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Swire Hotels Challenges the Norm in Beijing with the "Edgy"
99 room Opposite House, Opening in Summer 2008
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BEIJING, May 19, 2008 - Celebrated avant-garde architect Kengo Kuma from Japan and edgy Shanghai-based designers Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu challenge the norm in Beijing's new luxury hotel, The Opposite House, opening in summer 2008 as the first in a series of unique hotel properties from newly formed Swire Hotels.

Brian Williams, managing director of Swire Hotels said, "We will work with world leading architects and designers in all Swire Hotels properties, and we've certainly achieved that in appointing Kengo Kuma and Neri and Hu for The Opposite House."

Kuma, who is known for some of the most innovative retail and commercial spaces in Japan, including the LVMH group headquarters and the Suntory Museum in Tokyo, sets out to create a spatial experience of light and space that completely transforms the look of the luxurious contemporary hotel from morning to night. He redefines conventional architectural boundaries to create seamless flowing spaces flooded with light.

The hotel's exterior, a striking emerald glass, is in keeping with the stunning glass exteriors of The Village at Sanlitun, Beijing's premier open-plan shopping and entertainment destination, of which The Opposite House is an integral part.

Interior colors and textures at The Opposite House are a vivid mix of the modern and the traditional. As the hotel borders both a busy nightlife neighborhood and quiet residential area, the exterior is stunning and vibrant, while the interior is soft, securing privacy and comfort. Kuma describes the overall green color scheme as the calm of an "urban forest, for which one of the most important design elements is the play of natural and artificial light."

"A small luxurious contemporary hotel is a very interesting balance of private and public. It has to offer hideaways with the comfort of home, yet at the same time create vibrancy where people flow through public spaces. To create this fine, delicate balance, we softened the demarcation of each space," he explains.

Among the hotel's many striking features, a stainless-steel-clad swimming pool is designed to dramatically reflect both natural light and exciting fiber optic lighting.

Guest rooms are open and simple with natural brushed oak floors, furniture and bathtubs, with subtle touches of Chinese décor to evoke a sense of place in Beijing.

The restaurants, meeting area, and mini club were styled by Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, partners of the award-winning, Shanghai based international design firm Neri and Hu Design Research Office (NHDRO), whose recent works include Pedder Red Flagship Store in Hong Kong and China House at The Oriental, Bangkok.
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The name, The Opposite House, is derived from a translation of a Chinese word, which historically described the building located opposite the main house in a courtyard where esteemed guests would stay. The name also reflects the hotel's southern location within the courtyard design of The Village at Sanlitun, the new retail and entertainment complex which will raise the bar for international luxury brand shopping and innovative places to eat and drink in Beijing.
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For the design, they worked closely with Shanghai-based chef entrepreneur David Laris, who developed the original restaurant and bar concepts.

"When confronted with an empty concrete shell on the basement level, our initial approach was to break the large cavernous space into five distinct yet related and interactive spaces. Different materials closely associated with the five elements [metal, wood, water, fire, and earth] were used to make them stand out from each other," they explain.

From an elevator, guests first enter "The Egg," stepping through a dark bronze threshold into pure white space. A steel floor reflecting an overhead elliptical dome gives the visitor a sense of floating. The message, as the designers explain, is "the beginning of life and an epiphany for the weary and tired. Solemn and serene, 'The Egg' provides rest for the eyes before transition into the decadent destination points."

The theme is also adopted through a secondary entrance down a concrete flight of stairs, leading to an outdoor Sunken Garden, thick with bamboo and water features, creating small gathering spaces to wait for friends, order a coffee, or dine alfresco.

This garden is adjacent to Mediterranean restaurant Sureno, which features warm woods and blue olive grove patterns. At the heart of the restaurant is the wood-fired oven, with a surrounding counter enabling patrons to watch the chefs at work.

At the neighboring Asian restaurant Bei, guests are surrounded by a forest of trees before entering a clearing and the dining room, where a large mirror allows patrons to watch chefs in action.

Designed with a sense of allure and secrecy, five white "boxes" house private dining rooms that are entered through large bronze doors and across water channels. Each room has its own character and richly appointed furniture. In the largest, water streams down the walls. The vision is "total privacy and exclusivity without compromise."

In contrast, Punk - a late night bar and mini club - is a solitary transparent box, seemingly sunken, wrapped by a rough, punched metal screen. Wooden church pew-like benches hug the walls and juxtaposed modular tables are scattered throughout. Clean, smooth concrete bar tops, angular and fluid Grcic stools and offbeat burnt Maarten Baas chandeliers create a mood of "righteousness as well as wickedness, rough and smooth, parochial and worldly, cool and warm, and ultimately luxury and punk."

"We think that the most important feature of this project is the spatial quality of the area seen as a whole, as opposed to one individual destination. The entire project is treated as a continuous amalgamation of distinct spaces together with a network of public spaces binding them all together - a city within a city," said Neri and Hu.

About Swire Hotels
Swire Hotels has been created to manage small luxury hotels in Hong Kong, Mainland China, and the United Kingdom, providing a luxury experience for travelers who seek individuality, style and personalized service.

The Opposite House in Beijing will be followed by the opening of a 117-room luxury hotel in Pacific Place, Hong Kong, in the summer of 2009 and a 100-room hotel in Taikoo Hui in Guangzhou in 2010. Swire Hotels will also manage EAST, a 343-room lifestyle business hotel to be opened at Island East, Hong Kong in 2009.

In the United Kingdom, Swire Hotels is developing a collection of luxury boutique hotels in regional English towns and cities to be launched in 2009.
 
 

Swire Properties Announces Launch of Swire Hotels

28th February 2008 - Swire Properties today announces the formation of Swire Hotels, and the launch of its first of four hotels in Greater China. Opening this summer, The Opposite House, Beijing, will be the first property to be managed by the new company.

Swire Properties has extensive experience of developing properties for world class hoteliers, both in Hong Kong and overseas. It has a 75% interest in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Miami, Florida, and in Hong Kong it has a 20% interest in each of the JW Marriott, Conrad Hong Kong and Island Shangri-la hotels at Pacific Place, and in Novotel Citygate.

"The development of Swire Hotels enables us to build on our strengths in mixed-use development, while our own quality hotel projects will add value and synergy to our investment property portfolio," said Keith Kerr, Chairman of Swire Properties.

Swire Hotels

Swire Hotels has been formed to create and manage small luxury hotels in Hong Kong, Mainland China and the United Kingdom, providing an exceptional experience for travellers who seek individuality, style and personalised service.

In Hong Kong and Mainland China, the hotels will be an integral part of Swire Properties' retail and office developments. The first of these will be The Opposite House in Beijing, whose 99 rooms will open in the summer of 2008. This will offer an exciting new dimension to The Village at Sanlitun, the Company's first retail development in Mainland China and one which is set to become Beijing's cosmopolitan centerpiece.

The Opposite House will be followed by the opening of a 117-room luxury hotel in Pacific Place, Hong Kong, in the summer of 2009 and a 100-room hotel at TaiKoo Hui in Guangzhou in 2010.

Swire Hotels also plans to manage a 343-room lifestyle business hotel called East, to be open in Island East, Hong Kong, in 2009.

In the United Kingdom, Swire Hotels is developing a collection of luxury boutique hotels to be launched in 2009. Properties have been acquired to date in Bristol, Cheltenham, Exeter and Brighton.

The Managing Director of Swire Hotels is Brian Williams, an experienced hotelier who spent 17 years with the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and, immediately prior to joining Swire Properties in January 2006, was Chief Executive of the Scotsman Hotel Group.

"This new initiative will take Swire Properties' involvement in the hotel arena to a new level," said Mr. Williams. "The hotels we are developing will appeal to a distinct group of travellers who seek out individuality and a unique luxury experience. We very much look forward to the opening of our first hotel, The Opposite House, in Beijing this summer."-

About Swire Properties

Incorporated in 1972, Swire Properties develops and manages commercial, retail and residential properties which offer exceptional and inviting environments in prime locations, with a strategy to 'hub' its investment properties at major mass transportation intersections, providing the highest level of accessibility and connectivity to its tenants and patrons. The completed portfolio in Hong Kong totals over 13 million sq ft of gross floor area, with Island East, Pacific Place and Festival Walk as its core holdings, reflecting its strength in building communities. Besides Hong Kong, the Company has a presence in China, the USA as well as the United Kingdom.

In China, Swire Properties owns a majority stake in The Village at Sanlitun, a joint venture with Gateway Capital, in Beijing, of which the first phase is scheduled for opening in summer 2008. Two other substantial Mainland projects currently in progress are TaiKoo Hui in Guangzhou and the Dazhongli project in Shanghai.

The Company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the publicly-listed Swire Pacific Limited whose businesses are grouped under five operating divisions - property, aviation, beverages, marine services and trading & industrial.
www.swireproperties.com.

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Contact:

The Opposite House
Phone: +8610 6536 0601
Building 1, No. 11 Sanlitun Road,
Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100027
P.R. China

Dennise Stires
808-949-4131
dennise@sheiladonnelly.com
 

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Also See: Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group Signs Management Contracts for Luxury Hotels to be Developed in Paris, Taipei and Guangzhou / February 2007
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