FIRST HILTON WORLDWIDE RESORT IN CHINA’S TROPICAL “HAWAII” TO OPEN 2005
ITB Berlin, 11th March 2005 - Hilton Sanya Resort & Spa, a 500-room low-rise beachfront resort is due to open later this year in what has been hailed by tourism officials as the budding “Hawaii of China”.
Located in Yalong Bay on the southernmost tip of Hainan Island and separated from the mainland by a 20 kilometre stretch of South China Sea, the luxury resort will be Hilton’s first Worldwide Resort in the People’s Republic of China and will form an important part of the steadily growing network of seven Hilton hotels in China.
“Sanya has everything the classic holidaymaker wants,” says General Manager, Mr Dirk De Cuyper. “Post card perfect views, white sand, magnificent mountain backdrops and a year-round tropical climate. The opening of an international brand name resort like Hilton is part of the master plan to help put the destination on the world traveller map.”
In 2004, 3.7 million tourists visited the island, marking a 20 percent increase over the previous year. De Cuyper’s initial strategy is to target the rising pool of affluent Chinese to fill the luxurious resort with a long term view of attracting the European traveller.
“There are a quarter of a million Chinese millionaires working in cities just a few hours flying time from Hainan and we will first look to them and others with the propensity for high-end travel to fill the resort. With time and Hilton’s international sales and marketing network, we have the potential to expand into the European market and compete against Phuket and other Asian holiday spots.
“In terms of the European traveller, Hilton Sanya will initially be a niche destination for the incentive segment or a few days beach holiday at the end of a two week cultural tour. But, with the global spotlight fixed on China in the lead up to the 2008 Olympics, we have an enormous opportunity to create an association between China and tropical beaches. Hopefully we can shift the focus from the traveller looking for an alternative destination to the mainstream tourist wanting a one-stop relaxation spot.”
When he transfers to Hilton Sanya Resort & Spa mid this year, the Belgium-born De Cuyper will take with him knowledge of the major European source markets. As opening General Manager of the 297-room Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa (three hours drive south of Bangkok), he has successfully attracted visitors from Germany, France, Benelux, UK and Scandinavia for the past four years. Hilton Hua Hin was the first Hilton Resort in Thailand and De Cuyper hopes to repeat the same success with Hilton Sanya, the first Hilton Worldwide Resort in China.
The 500 guestroom and villa Hilton Sanya Resort & Spa commands prime position on 746 metres of unspoiled beach front at the western end of Yalong Bay, a 30 minute drive from the city of Sanya and the international airport. Based around a low-rise village set in lush tropical gardens, the key feature of the resort is a meandering lagoon that runs the length of the site.
The average room size will be 55 square metres, with almost three quarters of the rooms overlooking a wide, crescent-shaped sandy beach and the South China Sea. The remainder have vistas over the surrounding National Park. Other facilities include a villa-style spa, five swimming pools, two tennis courts, Kidz Paradise, and a full recreational and leisure center. The resort also features extensive meeting and banquet facilities and a 1,500 square metre function room.
Hilton International has teamed up with one of China’s foremost developers, China Jin Mao Group Co., who are the developers behind China’s tallest building, the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai. Wimberley Allison Tong & Goo (WATG) have been appointed the architects. WATG are renowned for the stunning Conrad Bali Resort & Spa which opened in March 2004.
Hainan is served by three airports offering flights to more than 50 destinations. It is linked to the mainland by the recently opened Guangdong-Hainan railway and 13 deep-water berths for passenger and cargo transport. The island offers many activities including fishing, diving and golf.