3 NEW CHINESE HOTELS AND TRENDS TO WATCH IN 2018
2018 will be an exciting year for hotel-lovers. Having previously mentioned several major renovations in the works, get ready for news of three more brand-new constructions in China. Travellers planning trips to China who’re clever enough to put these riotous three on their list will also notice how they each represent significant trends that are emerging in the hotel industry.
Lifestyle hotels have been on trend for a good few years now. The essence of being a lifestyle hotel is using different spaces in hotels to curate various experiences. However, it’s time to rethink what a good hotel is truly about: what really makes us cherish a hotel-stay is comfortable hotel rooms, delicious food, special arrangements, and having concierge on hand who’re always prepared. In 2018, we’ll increasingly find hotels honouring the very basics, polishing the details that really matter when it comes to the guest experience.
One of these hotels is Bulgari Beijing. As the very first Bulgari in the Greater China area, Bulgari Beijing positions itself as a hub where travellers and local residences can enjoy an authentic experience of Italy. You might not feel that it’s stunning from the pictures, but after experiencing it in the flesh, you’ll cherish the rooms, designed by Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel, along with the well-selected furniture and amenities – even the tea cups are special editions, which are designed by ShangXia, a local luxury brand. The only in-house restaurant is curated by the three-Michelin-star chef Niko Romito, who’s famous for honouring the basics of Italian cuisine, rather than pursuing popular, but unnecessary presentations. Butlers are fully engaged at all times – you can even communicate with them via your mobile phone. Prepare to be continually surprised by their recommendations on restaurants (hotspots with low profiles, but which are highly authentic), and entertaining activities, including performances at the National Theatre and exhibitions around the city. Don’t forget to ask them for help with reservations – they’re always happy to score a good table for you and sort VIP seating arrangements.
Differing from Bulgari, MUJI finds another way to target customers: the Japanese brand, known for its minimalism and simplicity, opened its very first hotel in Shenzhen China on 18 January. The hotel has 79 rooms finished with recycled wood and MUJI-style furniture. Naoto Fukasawa also designed electric kettles and wall-mounted CD players in the hotel rooms. The whole concept is “anti-gorgeous” and “anti-cheap”.
The building doesn’t only houses a hotel – it is also host to other venues from MUJI. It is more like a MUJI theme park, including MUJI BOOKS, MUJI DINER, MUJI Store and IDEE, the high-end furniture brand from MUJI. Established in 1979, MUJI is regarded as a brand for daily-use goods. With their new venture into the hotel industry, the brand is trying to cover and define all aspects in our life – as the Art Director Kenya Hara says, working for MUJI is “like spinning circus plates”: everything’s always changing… The same can be said for working in hotels.
It took the entrepreneur Ma Dadong and Aman nearly 20 years to make it all happen. Amanyangyun is not just an unique urban resort: it’s also a platform, and its purpose is to preserve Chinese heritage. In the future, creating a unique lodging experience will probably mean creating a unique cultural vibe – and a key thing will involve inviting your guests to participate in that vibe’s creation. This is how Amanyangyun views travel experiences today.
The story started at the beginning of twenty-first century. A new reservoir that was to be built in Fuzhou in the Jiangxi province posed a threat to the existence of a historical village, which holds nearly 10,000 ancient trees and 50 homes that date back to the Ming and Qing dynasties villas in the village and trees. The owner bought all historical buildings and invited professionals to disassemble them and preserve them, while he transporting all the ancient trees to Shanghai and planting them in Shanghai’s Minhang District – which is where the Amanyangyun is located now. At the very beginning, the owner never imagined that those disassembled parcels and ancient trees could turn into a resort… That is, until 2006, when Aman heard the story and wanted to get involved. 12 years later, the 50 disassembled 50 antique houses have been meticulously renovated and made into 26 antique dwellings. Guests can choose between staying in one of their 24 Ming Courtyard Suites and one of their 13 antique villas. Kerry Hill opts for an emphasis on contemporary comforts in the Courtyard Suites; and for the villas, he added to each of them a fabulous outdoor pool. There’s only one building restored to the way it was before – now it’s a library, which will be a central hub showcasing China’s heritage of arts and culture. Meanwhile, the resort’s five restaurants and bars will offer a diverse range of Italian, Chinese and Japanese cuisine.