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Chengdu’s popularity sparks an increase in new hotel openings, including many by top brands

Chengdu has 8,000 hotels to cater to the huge number of business travellers, leisure travellers and families visiting this increasingly popular part of China each year

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 September, 2017, 2:01pm
UPDATED : Monday, 18 September, 2017, 2:01pm

As a fast-growing western city with a host of major businesses and cultural attractions, it’s no surprise that Chengdu greets an estimated 100 million tourists each year. These staggering numbers explain why the city has almost 8,000 hotels, including many of the top international brands, according to Fredrik Genberg, general manager of the Waldorf Astoria Chengdu.

For travellers, the great news is that the city’s unending parade of new hotel openings means that “average daily rates will drop because we have more competitors”, according to Kevin Xu, director of sales and marketing for the Grand Hyatt Chengdu.

Chengdu’s growing popularity comes in part because “the city has a nice reputation as a great place to be, thanks to its culture, food and relaxed way of life”, notes Genberg. The city is also a key part of China’s auto industry and is “one of the most important economic and communication centres of west China”, Xu says. Ford, Intel, GM and Toyota all have major presences, and Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post, for services. Indeed, the city draws all kinds of guests, including “business travellers, leisure travellers and families”, says Adriano Vences, general manager of Niccolo Chengdu, who “share a lot in common, including a taste for fashion and style, a quest for a high-quality life and the pursuit of discovery”.

These high expectations mean that upscale hoteliers are working harder than ever to distinguish themselves.

At the Grand Hyatt Chengdu, Xu says it’s the details that impress guests, whether it’s a panda toy for children the first time they visit or tailor-made Chengdu gifts such as the city’s signature spicy-and-sweet candy. Business facilities include 1,600 square metres of function space. The hotel is the only one in the city centre to boast more than 1,000 square metres of outdoor terrace in the form of the French Garden, an ideal venue for events such as wedding ceremonies, Xu says.

Average daily rates will drop because we have more competitors
Kevin Xu, director of sales and marketing, Grand Hyatt Chengdu

Located at Chengdu’s celebrated International Finance Square in the Chunxi Road business district, the Niccolo Chengdu offers 230 rooms and suites of up to 200 square metres in size. Guestrooms are graced with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide copious natural daylight and uninterrupted views. While the Niccolo Ballroom is the centrepiece for meetings, facilities also include the Conservatory, an oval glass venue surrounded by the hotel’s Sculpture Garden which provides dramatic backdrops for events and celebrations.

Joshua Chan, general manager of the Tianfu Square Serviced Suites by Lanson Place, says that his team “always puts people at the centre and finds ways to create the fondest experiences and memories” for residents. Rooms range from one- to three-bedroom suites with separate living rooms and kitchens. Facilities include a gym, indoor swimming pool and a Sky Garden for quiet moments of contemplation.

The Waldorf Astoria is “focused on luxury, supplying and performing services that guests may not even know they wanted,” Genberg says. On check-in, guests are assigned a butler for the duration of their stay. Located in the financial centre’s tallest building, facilities include six restaurants and bars, a spa and fitness centre with private treatment suites, and personal concierge services to arrange guided tours of the city.

All the area’s hotels are continuing to adapt to evolutions in guest expectations, habits and tastes. Because “China has a very high growth rate of well-off people and [guests] are looking for more experiences, they’re not just first-time travellers”, Genberg notes. Chan echoes the sentiment, adding that guests who have lived or travelled abroad have higher expectations and “want to conduct business faster and more efficiently”.

These demands mean that hoteliers work hard to create “personalised hotel stay experiences that attract the young generation” and that satisfy guests of any age.

It’s not only expectations that are growing, so too is the city itself. “Right now the city is developing the Tianfu New Area, a new central business district, and another five economic zones are developing in Chengdu,” Xu says.