The Astor Hotel Tianjin, a new member of Starwood Hotels’ Luxury Collection, has reduced its original number of rooms from 230 to 153 in the ongoing conversion to get it ready for a May opening.
The heritage hotel, adjacent to the Tianjin Municipal Government Building, dates back to 1863 when British Methodist missionary John Innocent completed work on a handsome one-storey structure in what was then the British Concession. This would be the prime venue for important gatherings in town. A port city, Tianjin grew in prominence in the early 19th century, attracting large numbers of traders, merchants, diplomats and fortune hunters, all of whom needed a place to get a good meal and exchange information.
In 1925, a second wing was added to meet growing demand.
The Astor Hotel will continue to uphold its reputation as the place to meet as well as provide elegant and comfortable accommodation, says general manager Martin Verpoorten. Rooms will measure from 40sqm and larger with most enjoying views of the He Hai River. The nearby pier, which is owned by the hotel, will be used as a jump off point for future river cruises.
Capitalising on the hotel’s richly storied past, designer Champalimaud and Associates – their restoration projects also include The Dorchester and The Carlyle – have maintained the British theme, not only in guestrooms but also in public areas. The original wooden staircase in the lobby takes pride of place and is a definite eye catcher when entering. The Atrium is where high tea is planned, and there will even be a British-style pub.
The ballroom, although small, will boast a domed ceiling similar to that found in Buckingham Palace, said Verpoorten. But at the same time, the technology aspect, so vital in today’s business environment, will be present including Wi-Fi throughout the building.
Starwood’s Luxury Collection consists of properties that are indigenous to a city or locale or are modern classics. Following the debut of Astor Tianjin will be the new built Malus Sanya due to open in 2012.
For more details, visit www.luxury collection.com
Margie T Logarta