For the last 40 years, China has been a rising star in the global economy. But it’s not just economists who have been paying close attention to the country’s growth. It’s also meeting professionals, whose business prospects in China have skyrocketed in step with Chinese companies’ ascendance.
In fact, China’s meetings profiles has become so prominent that destination and event management company Pacific World recently named it No. 3 on its list of the top 10 most demanded destinations of 2019.
“China remains a strong player in the MICE market, with its staggering growth driving more interest from a wider swath of audiences,” Pacific World stated in a press release, citing infrastructure improvements as yet another meetings catalyst within the country. “As more and more international and regional airlines open new routes to various cities, China’s most-sought after destinations are becoming more accessible.”
Even as new Chinese destinations emerge, the country’s best-known hubs continue to dominate -- including Shanghai, China’s largest city and a financial center of both regional and global import. There, new hotels are opening at a rapid clip in order to accommodate an influx of business travelers, including meeting and incentive groups.
Illustrative of Shanghai’s hotel boom, for instance, is the brand-new Aloft Shanghai Zhangjiang Haike Hotel, which opened on April 17 and is the city’s first Aloft property, Marriott International announced last week.
Located in the Zhangjiang Hi-tech Park Pudong -- a technology park in the city's Pudong district, a short drive from the New International Expo Center and Shanghai Disney Resort -- the new hotel has 191 keyless guest rooms that guests can access using their mobile phones, a signature restaurant with three private dining rooms, a bar that doubles as a live music venue, a fitness center and nearly 10,000 square feet of meeting space, including five breakout rooms and a 5,600-square-foot pillarless ballroom.
“We’re excited to debut the Aloft Hotels brand in Shanghai, bringing the next generation of travelers to an up-and-coming tech and innovation hub in the city,” said Mike Fulkerson, vice president, brand and marketing, Asia-Pacific, Marriott International.
Four More New Hotels for Meetings in Shanghai
The Aloft Shanghai Zhangjiang Haike Hotel is only the latest in a string of high-profile hotel openings in China’s “Magic City.” Here are four other new properties that are ready to host meetings and events:
• InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland. Because it’s nothing short of wondrous, the InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland is aptly named. Opened in November 2018, the hotel is located approximately 20 miles southwest of Shanghai, where it took a decade to build. The reason it took so long: The hotel is built into the side of an abandoned quarry in the Sheshan Mountain Range. It has 18 floors, 16 of which are underground. And just in case that isn’t notable enough, the two deepest floors are underwater. Along with 336 guest rooms -- which offer views of either fish in an underwater aquarium or of purpose-built waterfalls built into the quarry walls – there’s a nightly light and water show, a green rooftop, a helicopter pad, a spa, several bars and restaurants, and nearly 10,000 square feet of meeting space.
• The Shanghai EDITION. Boutique hotelier Ian Schrager and Marriott International opened The Shanghai EDITION in fall 2018 in the historic former headquarters of the Shanghai Power Co., an art deco building that was erected in 1929 and has since been fused with a new skyscraper. The old building and the new one jointly constitute the hotel, which has 145 guest rooms; five bars and restaurants; a lounge and nightclub; a rooftop garden that includes a bar, a movie theater, several lawn terraces and a games area; a swimming pool; a gym; a spa, and nearly 3,000 square feet of meeting space.
• Bvlgari Hotel Shanghai. Opened in June 2018, Bvlgari Hotel Shanghai sits on the banks of the Suzhou River, where it occupies both a new 48-story skyscraper and the restored Chamber of Commerce Shanghai building, which was constructed in 1916. Along with 82 rooms and suites, the hotel has six restaurants and bars -- three of which are found on its sky-high rooftop -- as well as a fitness center, a spa, a Bvlgari chocolate boutique and over 7,000 square feet of meeting space, the highlight of which is the 5,400-square-foot Bvlgari Ballroom with room for groups of up to 500 people beneath its triple-height ceilings.
• Bellagio Shanghai. MGM Resorts International opened Bellagio Shanghai -- its first Bellagio property outside of the United States -- in June 2018, bringing a taste of Las Vegas to the banks of the Suzhou River. Although there’s no casino here, there’s plenty else, including 162 guest rooms and suites, an art collection comprising more than 1,000 curated pieces, four bars and restaurants, a spa, a 24-hour gym, a heated indoor swimming pool, and nearly 20,000 square feet of meeting and event space.