Despite the overall economic gloom, the management of Four Seasons Hotel is banking on the Shanghai's reputation as Asia's economic hub as it opens its door for business.
The Canada-based chain's first hotel on the Chinese mainland is scheduled for soft opening on Monday.
The 37-story luxurious hotel is located at the central downtown conjunct of Weihai Road and Shimenyi Road.
Four Seasons executives claim that its proximity to Nanjing Road and People's Square make it ideal for business travelers as well as tourists.
The hotel has 364 guest rooms and 79 suites, making it the chain's largest complex in the world. On average each floor has between 12 to 16 rooms to ensure guests enjoy a minimum area of 39 square meters, the executives said.
Four Seasons' advent is just one of the few new luxurious hotels in Shanghai, including the Marriott near People's Square and the additional complex of Pudong Shangri-la. Some industry insiders anticipate that the five-star hotel room reserve will grow by 50 percent this year. Currently, there are 15 five-star hotels in the city.
Jean-Pierre Dosse, general manager of the Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai, is confident the Four Seasons will prosper.
"We know the world's economy is down, but this is also the time when people look for new adventures and places for investment," he said.
In addition Dosse expects the average occupancy rate to reach 60 percent this year. About 60 percent of its clients are expected to come from Asia. Mainland travelers and guests from Japan will account for 20 percent each, while people from Hong Kong, Taiwan Province and Singapore will make up another 20 percent.
About 18 percent of its guests will come from the United States and 13 percent from Europe, said Dosse, noting that Four Seasons hotels have a very strong reservation system and a enjoy a high loyalty ratio among its customers.
The Shanghai venture is Four Seasons' first on the Chinese mainland. The hotel management group now has 55 hotels in 25 countries and regions. It will open a new four-tower hotel in Hong Kong by 2004 and another one for Beijing is in the pipeline.
( eastday.com January 26, 2002)