There are two sides to the argument in choosing a hotel: those opting for chain hotels take comfort in that there are no unpleasant surprises, and they know what to expect in terms of the level of service, room standards and the amenities offered; but those who favour independent hotels argue that in conformity with the cookie cutter, chain hotels are devoid of character and any wow factors that appeal to the more discerning traveller.
Founded by hoteliers dedicated to the art of hospitality, the WorldHotels Collection has come up with a solution to this dilemma by offering 300 of the finest independent hotels and resorts in 250 destinations around the globe.
“Each of the hotels in our collection is reflective of the locale, and geared to both business and leisure travellers,” says Roland Jegge, President, APAC of WorldHotels. “Our proprietary ‘Start With Why’ philosophy helps each hotel identify its unique set of assets that elevate its guest experience.”
The focus is on the Greater Bay Area
In recent years, one of the most significant economic projects in China is the designation of the Guangdong-Hongkong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA) as a key strategic move in the national development plan. As a constituent member of this initiative, Hong Kong must develop a better understanding of the area in order to capitalize on the tremendous opportunities that lie ahead.
Whether it is for conferences, seminars, team building exercises or incentive travels, corporate activity organizers are seizing the opportunity to look north so that their key staff members can gain first-hand experience on what is happening in other key cities of the Greater Bay Area.
With the opening of the High-speed rail link from West Kowloon and the Hongkong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, travel arrangements cannot be easier. “We have a number of Luxury and Elite hotels in Guangzhou, the provincial capital, that fit the bill perfectly for Hongkongers,” says Jegge.
Iconic hotels in Guangzhou
l White Swan Hotel
Just an hour’s ride away by the High-speed Rail is the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou which has reopened afresh after a 3-year complete renovation. Boasting 520 luxurious rooms and suites and over 2,500 sq. m. of well-appointed meeting and conference space, this landmark property provides a choice between uninterrupted views of the Pearl River, or nostalgic views of the historical precinct of Shamian.
Business aside, guests can make full use of its comprehensive amenities, including fitness center, heated outdoor pool, and a spa sanctuary. There is even a private yacht for guests to take a scenic river cruise which is best done by night to take in the shimmering lights of this vibrant city.
Gourmands, meanwhile, will revel in its many restaurants, bars and lounges, including the Michelin-starred Jade River Cantonese Restaurant, and the River Café which serves a sumptuous international buffet breakfast that sets you up for the rest of the day.
l LN Garden Hotel Guangzhou
Another iconic WorldHotel property in Guangzhou is LN Garden Hotel designed by I. M. Pei. Located at Huan Shi Dong, the city’s commercial, shopping and entertainment hub, this 5-star hotel has a stunning lobby that features a gold-foil marble mural based on the theme of the Chinese classic ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’, plus two waterfalls in the 21,000 sq. m. of garden area.
With 828 rooms, including 300 suites, 9 function rooms and a grand ballroom that can accommodate 80 banquet tables, the hotel has the unmatched capacity and expertise to host world class events, like the recent Fortune Global Forum. They can even lay on a memorable imperial banquet for you in a pavilion over the lake in the back garden.
Its restaurants range from a revolving restaurant on the 30th floor serving an international buffet to Lai Wan Market that specializes in casual, authentic Cantonese fare. There is also nightly live entertainment at the Lobby Lounge.
l LN Garden Hotel Nansha
Its sister hotel, the LN Garden Hotel Nansha, is only a 75-minute jetfoil journey away from Kowloon, and prides itself on delivering a natural ecological lifestyle for guests looking for a relaxing getaway.
The curvaceous layout of the resort hotel resembles a luxury cruise ship that captures the surrounding natural elements of mountain, sea, lake and garden. The atrium makes the most use of space and natural light, and extends vertically and horizontally to the 600-sq.m banquet hall, conference center, central restaurant and recreational center.
The heated indoor swimming pool leads outdoors where a second huge infinity pool appears to merge with the adjacent lake. The extensive outdoor garden and lawn is a popular choice for wedding ceremonies.
Guests can also take in some of the local highlights like the nearby Mazu temple with it imposing statute of Tin Hau, the Nansha Wetland Park, or the fish & fruit market where the local mango is a delectable treat.