Shangri-La expands mainland China interests By Jorge Sidron / February 20, 2001 Share 1 -- HONG KONG -- The self-described "largest luxury hotel group" in Asia is about to get bigger and more luxurious. Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts signed three management agreements for hotels in mainland China, where it already flies its flag on 15 hotels with 7,000 rooms.Two hotels -- one in Nanjing and the other in Zhongshan -- are scheduled to open later this year, while the third is set to open in Zhengzhou in early 2002.Shangri-La said the three hotels are part of its plans to double the number of properties it operates in China to 74 by 2005, mainly by opening hotels in secondary cities. The company opened its first hotel in China in 1983."These new hotels reinforce Shangri-La's dominant position as the luxury hotel group in China," said Giovanni Angelini, chief executive officer."We see huge potential in China, which is benefiting from the major growth in domestic travel and the increase in business and leisure travelers visiting the mainland," Angelini said.Scheduled to open by early summer is the 460-room Shangri-La Dingshan in Nanjing. The hotel will be situated 40 minutes by car from Nanjing Airport and within walking distance of the city's business and cultural districts.Nanjing, the former capital of China for five dynasties (including the Ming dynasty), is the capital of Jiangsu province and has a population of more than 5 million people.The hotel will be situated in a garden setting with views of Nanjing and the Yangtze River.Many of the rooms, which will range from 430 to 646 square feet, will have balconies.The hotel will feature a number of Chinese and international restaurants, meetings rooms and a 13,000-square-foot ballroom that can be broken down into three sections.Recreation facilities will include a fitness center, a swimming pool and two tennis courts.The Shangri-La Dingshan will be part of a larger, mixed-use complex that will include a separate 100-room, four-star hotel that Shangri-La is planning to manage under its Traders Hotels banner, as well as 120 separate extended-stay apartments that Shangri-La also will manage."Shangri-La will be responsible for all the major areas of the complex," said Symon Bridle, group director of project development for Shangri-La."The branding of the four-star hotel has not yet been finalized, but it is likely we will market this under our Traders banner, allowing us to get maximum penetration into the market," Bridle said.The 264-room Shangri-La Hotel Zhongshan in southern China is scheduled to open by the end of the year.The hotel will be located one hour by car from Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Zhuhai airports, and 90 minutes by ferry from Hong Kong.Located in the heart of the Pearl River Delta, Zhongshan is the birthplace of Sun Yat Sen, the founder of modern China.The hotel's recreation facilities will include squash and badminton courts, a 16-lane bowling alley, an outdoor swimming pool, eight tennis courts and a fitness center.The 280-room Shangri-La Hotel Zhengzhou, situated in the heart of the capital of the Henan province in the center of China, is scheduled to open in early 2002.The property will be located in the city's commercial district, about 40 minutes by car from Zhengzhou Airport.Hotel facilities will include a ballroom, meetings and breakout rooms, a fitness center and recreational facilities.Shangri-La said that although Asia will be the focal point for its expansion, it will seek a presence in U.S. and European cities that are popular with its Asian clientele, including London, Paris, Berlin, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.In the Asia-Pacific market, Shangri-La said it is eyeing Tokyo; Seoul, South Korea, and Sydney, Australia, for expansion.For information or reservations, call (800) 942-5050 or visit the company's Web site at www.shangri-la.com.