|by Bernard Burt, April 2007
Sparked by plans for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, new hotels
and resorts in the People’s Republic of China sport spas that blend traditions
of East and West. Traditional Chinese medicine is on many spa services
menus alongside yoga and marine therapy.
Entrepreneurs like Yue-Sai Kan, states ForbesLife magazine, capitalized
on Chinese consumer demand for the good life. In a country where an estimated
one-fifth of all entrepreneurs are female, the self-made Yue-Sai Kan created
a cosmetics line for Asian women so successful it was snapped up by L’Oreal.
A former journalist, Kan says everyone in China wants the same thing: Fui
Gui – money and style.
From new Mandarin Oriental hotels in Guangzhou and Shanghai, to the
Westin in Beijing, and Shangri-La Resorts, couth is catching up with cash
in the New China.
Keeping up with demand, InterContinental Hotels Group has a training
center for therapists. Group director of spa development Greg Payne currently
oversees 14 spas in Asia/Pacific from regional headquarters in Singapore.
“We are developing and growing two brands: The Tea Tree brand will
cover both Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza properties, and the Spa InterContinental
brand will be for the leading InterContinental hotels.
Payne’s first Tea Tree spas in China met instant success, and InterContinental
will be rolling out this concept to more than 30 spas in the next 24 months.
These include the new Moon Valley Resort near Beijing, and a business hotel
in Huizhou, China.
“The Tea Tree brand is being positioned as an enabler to get more out of
your day”. This can be getting your holiday off to a “flyer” or getting
you back on your feet if you are on business
“We are working with a focused menu of 15 treatments across all of our
properties that incorporates brand and regional signatures, luxury indulgent
packages, and outcome orientated packages. The goal is to provide
great treatments in a welcoming environment at great prices”
MGM Mirage partnered with the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing
to develop non-gaming hotels and resorts. Initial plans by the joint
venture focus on luxury hotels in the People’s Republic of China. The expectation
is a distinctive brand identity, associating “MGM Grand with “Diaoyutai,”
the official State guesthouse in Beijing. Terry Lanni, Chairman and CEO
of MGM Mirage based in Las Vegas, said the association with Diaoyutai
will provide “significant opportunities to build on the strengths of our
two organizations and to expand our brand identity in rapidly growing international
markets.” (See Hotel Online special report April 3, 2007)
With the Asian Spa show and conference in Shanghai, sponsored by ISPA
June 7-9, China goes for the gold.
On a Mission
When the Guinness World Records called Mission Hills the world’s largest
golf club, we went online to get the skinny. Golfers can tee off on 10
courses, then find comfort and rejuvenation in not one, but four spas.
Opening this spring: Mission Hills’ first “destination spa.” Mission Hills
is near a national park in Dongguan province. Including herb and spice
gardens, rooftop pavilions for yoga or qi gong, the resort’s three clubhouses
offer spas appealing to families. At the new Mission Hills destination
spa - Wellsprings - elaborate bath rituals: aquatonic pools, tepidariums,
samarium, and caldarium are designed for international spagoers. Sounds
more Roman than Asian. Featured from France is China’s first thalassotherapy
by Algotherm and Beaute´ Oce´ane. Also: Traditional Chinese
medicine, Thai and Balinese massage. www.missionhillsgroup.com
Workouts by The Great Wall
Designed by 12 Asian architects, Commune by the Great Wall is Beijing’s
most creative new place to live and enjoy historic wonders. Set in a retreat-like
environment, the Commune includes a five-star hotel managed by Germany’s
Kempinski group. Gazing out at the Great Wall from the hotel’s Anantara
Spa, your inner voice may remind you of other wonders. Offering healing
massages from around the world, as well as Chinese wellness rituals, this
new entry by an Asian spa group promises a revolutionary experience. Coming
in 2008: luxury train excursions managed by Kempinski. www.kempinski.com
Experience Shanghai Marriott Style
Towering over Tomorrow Square, the JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai has China’s
first Mandara Spa. Re-creating an ancient village, cobblestone walkways
lead to your private suite. Experience Elemis skincare made in the UK,
treatments with Dr. Spiller line. Complete with salon for hair/nail care,
baths, massage, Thai stretches, indoor swimming pool, the Marriott is steps
from museums, opera, dazzling shops and restaurants on the Bund riverfront.
Join tai chi groups in the People’s Park, explore this cosmopolitan city
to see the new China.
Both the Mandara spa brand and JW Marriott franchise are controlled
by Minor International Ltd., based in Bangkok, Thailand. Contact: www.marriott.com
Tea-off at Fuchon Resort
Tea plantations surround Fuchon Resort, supply fresh leaves for spa
treatments, scenting the air. This design hot spot is a favored hideaway
for Shanghai business executives and expats. A blend of contemporary style
with traditional architecture, Fuchon Resort is featured in the new edition
of “100 Best Spas of the World” published by the Globe Pequot Press.
Enjoy spa treatments with organic products by A. W. Lake in your private
villa or lakeside pavilions. Join tai chi and yoga groups every morning,
swim, play the par-72 golf course. The resort restaurant is associated
with one of Shanghai’s top kitchens for new Chinese cuisine, Restaurant
Located near the picturesque Fuchunjiang River, the area is said to
cleanse the soul of mundane life. Newly opened, the Yoga Lounge at
Fuchun Resort features Himalayan Master Yogi Giri to guide guests in breathing,
stretches, and meditation. www.fuchunresort.com
Sojourn to the Silk Road Banyan Tree Resort
Dating to the Song Dynasty, Lijiang was a stop on the Silk Road trade
route. Set in foothills of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Lijiang’s new Banyan
Tree Resort and Spa is close to scenic Tiger Leaping Gorge and a dry sea
where you can go grass sliding. Built like a Tibetan village, 55 private
villas with red-clay roofs nestle in secluded gardens. Treatments incorporate
the five Chinese elements: earth, water, fire, wood, and gold. Contact:
Return of the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
Legendary style and service distinguish the Mandarin Oriental Hong
Kong. Inspired by feng shui design, the hotel’s makeover features a three-floor
spa with herbal steam room, Vichy shower, Kneipp water walk, Ayurveda sanctuary,
traditional Chinese medicine consultation. Indulge in ice fountain or topical
rainfall shower, vitality pool soak. Guys get urban lifestyle retreat,
barber and pedicure by legendary therapist Mr. So. Redolent of the 1930s,
this beautiful oasis on the hotel’s 24th floor overlooks Victoria Harbour.
Andrew Gibson has been appointed corporate director of spas for Mandarin
Oriental Hotel Group based in Hong Kong. Formerly with the Six Senses spa
group, Gibson brings a wealth of experience in Asia and the UK to the Mandarin
Oriental expansion plans. www.mandarinoriental/hongkong.com
Bet on Macao
The Chinese Territory of Macao may be the next Las Vegas.
American casino impresarios Sheldon Adelson and Stephen A. Wynn led
a wave of new casino hotels in the former Portugese colony. High-speed
ferries get you there in an hour from Hong Kong.
The Chinese version of Adelson’s Venetian hotel, casino, and shopping
complex, bigger than its Las Vegas namesake, opens this fall with gondolas
plying indoor canals of a miniature Venice. The 32-floor hotel will have
3,000 suites, spa featuring an international treatment menu, 500,000 square
feet of gambling space with 6,000 slot machines. www.venetianmacao.com
The Wynn Macao rates raves: high-tech guest rooms are equipped with
deep-soaking tub, tropical spa has garden swimming pool.
Looking remarkably similar to the Vegas tower, but smaller, Wynn Macau
spa features marble baths, salon, and Cybex fitness center. www.wynnmacao.com
Government estimates show Macao outpacing Vegas in gambling revenue.
Chinese high rollers contributed to amazing growth. Last year, 22 million
tourists visited Macao, up from about 7 million in 1999. Just opened by
Hong Kong billionaire Stanley Ho, the Grand Lisboa casino attracted huge
crowds over the Chinese New Year holiday, an estimated 500,000 visitors
in 10 days. Ho’s latest project is a joint venture with MGM Mirage, due
to open at the end of this year, featuring a 600-room hotel and casino.
Ho’s other projects include a six-star Park Hyatt hotel, and an entertainment
When the Sands casino opened here in 2004, people broke doorways as
they stampeded to enter, according to reports in the International Herald
With the Venetian aiming to take further advantage of that demand, Sands
founder Adelson says “This is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Next for Sands: Singapore’s Integrated Resort/Casino/Spa on Sentosa Island.
About the Author: Bernard Burt’s Spa Sleuth column is a regular feature
of Healing Lifestyles & Spas magazine. Co-author of “100 Best Spas
of the World” (2006), Burt is a member of the Advisory Board for SpaAsia
magazine. He recently visited Asia, and participated in a seminar sponsored
by the Asia Spa Institute in Singapore.