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Old 3rd January 2011, 04:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The boutique hotel experience in Shanghai

The boutique hotel experience in Shanghai

By Glenda Chong
Posted: 03 January 2011 1328 hrs


SHANGHAI: Shanghai's hotel industry saw a boom in 2010 thanks to the World Expo. A slew of new hotels opened in China's financial hub to cash in on the millions of tourists in the city for the mega event.


The Warehouse in Shanghai

Besides luxury brand names and chain hotels, another type of offering is becoming a trend - boutique hotels.

Zoe Wu, Director of Horwath HTL, said: "I think the next category to go into is the boutique hotel market. And I think with the consumers becoming more experienced more well travelled they are now seasoned travellers and are hoping and expecting better products."

For example, The Langham Yangtze Boutique Hotel offers guests the romance and luxury of 1930s Shanghai.

"I think the domestic market is ready for it but it's a new experience. So it needs sometime for people to try these hotels, to appreciate the concept, the heritage, the experience and then they will come back," said Henk Meyknecht, Managing Director at The Langham Yangtze Boutique Shanghai.

Another boutique hotel, the 19-room The Waterhouse fuses modernism with the city's storied past.

Loh Lik Peng, Owner of The Waterhouse, said: "If you look at our décor, we are pretty unique not just for Shanghai but pretty much anywhere else in the world. It's fairly I would say rough luxury. The whole thing is very concept driven. It's very unusual and it gives a glimpse of old Shanghai simply because the building is old enough and you can really see the layers of history."

Like everything else in China, big is beautiful. Most boutique hotels in Shanghai boast more than 100 rooms.

"In China boutique hotels tend to be larger as with anything in china, they all tend to be bigger. So the sizes tend to be below 200, 150 to 200 rooms. So with this type of scale and with the type of rate they are hoping to achieve or are expecting to achieve, I think the profit margin is quite reasonable," said Ms Wu.

Shanghai's boutique hotel scene has only been around for less than 5 years, which means there is still room for new players in this field.

"It's still a fairly nascent industry, there are not that many players. So I think you are looking at growth potential is definitely there for boutique hotels and it will be a mixture of larger players and smaller ones but I think the market is big enough to support both," said Mr Loh.

"I think in the big cities in China will definitely see a concentration of the boutique hotel plus we will see a new-development themed hotel. Hotels with specific historical theme, and heritage them, pop-culture theme, art theme, a culinary theme, but the hotels have to identify themselves with particular theme to attract certain target market," said Mr Meyknecht.

Hoteliers need not worry about filing up rooms as the just concluded World Expo drew a record 73 million people which showed just how much the Chinese population can afford to spend on entertainment and travel.

Another upcoming project is also expected to continue drawing in the crowds - the Shanghai Disneyland will opens its doors in four years.

Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stori...102429/1/.html

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