That 'unique' experience [China Daily: Hong Kong Edition]
(China Daily: Hong Kong Edition Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) It is getting harder to stand out in the crowd in China, and whenWorldhotels announced it was going to launch a mega-hospitality complex by Lake Taihu, Michelle Lin took a trip to find out their strategies and selling points.
The opening of Worldhotel Grand Juna Wuxi brings the green philosophy of the group to China. As the group's environmental ambassador, this sunny five-star property with a magnificent convention and exhibition center in Taihu Lake New City is committed to being a responsible corporate citizen by actively advocating recycling, forestry preservation and wetland conservation. "Unique hotels for unique people" - with this underlying philosophy, Worldhotels has distinguished itself by maximizing the flexibility of its hotel style to give travelers an authentic and local experience.
Guests are amazed by the hotel's creative "green effort" in offering a nursery for families to grow vegetables. Bicycling is also on its green agenda as a leisure activity for those who wish to spend a breezy afternoon along the Taihu Lake. "This hotel is very close to my heart because I am myself a person who loves nature," says Roland Jegge, Worldhotels' executive vice-president for the Asia Pacific.
Located right in the heart of Taihu New City, this 370-room property sits on the shore of Shangxian River Wet-lands, just a 20-minute drive from downtown Wuxi. Its neighborhood includes the new city hall, the financial center of Wuxi New District, the Baoli Culture & Art Centre, and the Exhibition Center of Wuxi. Optimizing its strategic location next to the Wuxi Taihu International Expo Center, Worldhotel Grand Juna Wuxi aims to become the first choice of business travelers coming in.
"Our restaurants get extremely busy when there are large conferences or expos being held just next door", says Sherry Xiao, sales manager of Worldhotel Grand Juna Wuxi. The hotel boasts three restaurants and two stylish modern bars, delivering both regional delicacies from Huaiyang and Shanghai, and international cuisines. The 8,000-square-meter functional indoor space and 13,000-sq-m outdoor garden entertainment area offer an unparalleled experience catering to various needs.
Another prominent feature of this hotel is the feminine accents in every detail of the design, from the color of a cabinet in the suite to the overall style of the restaurant. Everything is carefully handpicked by the owner of the hotel.
"You can easily envision it as the house of an elegant lady," says an employee of the hotel.
Also targeting the Greater Shanghai Region, the Worldhotel Grand Dushulake Suzhou is in the city described by Marco Polo as "Heaven on Earth" and is positioned to provide guests with a completely different experience. This hotel enjoys an enviable location in the thriving commercial, residential and entertainment hub of Suzhou Industrial Park, overlooking the tranquil Dushu Lake.
Just a 15-minute drive from the historic center of Suzhou, this hotel was built with traditional Suzhou architecture as the dominant tone.
Featuring 330 spacious rooms and suites, all elegantly decorated, Worldhotel Grand Dushulake Suzhou definitely lives up to the brand's exquisite quality standards.
An independent conference center and function hall featuring two 1,000-sq-m pillarless banquet halls, one auditorium with 500 seats, plus 18 meeting rooms, VIP lounges and exhibition areas, all offer state-of-the-art banquet and meeting facilities hosting events of various scales.
"The Worldhotel brand is famous for food", says John Bertram, general manager of Worldhotel Grand Dushulake Suzhou. Bertram is a chef himself. The group's food philosophy is best described in published recipes from its chefs collected in Discover Our Kitchens - A Journey of the Senses published in January this year.
"Worldhotel branding offers one of the most flexible models in the world for luxury and upscale independent properties and hotel groups with a unique and distinctive European-style brand identity," says Jegge. "As you can see here in Worldhotels Grand Juna Wuxi, the owner of the hotel has her own great ideas and visions for the design. But this hotel needs to compete with Kempinski, Sheraton and Hyatt, so we come in and give our sales and support to help it compete with the big chains."
The Worldhotels brand may be new to China, but the brand has a considerable history. The company's business has been in China for almost 30 years by way of affiliates which do not carry the Woldhotels name, like the Grand Central Hotel Shanghai and Jianguo Hotel Beijing.
"There's no company in China which is doing what we do - that is, to give a brand to the hotels. We are in a very focused niche," says Jegge." The other companies are doing franchising and affiliation, while we are a company that not only offers a broad range of service options, including sales, marketing, training, e-commerce, distribution and technology, but also leaves enough freedom allowing the owners of the hotels to retain their own style and identity."
As the largest European-based brand for independent hotels with more than 500 hotels in 250 destinations and 65 countries worldwide, Worldhotels is now seeing itself breaking new ground in greater China with 36 hotels establishing presence in major cities.
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(China Daily 06/21/2014 page13)
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