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Shangri-la eyes Melbourne as expansion drive continues

July 17, 2013 Headline News, Hotel News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Hong Kong-based Shangri-la Hotels and Resorts is expanding around the world and steadily opening hotels in top international locations.

Barbara Pang

Barbara Pang

On the Australian front, the group has Melbourne in its sights. Shangri-La already operates properties in Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns. Melbourne is seen as the next piece in the jigsaw.

“We’ve been working on Melbourne for quite some time,” confirms Shangri-la’s Senior Vice President – Sales and Marketing, Barbara Pang.

“We haven’t found anything yet, but that would be the natural direction we would go if we were to open anther hotel in Australia. I don’t have a timeline for it, but if we find the right place it could happen very quickly, because if you look at Brisbane, from the time we announced it to taking it over was less than six months.”

Pang visited Sydney last week as part of a top Shangri-la team representing the group’s properties in Tokyo, Paris, Abu Dhabi, Beijing, Vancouver and Singapore. The team visited top leisure agents in Melbourne and Sydney.

Shard of GlassWhile Shangri-la has so far taken over existing properties when opening in Australian cities, Pang said the group would not rule out building a new property.

Shangri-la opened its third property in Shanghai a couple of weeks ago, on the Puxi side of the Huangpu River. It opened in Istanbul about two months ago, where the new Shangri-la Bosphorus offers breathtaking views of the Bosphorus Strait. A new Shangri-la will open in London towards the end of this year, the group’s first in the British capital, as will the Shangri-la Doha.

China remains a fast-growing market on both the domestic and international front, Pang adds. The next properties coming up there will be in Shenyang, Lhasa in Tibet (“an interesting destination, I would think”, Pang says) and Qufu, known as the home of Confucius.

London, a key international destination for Shangri-la, promises to be a knockout. The hotel will be located in the Shard of Glass, architect Renzo Piano’s iconic, triangular, 87-storey building which has transformed the London skyline. The Shard, as it’s called, is the tallest building in Europe, as befits Europe’s biggest city.

Views from the Shard are phenomenal. The new Shangri-la will offer 360-degree London views – a different perspective on the city from every room.Shangi-la Bosphorus, Istanbul

“The London hotel is not a big one, Pang says “It’s about 200 rooms. It runs from
the 37th to the 54th floor of the building. Every room is going to have a view of London; the view depends on which direction you are facing. The hotel is going to have a Champagne bar on the 53rd floor. And the Health Club is also up there so you can run and watch the River Thames go by.”

Internet is consistently identified by travellers as one of the most crucial services that a hotel needs to offer. It should be hi-speed and free. Shangri-la excels in this sphere, providing exactly that.

Not only has the group rolled out free WiFi at its 78 hotels worldwide (including those under the Kerry Hotels and Traders Hotels brands) it even offers complimentary WiFi service in limousines. Guests can access the internet via mobile devices from the hotels’ chauffeured cars.

Shangri-la SydneyIt’s most useful in rush hour, Pang notes. “Or if you’re on holiday you can access to whatever social network you use and enjoy yourself. When I go to the hotels I make a point of trying it, because it’s still a novelty.”

Traders is Shangri-la’s four-star brand. While a Shangri-La hotel will typically boast a spacious lobby and often the most spacious hotel rooms in town, plus touches like the famous elegant chandeliers and a wide selection of restaurants, a Traders tends to be much more functional.

“Traders tends to cater for middle management people or  leisure guests who are not looking for the frills,” Pang notes.

Kerry is a young brand for Shangri-la. At present only two exist, one in Beijing and the other in Shanghai. The Kerry concept involves much function space because they handle a lot of business events. Recreational facilities are extensive – for instance the swimming pool at the Kerry in Beijing is Olympic size.

Inspired by the legendary land of harmony and longevity featured in James Hilton’s 1933 novel Lost Horizon, Shangri-la is going from strength to strength.

Written by : Peter Needham

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