Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has opened a five-star hotel in Qingdao, China's eastern port city in Shandong province famous for its Tsingtao beer and European-style architecture. Qingdao is one of China's five biggest ports and acts as the economic hub for Shangdong. It is an important industrial city but is also renowned for its quality seafood, clean sandy beaches and attractions such as the birthplace of Confucius in the nearby Laoshan mountains. The 502-room hotel, located 45 minutes from the airport in the newer eastern part of the city where many other other developments are under construction, is just a few minutes' walk from the municipal government building and the World Trade Centre. Qingdao Shangri-La general manager Charles Cable said the hotel would be an ideal choice for the business traveller who needed first- class facilities. 'Businessmen and tourists alike visiting Qingdao will receive a warm Shangri-La welcome supported by traditional Asian hospitality from caring people,' Mr Cable said. The hotel offers guests a coffee shop, Chinese restaurant, lobby lounge and a soon-to-be-opened Beer Pub serving traditional German food and German beer with evening entertainment. Banquet and meeting facilities include a 1,353-square-metre Grand Ballroom that can hold up to 1,700 people and 14 additional function rooms for smaller meetings and receptions. The comprehensive business centre is equipped with computers, private meeting rooms for interviews and full secretarial, translation, duplication, photocopying, word processing, fax and courier services. Rooms, which start at US$140 for single occupancy, are tastefully furnished and feature in-room safe, an IDD telephone with voice- mail facilities, central air-conditioning with individual controls and fax and personal computer points. The Horizon Club, which covers three floors, has been reserved for the convenience of the business traveller and features a mini-business centre. Business guests can enjoy such privileges as private check- in and check-out, complimentary buffet breakfast, complimentary cocktails, free use of a meeting room for up to four hours and personal assistance in arranging restaurant reservations and airline and transport arrangements. Recreation facilities at the Shangri-La include two outdoor tennis courts. A health club and an indoor swimming pool are due to be opened later this year. Qingdao has a unique flavour. A local government policy of preserving the red-roofed buildings, influenced by the German presence of 1897-1914, adds charm to the shoreline and dominates the old part of the city. According to Qingdao Tourism Administration deputy director Xiyan Ping, one of the reasons the colonial relics of Qingdao's architecture may have escaped the fate of many other Chinese cities where huge areas of old-style buildings were levelled to make way for modern developments, is that leaders such as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping visited Qingdao to enjoy the mild weather and refreshing sea breezes. Foreign investment in Qingdao last year was US$1.76 billion, an increase of 6 per cent on the previous year. Among the prominent investors in the city are Lucent Technologies China, Ciba-Geigy, Hewlett-Packard and Coca-Cola. The city's steady economic growth is supported by an improved transportation system with flights from Seoul, Osaka, Hong Kong and Macau. A special task force has been set up by the Qingdao Commission of Foreign Economic Relations and Trade to find ways of attracting more foreign investment to the area.