Updated, 10:50 a.m. | China is experiencing a boom in luxury hotels, and not just in major cities like Shanghai and Beijing — evidence that finer amenities and a touch of Western comfort are becoming more important to the country’s growing number of domestic tourists as well as to international visitors.
“China represents extraordinary opportunities,” Hervé Humler, the president and chief operations officer of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, said in an email. In Chengdu, where leisure travelers are drawn by the cuisine, historic tea culture and the nearby panda sanctuary, the hotel’s exterior reflects the traditional style of a Chinese courtyard home but also has modern features like jade stone spa beds, underwater sound systems in the pools and butler services.
The Ritz-Carlton isn’t the only hotelier that is focusing on China’s lower-profile cities. Hualuxe, the InterContinental Hotels Group’s newest brand, designed specifically for Chinese guests, said it would open properties across China within the next two years, including a Mediterranean-style indoor beach resort in Chengdu. And Shangri-La Hotels opened the first luxury property in the city of Qufu, in Shandong Province, in August, aiming to capitalize on the birthplace of Confucius as a popular tourist destination.