Unstoppable China

Hyatt, Starwood, and Marriott increase presence in booming China

By: Skye Mayring

As the number of inbound travelers to China hit a high of 131.87 million last year and as the country readies itself for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, the international hotel industry is investing heavily in properties to keep up with the demand for rooms.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, for instance, plans to double its hotel presence in China by developing its brands like Westin, Sheraton and W Hotels in Beijing, Guangzhou and Changshu.

In Beijing, Marriott is scheduled to have 10 hotels in operation, in order to accommodate the influx of guests expected to attend the Olympic Games this summer. (Some two million visitors are expected to travel to China at that time.)

In the next four years, Marriott intends to open 140 hotels, primarily in China, but also extending to India, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.

Also in Beijing, Hyatt will open the Park Hyatt Beijing in July of this year (the company already owns another property in the host city for the Olympics, Grand Hyatt Beijing).

In Shanghai, Hyatt on the Bund and Grand Hyatt Shanghai will be joined by a sister property, Grand Hyatt Shanghai. When the new property opens in July, it will be the tallest hotel in the world.

The 631-room Hyatt on the Bund will be located in the historic Puxi District, west of the Huang Pu River, and will feature a full service spa. Grand Hyatt Shanghai, on the other hand, will be located in the financial and business district, in close proximity to Wen Temple and the Shanghai Museum on People’s Square.

By 2010, Hyatt will have added nine properties in China.

With the immense number of new developments in the works and a great deal of Olympic buzz, it’s clear that China’s hotel industry will be working hard to accommodate a growing number first-time tourists this summer and beyond.