China: It's the country that keeps on giving to the luxury traveler; it's been a few years since China first saw the first wave of luxury hotels open, and the momentum hasn't slowed down.
"China represents extraordinary opportunities," Hervé Humler, the president and chief operations officer of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, told the New York Times in an email.
He would know. Since 2011, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company has opened luxury hotels in Hong Kong, Chengdu and Tiajin, and there's more to come.
Why China? There's something undeniably authentic about Asian hospitality, and luxury hotels know how to extend that hospitality in the most gracious way to both Westerners and Asian travelers.
From traditional tea service to turn-down services that include silk slippers and bathroom amenities from the world's leading luxury brands, luxury hotels in China are upping the standards in an effort to attract new guests.
Interestingly, however, is where in China these hotels are setting up shop. Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing have historically been the top destinations for travelers, but smaller, lower-profile cities like Chengdu and Qufu are attracting new hotel builds.
The InterContinental Hotels Group newest brand, Hualuxe, is designed specifically for the Chinese travelers and is planning to open hotels in Chengdu and other provinces in China over the next few years.
The Hualuxe brand was launched in 2012 and is the first international hotel brand specifically designed for Chinese consumers. The hotels will focus on the unique aspects of Chinese etiquette, local customs and heritage.
IHG committed to opening eight new hotels between 2014-2016 throughout China including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, and various resort cities.
The Mandarin Oriental, a signature brand in China and throughout Asia, is scheduled to open the doors of its new Shenzhen hotel in 2015. Shangri-La Hotels opened in Qufu this past August.
Why the relatively unknown destinations? Despite the fact that more American travelers are making their way to China, Asian hospitality is mainly influenced by Chinese travelers.
Once again, all eyes are on China -- get ready for another Chinese luxury hotel boom, and be prepared for many more in the coming years.This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted.
Melanie Nayer is a hotel reviewer and expert on luxury travel around the world. She has covered all aspects of hotels including corporate restructures, re-branding initiatives, historical aspects and the best of the best in luxury hotels around the world. Melanie writes a weekly exclusive column for 4Hoteliers.com