Sofitel Luxury Hotels announced in a recent press conference in Hong Kong that it plans to expand its presence in Asia with at least 13 new properties by 2015, after it has completed a five-year repositioning process to rebrand itself from an upper-tier brand of Accor to a luxury hotel brand in its own right (see story here).
Markland Blaiklock, senior vice president of Sofitel Asia Pacific said that as part of the repositioning the group has shifted from “agreeing to do hotels wherever the opportunity arose, to focusing on specific destinations where we really need to be.”
Ten of the new hotels to open before 2015 will be in China, adding to the 18 existing Sofitel properties in the country. Blaiklock said the group has seen a high demand in China for the type of French-inspired "art de vie" luxury that the rebranded Sofitel now offers.
Next year, the group will open a 590-room flagship hotel in the Jing’an district of Shanghai, located close to the convention centre. Michel Molliet, vice president of Sofitel Greater China, revealed that the property will feature a distinctive interior by a famous Chinese designer and “will be one of the highlights in terms of hotel openings next year."
The group will also open a second hotel in Xian, renovating the iconic People’s Hotel built in 1953 to create a 74-room boutique-style hotel. Once reserved for dignitaries, the property will reopen next year as People's Grand Hotel Xian, and will have a classic design and “high-end luxury facilities.”
Facade of the People's Hotel in Xian, which will be opened next year as People's Grand Hotel Xian
Rendering of a room in the People's Grand Hotel Xian
Alongside these two properties, next year will see the opening of a resort and spa hotel in Haitang Bay of Sanya, China's own "Hawaii" on Hainan Island. This will have 450 rooms, mostly villas, and be located right at the centre of the beach.
In 2014, five more Sofitel properties will open in second- and third-tier cities in southern China. There will be a hotel in a mixed-use complex in the centre of Haikou, Hainan's capital, together with new hotels in other emerging cities such as Guiyang, Kunming, Wuxi and Foshan. Then in 2015 the group will open hotels in Changsha (Hunan Province's capital and a growing hub for hi-tech, manufacturing, food production and service industries) and Lianyungang (a prefecture-level city in northeastern Jiangsu province).
Outside of China, Sofitel plans to open one of its trendy, design-conscious So brand hotels in the centre of Singapore next year. This is the third So hotel for the group, joining those in Bangkok (see review here) and Mauritius.
Double room at the Sofitel So Singapore
Blaiklock said that the group’s first hotel in India opened earlier this year, Sofitel Mumbai BKC (see here), has proven successful and will be the “first of many others to follow” in the country. The group plans to open a second Sofitel in Mumbai in 2015, along with a So hotel.
Lobby of the Sofitel Mumbai BKC, opened earlier this year
Sofitel aims to increase the number of hotels in its portfolio to 150 by 2015.
For more information, visit www.sofitel.com