Banyan Tree Jiuzhaigou opens in Sichuan

Lobby Lounge, Banyan Tree Jiuzhaigou

Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts has opened its newest property, some 2,500 metres above sea level in the mountains of Sichuan Province. The new 209-key Banyan Tree Jiuzhaigou is set amidst the foliage and lakes of Jiuzhaigou, an area known for its waterfalls, lakes and Tibetan culture.

The resort offers 360-degree panoramic views of the region, while activities including visits to nearby villages, fruit picking, tours of the Jiuzhaigou National Park and high-tech live action cultural performances are also available. The Fairy Pool, Zoige Grassland and nearby Jiuzhai Yunling Golf Club, which includes 18 holes across 115 acres of forest, add to the local attractions.

Meanwhile the resort itself offers a Banyan Tree Spa and a kids’ club. Rooms span a total of five different categories, ranging from 65 sqm Garden Rooms to the 130 sqm Panoramic Suite. The resort even includes a 325 sqm Presidential Suite for those looking to make the most of their stay.

Five F&B outlets are located within the hotel offering international, Cantonese, and Sichuan cuisine along with a hot pot restaurant, café and bar. A number of local restaurants located around the hotel are also available.

For corporate events, five venues including a 600-sqm ballroom are also part of the property.

As part of the opening, Banyan Tree Jiuzhaigou is providing a number of promotional offers until June 30 this year, ranging from exploration-themed stays to more intimate trips.

banyantree.com

Banyan Tree to open new China resort

Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts will open a new resort in the Sichuan region of China in Q3, 2016.

Located near Jiuzhaigou National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Banyan Tree Jiuzhaigou will sport a clean architectural design that is a modern take on classical oriental styles. Key design elements will include the use of dark wood floors and coloured embroidered carpets.

The resort will offer 209 guestrooms and suites, with sizes starting at a generous 65 sqm. There are five accommodation categories available – Garden Room, Golf-Mountain Room, Valley Room, Panoramic Suite and The Presidential Suite.

Banyan Tree Jiuzhaigou Panoramic Suite
Banyan Tree Jiuzhaigou Panoramic Suite

Dining options will include all-day dining at Ming Yue; hot pot at Gan Hai Zi; Sichuan and Cantonese cuisine at Bai Yun; fresh juice and snacks at Aqua Café; and cocktails at Qing Feng Bar.

As expected, the signature Banyan Tree Spa will be available at the resort. Featuring 12 individual rooms, the facility will offer treatments that fuse traditional Chinese herbs with natural ingredients.

Other recreational facilities include indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a gym and entertainment centre that consists of private karaoke rooms and a Kids Club.

For more information, visit banyantree.com

Clement Huang

Banyan Tree announces “Cassia”

The Banyan Tree Group has launched its third brand, Cassia, a new product positioned as “a niche sector between a hotel and apartment”.

According to Banyan Tree, the brand was created to provide investment opportunities for the growing middle class who are looking for holiday homes that are backed and supported by a hotel group. 

“The extended stay segment has been overlooked in recent years so we took the opportunity to innovate and create a hospitality product that meets the demands and needs of today’s travellers,” said Ho Kwon Ping, executive chairman, Banyan Tree Group.

Cassia Phuket

This new collection of properties has one or two-bedroom units for sale. Prices for a fully-furnished, 35sqm one-bedroom apartment start at SGD 180,000 (US$143,000). The unit size goes up to 55sqm.

Owners can choose to permanently reside in their apartments or rent them out, although this must be done through Cassia.

If renting out, the revenue generated will be split on a 60:40 basis, with Cassia taking the larger share to cover operating costs of the rental program. The 40 per cent share of the rental returns will be paid to owners on a quarterly basis.

There are two rental schemes available – investment or lifestyle. Owners who choose to participate in the investment scheme will be entitled to 30 days stay per year – outside of blackout dates to maximise rental returns.

Alternatively, those who opt for the lifestyle scheme will get up to 90 days stay per year. No blackout dates apply here as the scheme is designed to give owners a balance between rental returns and lifestyle benefits.

For apartments being rented out, Cassia will cover the utility costs out of the 60 per cent revenue share. However, for apartments being occupied by owners, the owner will handle costs. There are no management or utility fees applicable for properties that have yet to be rented out.

An example of how returns are determined is seen below:

Case Study: Cassia Phuket

Estimated Investment in Property – 5,000,000 Baht (US$154,083)

Days Available – 365

Days Sold – 255

Occupancy – 70 per cent

Average Daily Rate (varies based on property) – 3,000 Baht (US$92)

Annual Net Revenue – 765,000 Baht (US$23,574)

Revenue Share to Owner (40 per cent) – 306,000 Baht (US$9,430)

Total Yearly Rental Yield for Owner – 16.3 per cent of property investment (meaning an owner could make their initial investment back in less than seven years).

In addition, owners are afforded other benefits including becoming members of The Sanctuary Club. This allows owners to place a certain number of days from their annual entitlement into an exchange pool, which can then be used to redeem complimentary stays at different locations within the group’s network.

Owners will also enjoy discounts and privileges from The Banyan Tree Group’s resorts worldwide.    

Speaking to Business Traveller Asia-Pacific, Thomas Lam, the senior director, head of valuation and consultancy at Knight Frank said:

“This type of investment is not new in the market. Similar projects have been launched in Southeast Asia, like Phuket and Bali, since 2000, including time sharing, resort type house investments, international hotel operators, and rental return guarantees.”

He also expressed skepticism that middle-class Asians would be attracted to the offer: “I would say that such an investment amount would be a little high for Asian middle-class buyers. The potential buyers would be American or European middle-class, high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) and Asian HNWIs,” said Lam. “It would also be attractive to semi-retired or retired high-net-worth individuals because of, firstly, the time sharing-like element of one month or up to three months. Secondly, the property investment component, with potential capital and rental gain, and thirdly, the international hotel brand, which gives quality assurance.”       

Five Cassia properties are currently under development: Phuket, Thailand; Bintan, Indonesia; Beruwala, Sri Lanka; Gold Coast, Australia; and Lijiang, China.

Seven others are being planned, with the group hoping to expand its three brands to 66 hotels and resorts, 117 spas and 115 galleries – across 33 countries – by 2017.

While some properties will be located close to existing Banyan Tree/Angsana properties (eg Phuket, Bintan and Lijiang), many of the planned properties are to be developed in cities where the group does not have any presence yet.

According to a spokesperson from Banyan Tree, Cassia will “operate separately [from the other two brands], as it caters to a different market segment”. 

Each development will have a number of standard facilities, including: swimming pool, gym, activity room, bar, convenience store as well as laundry and home delivery options.   

For more information, visit banyantree.com

Clement Huang