Sheraton Hotels & Resorts was the first international hotel chain to plant roots in China back in the mid-80s. The brand has since expanded throughout the country, but with the booming popularity of the destination for Western groups, Sheraton is ramping up its expansion plans exponentially.
“We’re covering all of the major international gateway cities,” says Hoyt Harper, global brand leader for Sheraton. “There are so many cities in China that are becoming more and more accessible to international groups, in manufacturing areas, financial areas, that hotels that may appear to be regional today will soon emerge to be international hotels of tomorrow.”
Sheraton is building both city hotels and leisure resorts with large conference spaces, creating a great opportunity for mixed meetings/incentives. This year, the new Sheraton Beijing Dongcheng Hotel opened 20 minutes from the airport, with quick access to the Olympic Village and Tiananmen Square. It’s the second Sheraton in the capital. The new Sheraton Shanghai Hongkou Hotel is the third Sheraton operating in Shanghai, with two more on the way by 2014.
“we have a stakehold in china that none of our competitors can match. that offers great pre/ post options for resort and city stays.”
On the incentive side, the fabulous donut-shaped Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort (see cover) opens in June in the Lake Tai area west of Shanghai. Starwood is opening its first Chinese ski resort in July: the 553-room dual-property Sheraton/Westin Changbaishan Resort. Located in the mountainous northeast, the complex offers 26,000 sf of meeting space. And in the super trendy Hainan beach destination south of Hong Kong, Sheraton operates three luxury resorts: Sheraton Shenzhou Peninsula Resort, Sheraton Sanya Resort and Sheraton Haikou Resort.
Meanwhile in Macau—a Chinese protectorate—the 3,900-room Sheraton Macau will be the largest Starwood hotel in the world when it opens September 15. With almost a quarter million square feet of meeting/event space, this is one of the hottest group hotel events in 2012.
“We have a stakehold in China that none of our competitors can match,” says Harper. “That offers great pre/post options for resort and city stays…. And what we consider international rates, they have yet to emerge so there’s great pricing compared to other international destinations.”