Banyan Tree Hangzhou opens on December 1 in Xixi National Wetland Park, kicking off the first phase of an integrated development that will heighten awareness of a unique ecological attraction. This is the group’s fourth resort in China since the arrival of Banyan Tree Ringha, Banyan Tree Lijiang and Banyan Tree Sanya.
The property, consisting of 72 water terraces and villas designed in the “Jiang Nan” style, leads the way for future launchings that include sister brand Angsana, as well as Sheraton Hotel, which will have a conference hall for 1,000 and a shopping mall. Together with the futuristic-looking Wetlands Museum, they make up the Westbrook project that's located 50 minutes from Xiaoshan International Airport and 15 minutes from the city centre.
Banyan Tree Hangzou exterior
One of China's most scenic destinations, Hangzhou is renowned for the West Lake that has captivated scores of travellers with its beauty, and inspired poetry and legends. In recent years, it has become an IT and pharmaceutical hub. Jack Ma, visionary founder of Alibaba.com, the business-to-business market site, is a Hangzhou native.
The Xixi region, while not as well known internationally as West Lake, still boasts a host of offerings, from teeming birdlife and reintroduced plant species (persimmon, mulberry and camphor trees) to historic structures (Xixi Family House), from temples (Autumn Snow Temple) to cultural gems (Plum Villa, Yanshui Fishing Villa) and from silk farms to the Dragonboat racing festival. (Competitions have been recorded as early as 1465.)
Banyan Tree Hangzhou's locale is in the second of Xixi Wetlands' three zones, and the least untouched by tourism. General manager Reinhold Johann told Business Traveller that the local government is firm about monitoring development in the 11.5 square-kilometre reserve, which is twice the size of West Lake. "The clever part is how we (Banyan Tree Hangzhou) have been made a part of the wetlands, with the boardwalk and water going all around the hotel."
Once all resort facilities and amenities such as the Banyan Tree Spa are completed by the opening date, Johann said they would move on to fine tuning guest activities. These include boat tours into the wetlands, using their own vessels; "destination dining" options on the various islets in the area, where sunset cocktails for groups and romantic dinners for couples could be arranged; and even exclusive meetings within the park in historic buildings.
Spring themed Water Terrace Suite
Measuring from 120sqm, each water terrace and villa in the resort has all the mod cons, including free internet. Dominating every room is a hand painted silk illustration of the four seasons executed by a local artist. Meeting planners' needs are met by a boardroom for 14 in The Study and a Ballroom divisible into two.
The chain's retail outlet, Banyan Tree Gallery, will contain in the future handicrafts that Hangzhou is known for.
For more on the resort, visit www.banyantree.com
Margie T Logarta