Banyan Tree resorts go urban

2 Nov 2012

In introducing the “urban resort” concept in more gateway cities around the region, Banyan Tree Hotel and Resorts is responding to a rising travel trend where work and personal time with the family being combined on the road.

“We all travel like crazy,” said Abid Butt, chief executive officer of the group. “The market is evolving. It’s not just business travel anymore. Many people need to destress after a week’s work, which is when they have their partners or families join them.

“So this fits perfectly with our hotels, which are oases in a city setting. Once you enter, you feel a calming effect."

Since the late 1990s, Banyan Tree has been promoting wellness lifestyle and holidays in resort properties around the world, led by its iconic Banyan Tree Phuket. In 1999, the group launched the Banyan Tree Bangkok with extensive spa facilities, a first during a time when attention to pampering one’s body (and consequently, one’s mind) was still not a popular activity. A decade later in 2009, a similar product, Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul (see story here), was added to the company portfolio, followed by Banyan Tree Macau a year later (see story here), and the latest Banyan Tree Shanghai on the Bund (see story here).

Banyan Tree Shanghai 

Among the resort elements characterising the new-generation metropolitan Banyan Trees are the in-room relaxation pools ("Very popular during weekends," Butt observed), special therapy rooms found in the Spa Suites, Banyan Tree host service and destination dining. 

The Banyan Tree host is an individual assigned to the guest during his or her stay and acts as a personal assistant, concierge, butler and tour guide all rolled up into one. "They'll do what you want them to do. In Bangkok, for example, they accompany guests on shopping trips, interpret and bargain for them and carry their shopping bags," Butt explained.

Banyan Tree Tianjin 

Destination dining is a unique culinary adventure the hotel plans for residents encapsulating the "sense of place" aspect, Banyan Tree wants them to experience during their stay. It could be an area in the property or a restaurant, or an offsite location, such as The Bund in the case of the Banyan Tree Shanghai.

Asked if spa hours could be made flexible like the current practice of 24-hour gyms – to accommodate late-night arrivals – Butt said they were looking at such innovations. "It's a possibility, why not?"

Banyan Tree Tianjin Lobby 

Banyan Tree's next urban location will be Tianjin, and a few years after that, Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur, with other cities around the region being considered.

For more details, visit

Margie T Logarta

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