Futian, Shenzhen’s emerging Central Business District, has been the magnet for a brace of new five-star properties. Beginning with Marco Polo Shenzhen, which opened in late 2006, deluxe accommodation inventory was enhanced by the arrival of Sheraton in 2007, and soon the Futian Shangri-La in October, followed by Ritz-Carlton in November. Important buildings in this area include the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center, Shenzhen Civic Center, Shenzhen Stock Exchange, China Construction Bank and the ICC Tower. Shenzhen, a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), the result of economic liberalisation set forth by China’s reformist leader Deng Xiaoping, has come a long way in 1980, from the fishing village it used to be to one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Since inception, more than US$30 billion worth of investment in building factories and forming joint ventures has materialised. Adjacent to Hongkong and east of Shenzhen, Luohu was the first to develop into an urban hub. Progress and congestion, now towards the west, has led to other centres such as Futian, where the municipal government is located and Nanshan, which boasts a critical mass of high-tech industries and servicing the market, a couple of branded hotels, Crowne Plaza, Kempinski and in mid-2009, The Westin, adjacent to – what else, a shopping complex, the Holiday Plaza mall. The InterContinental is along Shenzhen Bay with Shekou Seaworld, one of Shenzhen’s many theme parks nearby. All these openings mean about over 1,500 deluxe rooms for business traveller to choose from, leading to an initial softening in the market, said Eggert Muus, Kempinski general manager. He added: “Then business will pick up at more people and companies move in. The local government is determined to make things dynamic.” The Ritz-Carlton Shenzhen, within walking distance of the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Centre, is part of a mixed-use project (office and high-end retail) and will feature 273 guestrooms, including nine suites with large balconies, a landscaped roof garden containing an outdoor pool and health club and spa and ballroom divisible by three. Futian Shangri-La is also near the Convention Centre and will show off trend-setting F&B concepts such as the Italian Angelini Restaurant and Bar, Fook Lam Moon and all-day dining Café Zen, styled by cult Japanese designer Super Potato.
Margie T Logarta