Achievements of a Hotel’s City
Continental Hope Group President and Chinese entrepreneur who previouslyinvested in the fields of manufacturing, hotels, construction, energy, chemicalindustry, and the financial sector. Ten years ago, he began to focus on thehotel and tourism industry, and Chengdu is now home to world-class luxuryhotels. In his book, life is short but the hotel legacy is long, so he iswilling to dedicate his life to exploring its potential.
The Homeland Hotel
Located in the portal to southwest China, the Chengdu airport area, thehotel is composed of a main building and over 400 acres of gardens interspersedwith 37 villas. The five-star hotel includes meeting rooms, banquet facilities,spa villas, an outdoor swimming pool, and a mini golf course. It also housesthe Four Seasons banquet hall, whose space and sense of majesty makes itChengdu’s most popular wedding venue.
“People wholike the mountains want to conquer them because they are there. People who likehorses want to have the finest ones they see. People who like hotels will fly thousandsof miles to the other side of the world to see the best hotel.”
For Bin Chen, a hotel is not just an urban shelter, butalso a center of urban culture and character. Like many of the hotel’s guests,he has stayed at top hotels all over the world, and has created a timelesscollection of memories. Now he has opened the essence of these collections tothe public, in the “Collection Exhibition”.
Chengdu guest: Of the hotels you’ve been to recently, which had thedeepest impression on you?
Bin Chen: The Burj Al Arab seven-star Hotel in Dubai is truly fantastic!At night, the lights and multicolored fountain on top of the building areshocking and wonderful.
Chengdu guest: The Burj Al Arab Hotel is very famous! Before going, youmust have imagined the kind of feeling you’d get standing in front of theHotel, correct?
Bin Chen: On more than one occasion, I’ve heard professional managers fromdozens of international hotels say, “Burj Al Arab Hotel is one hotel I’d liketo see in person!” Now I understand the yearning of those accustomed to seeingluxurious lobbies and rooms. When I left the airport in the hotel’s Rolls Roycelimousine, heading slowly down the road in view of the sea, the sight of thehotel in from of me made me gasp in admiration! In Dubai’s barren desert, youreyes cannot see anything green, but the sailboat rising up over artificialislands reminded me of entering a tropical rainforest, with green trees andblue waters. People in Dubai like to plant the richest trees in their backyardto create a tree-lined courtyard and let others envy it, but to create islandsof trees, wow!
When I walked into the lobby, I looked around at theother people, and saw that, no matter the skin color, their facial expressionswere all the same: stunned to see the fountains and colors and visual effects.I felt as if there were strong typhoons churning inside me for the few minutesI stood there. No matter how many photos I’d seen before or after, nothing willever match the beauty of entering that sailboat.
Chengdu Guest: I have heard that there are only 202 rooms in the Burj AlArab Hotel, and they all have an annual occupancy rate of 90%. So you had toadjust your schedule in order to get a room?
Bin Chen: Yes. Forpeople in the hotel business, 90% occupancy is an incredibly figure. And theroom I reserved, was it moderately priced? At ten thousand RMB a night, theroom was larger than 300 square meters and came with two Arab housekeepers.Interestingly, there was a mahjong table in the room, and the butler explainedthat more and more Chinese guests have been visiting in recent years, so theservice is now provided. Two housekeepers brought my family and me to the room,and when we entered the second-story master bedroom, the entire wall of floorto ceiling curtains rose slowly to reveal the endless sea. It was the mostbeautiful view of the sea I have ever seen! The room has rare flowers,expensive bath products and perfumes, gold, bold colors, crystals, and mirrorseverywhere, and there is even a 24 carat gold frame for toilet paper and towelsin the bathroom. On the ceiling above the bed in the master bedroom there is ahuge gold mirror!
Chengdu Guest: While living in such an amazing hotel, did you take thetime to visit the world outside it?
Bin Chen: Yes. Because my wife was with me, we definitely went shopping(laughs). Close to the hotel is the Middle East Folk Culture Village shoppingcenter, and I actually enjoyed the visit more than my wife, because I likethose strange commodities and watching the people walking around, aspredictable as clockwork. My wife and our friends tired early and were waitingfor me in Starbucks. It was the first time that we have gone shopping togetherthat my wife was waiting for me! I finally gave into the temptation to buy aset of Arab clothing and put it on, just to see what it would feel like. Alocal boy pulled his father’s sleeve and pointed at me, laughing, because hecould see I wasn’t a local because I didn’t have a beard. But when I returnedto the Mrs. and walked over to her, she was so stunned that she didn’t reactfor a few minutes.
Chengdu Guest: What did you find most shocking about Dubai?
Bin Chen: What surprised me most isthat the world’s islands and the Burj Al Arab Hotel were the idea of MuhammadEmirates.
I discovered in Dubai that the city, in stark contrastto the luxury of the hotel, is fairly desolate, at least on the ground: nogreen, the same earth color everywhere, no luxury or refinement like in theillustrations of “Arabian Nights”. But in dramatic contrast to the desolatelands are the people of Dubai; the same ones who protested the construction ofthe Burj Al Arab Hotel are now grateful to Mohammed’s vision. Because of theBurj Al Arab Hotel, Dubai’s economy has developed, and really taken off. Becauseof the increased tourism, Dubai has become a transit point, a distributioncenter for Chinese products in the Middle East. Because of its amazingbenefits, the United Arab Emirates has found a direction and developedself-confidence. Starting in 2003, construction began on the “World Island” 4km away from the coast of Dubai in a 9 km by 7km swath of water in accordancewith the layout of 300 artificial islands in the shape of a map of the world.All of the islands are given the name of their “location”, like China,Thailand, or even Yemen.
Without oil and travel together, Dubai would benothing. For decades the total GDP growth was 230% in Dubai, but now oilrevenues account for only 6% of growth. This change started with the Burj AlArab Hotel. If they didn’t have the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai, there wouldnever have been the same level of interest in the UAE; it is precisely becauseof this hotel that the whole world knows this city and this country.
It is seductive, fascinating, and inspiring. Now I’min the second stage.
Building a hotel with a ship as the model is notunusual, and using a sailing theme to create an attractive hotel makes sense.
After coming back, I’m dreaming the same dream ofbuilding a sailboat hotel! Let the world come to know Chengdu through thishotel, and come to Chengdu in the future.