.
The 60 designers concluded that the hotel should resemble a scallop (anyone see a snail?) which is a symbol of good fortune in Chinese culture. The large bull’s eye in the center of the hotel’s outside wall represents—we are told—the rising sun, which in turn reflects the rising Chinese economy.
The view from a room at The Upper House
One of Hong Kong's most luxurious hotels, The Upper House, was forced to cancel its Anniversary Party, which was scheduled for Wednesday, October 1, due to the pro-democracy demonstrations in the city's Admiralty and Central districts.
The demonstrations began over the weekend and have carried on today, forcing the city to cancel its fireworks show in honor of National China Day. A central issue for the protestors are the 2017 elections for the city's chief executives. Hong Kong, formerly a British colony, was promised full "universal suffrage" but then China said only candidates fully-vetted by a Beijing-friendly committee could participate. A police crackdown on Sunday involved the use of tear gas, pepper spray and batons but only resulted in having the opposite effect as people, outrage by the use of force, joined the protests .
As the demonstrations continue, more and more of Hong Kong's hotels are being affected. Here's a snapshot taken about an hour ago of the Mandarin Oriental Landmark Hotel:
Hong Kong's top Mandarin hotel is barricaded by protesters. Road access is blocked pic.twitter.com/Bt5NS08atg— Richard Frost (@frostyhk) September 29, 2014
Indeed the hotel has even pulled down steel gates over its entrance:
Not your usual Mandarin Hotel welcome in Hong Kong pic.twitter.com/jVjymRq8MB— Richard Frost (@frostyhk) September 29, 2014
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This: The Castle Dalian, one of the latest additions to Starwood’s Luxury Collection (or at least that’s how we like to imagine the creative process went). Especially in CGI rendering, it has a more than a touch of Dreamworks to it, but it’s very real, and has hotel rooms inside that you can book. Check out the understated minimalism (not) you will find inside below.
Beijing is adding a few more big names to its roster of hotels this fall: the W should arrive after some major delays in by the end of the month and Rosewood Hotels is set to open its first Chinese hotel in October.
What slightly confuses us is that on the weekend we were able to make reservations from October 20, but right now the availability calendar is blocked out well into 2015. We’ll just assume that’s a temporary glitch and not an indication of the opening date being at risk.
When it does open, Rosewood Beijing will have 283 rooms opposite the twisting CCTV Tower by Rem Koolhaas. Above an impression of what you’ll find inside, which we saw – and liked – for the first time a year ago: clean lines, dark woods, whites, and a bit of burnt orange (cognac?) in the swivel chair. There is of course a variety of rooms and suites, including a number of Spa Suites that have in-room treatment areas.
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Starwood Hotels & Resorts has done exactly what they said they would do in their expansion into China and the Asia Pacific. There are, and have been for quite some time, more hotels in the works than we can keep up with. Almost all Starwood brands have or will soon have an address in China, including Element Hotels, which is opening next year.
We've tried to list all that we know of that's happening with Starwood in China on our Master Openings List, but as seasoned readers of the list know, things change quite a bit and most hotels, get pushed onto the next year.
However, Starwood has three important openings in China in September, with properties that are very big on design and luxury. Here they are:
Are you a thrill-seeker, but only in a conservative way? Like heights, but wouldn’t jump off them? Enjoy getting to know a new culture, but only in familiar surroundings?
If so, we have your 2018 vacations sorted. You’re going to China! Specifically, to Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province in Central China.
It’s in Wuhan that the tallest twin towers in the world are currently under construction, and the Telegraph reports that they will house hotels, among other things. Exactly where they will sit in the 3280ft towers is unclear, but let’s hope they’re nice and high.
Pop Quiz! How many different kinds of seating can you find in the label-defying lounge of the new J Plus Hotel by Y00?
A face lift at age 10? Only in hotel years, where hitting the “refresh” button on design is a pre-requisite for any savvy hotelier who wants to keep the in-crowd coming back for more. In the case of yoo Hotels, founded by John Hitchcox and Renaissance man Philippe Starck, their truly undefinable style just keeps getting better and better and, yes, we want to come back for more.
Celebrating 10 years and $10,000,000 on cosmetic upgrades to J Plus in Causeway Bay, the "first boutique hotel in Asia," the new J Plus Hotel by YOO unveils next month as a new brand for the next decade.
And no, we're not asking that question because the room rate was so outrageous at $8,400 a night and because taxpayers might be footing the bill. instead, we're asking that because you can be sure that if we have nearly ten grand to spend on a hotel room in Beijing, it's not going to be at the Westin Chaoyang. That's for sure.
We'd rather spend our money at the Opposite House in Sanlitun or try out one of the suites at the just-opened Waldorf Astoria. Wait, what are we thinking? Clearly, we're going to lay our head down on the pillows at the Peninsula Hotel. See, there are plenty of other better choices than a Westin if you've got $10,000 to spend.
We seriously thought Missoni Hotels would be a contender for the "fashion-branded" hotel opening at the Lisboa Palace, a hotel casino complex coming to Macau. But then Carslon Rezidor Hotel Group announced that Missoni Hotels would be closing down as of this June.
We thought Armani Hotels might also be a contender, especially since it could somewhat complement the Palazzo Versace from Donatella Versace that's also to open in the Lisboa Palace. But it turns out, our last suggestion was very right.
Also, Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel has been dabbling in the hotel design arts as of late. Perhaps the Cotai Strip could be his very first Karl Lagerfeld-branded Hotel. But remember, NO SWEATPANTS ALLOWED.
That's right, Karl Lagerfeld is designing his very own hotel in Macau. Here's what he had to say about it.
"An entire hotel designed by me. It's the first time for me! I think the idea is great!"
Of course you would.
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Just like hotels stacking a few different brands into urban skyscrapers,, multiple hotels combined into one massive resort seem to be a "thing" these days. We've seen it happening down in the Bahamas with Baha Mar hotel wonderland which will include Rosewood, Mondrian, Grand Hyatt and Melia hotels, along with the Baha Mar Resort and Casino. And now we will see it in Macau at Cotai with the Lisboa Palace which just recently broke ground. (It's opening next to Steve Wynn's new Wynn Palace.)
The destination, designed by firm WATG, will include the five-star Lisboa Palace with over 1,450 rooms, the Palazzo Versace Macau with up to 270 rooms and a "fashion-branded hotel", also with 270 rooms.
But what fashion brand could this be? Actually, the Palazzo Versace is from Donatella Versace and it will be a spin-off of her Gold Coast hotel. So the question really is--what other fashion-branded hotel could co-exist with Versace?
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The upcoming Waldorf Astoria Beijing actually wasn't on our radar when we released our Master List of Hotel Openings last month (mea culpa!) But with its March 1 opening just a few weeks away, we're honing in on what is expected to be the brand's most contemporary and art-conscious hotel to date.
Located in downtown Beijing, across from the Peninsula Hotel and within walking distance to the Forbidden City, the Waldorf Astoria is a brand-new building with an unusual bronze exterior, giving it a crazy cool effect. And according to general manager, Marlene Poynder, the bronze will cause the exterior's color to change over time. Even cooler.
Poynder also filled us in on some of the amenities expected inside the 176-room hotel such as AppleTV hookups (not available for sale in China), Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries and Samsung tablets that controls nearly everything inside the room.
The hotel's interiors were done by design firm Yabu Pushelberg but they still incorporate elements of Chinese design such as traditional dressers, intricate rugs and silk-paneled walls. The hotel is also filled with contemporary Chinese art including the Waldorf Astoria Clock (found in each Waldorf Astoria hotel) which "appears weightless while resting in its glass cabinet, creating the illusion that it is floating, or of 'time being suspended.'"