IHG Hotels & Resorts today announced a new partnership with China Duty Free Group to develop two new luxury and lifestyle hotels in Hainan, the Regent Sanya Haitang Bay and Hotel Indigo Sanya Haitang Bay. This partnership resonates with China’s national strategy to build Hainan into an international hub for tourism and shopping, and augment its role as a free trade port. Situated close to Sanya International Duty-Free Shopping Complex, the two hotels are expected to open in 2026 and will help transform the Haitang Bay area into a world-class tourist and leisure resort by offering distinctive guest experience.
As the first international hotel company to enter the Chinese market, IHG is committed to building a business that is “in China, for China”. During its 37 years in the country, IHG has kept in step with China’s national strategies and regional policies, and in recent years has prioritised developments in the Hainan Free Trade Port. China’s 14th Five-Year Plan has laid out a blueprint to develop the Hainan province into an international hub for tourism and shopping. Specifically, it called for accelerated development of tourism and commerce, as well as the introduction of top global hotel brands, so as to bring the hotel sector in line with international standards. IHG has played an active role in contributing to this blueprint with a growing portfolio of brands and hotels in Hainan.
Since acquiring a majority stake in Regent Hotels & Resorts in 2018, IHG has treated this legendary luxury hotel brand as its crown jewel, and later made the strategic choice of opening its first new Regent property in Pudong, Shanghai. Following the deal, IHG also initiated a rebranding plan to reinvigorate Regent’s brand identity, design aesthetic, service culture, and visual image, with a view to shaping a modern hotel brand that redefines excellence. Hotel Indigo is a lifestyle hotel brand of IHG. Every property has a distinctive local personality and incorporates design elements from the local neighbourhood and attractions to deliver a fun, immersive, and interactive stay experience for guests. Amid the ongoing expansion of domestic tourism in China and growing demand for personalised experiences, this year, Hotel Indigo has accelerated its expansion in China and unveiled new properties at popular locations including Nanjing, Suzhou, Diqing, and Jiuzhaigou, serving up inspiration for guests to explore new destinations.
Designed by renowned architect Ole Scheeren, the development is conceived as a “vertical oasis” that integrates hotel buildings with commercial premises. The main building is comprised of distinctive floating boxes with rippled curtain walls, whose sweeping facade hugs the coastline. Meanwhile, the hotels’ vertical garden blends in seamlessly with the guest rooms. This vertical arrangement of boxes merges to form a window on Haitang Bay, offering guests unobstructed sea views and hanging gardens that they can explore at their leisure. Scheeren’s architectural masterpiece combines eco-friendly design features with plenty of local character to create a next-generation resort that blends harmoniously into its surroundings.
(Regent Sanya Haitang Bay and Hotel Indigo Sanya Haitang Bay designed by Ole Scheeren ©Buro-OS)
Daniel Aylmer, Managing Director, IHG Greater China said: “The Hainan Free Trade Port enjoys unique geographical advantages that make it a key platform for promoting China’s ‘dual circulation’ strategy and taking Reform and Opening Up to new heights. IHG sees bright prospects in Hainan and hopes to harness consumption trends in the region. By joining forces with a strong partner like China Duty Free Group, we hope to tap both international and domestic consumption, capitalise on regional strengths, and further grow our geographical footprint. The addition of the Regent and Hotel Indigo properties will create a more immersive stay experience for a new generation of travellers.”
Commenting on the partnership with IHG, PENG Hui, Chairman of China Tourism Group Duty Free Corporation Limited, said: “IHG is one of the world’s leading hotel companies. It has deep insights into the Chinese market, where it has consistently delivered strong growth. This will be a win-win partnership that leverages strengths from both sides, including IHG’s outstanding operating expertise and powerful system to form a complementary business ally. As an integral part of a luxury tourism and duty-free shopping complex, the two hotels promise to meet the increasing lifestyle needs of today’s guests.”
Regent Sanya Haitang Bay and Hotel Indigo Sanya Haitang Bay designed by Ole Scheeren ©Buro-OS
The new development will be situated in a prime location along the Haitang Bay coastline, and within close reach of Sanya International Duty-Free Shopping Complex. The Regent Sanya Haitang Bay will boast 317 rooms and 5 different room types, including 10 private villas, and will deliver an unparalleled stay experience from one of the world’s most legendary luxury brands. The Hotel Indigo Sanya Haitang Bay will house 175 rooms and 4 distinctive room types, and feature a unique design that exudes local character. The new development is also situated close to the InterContinental Sanya Haitang Bay Resort and will bolster IHG’s brand portfolio in the region. This will enable the Group to cater to differentiated consumer needs and deliver a more personalised travel experience.
At present, IHG has 12 hotels in operation in Hainan and 17 under development, spanning a range of distinctive brands.