Coronavirus travel bans, quarantines and evacuations: What you need to know

February 16, 2020

by John Larson

Diamond Princess cruise ship (Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises)

The coronavirus that medical officials say originated in Wuhan, China (in Hubei Province), is still a threat to thousands of people, as of this writing. As the death toll and infections continue to increase, here are some things people need to know about the coronavirus (also known also known as COVID-19) before traveling.

Travel Bans

As of this writing, most countries have banned or severely limited travel to and from China. Check with official travel agencies to find out what the restrictions are for your country.

March 14, 2020 UPDATE: Following the U.S. ban of flights from Europe to the United States, several airlines have been cancelling or reducing flights to and from Europe and the United States. Some airlines have also been decreasing the number of flights to and from the U.S. and South America. Check with individual airlines to find out what their latest policies are.

Quarantines

Since the corona virus outbreak, people have been quarantined if they have traveled from China or areas where there have been a number of infected people. In the United States, people returning from high-risk areas are expected to undergo quarantines for about 14 days after their arrival back in the U.S.

Cruise ships traveling to and from Asia have experienced quarantines, and most have cancelled future trips to and from Asia until further notice. Cruise companies are also cancelling trips to and from other continents. People who have travel plans on a cruise ship need to check directly with the ship’s parent company for the latest updates.

On February 16 2020, about 400 American passengers on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan were expected to disembark and travel back to the United States, according to NBC News. The U.S. Department of State released a statement saying that there were 428 U.S. citizens on the ship.

NBC reported that as of February 14, 2020, of the 771 passengers and crew that have been tested, 218 have tested are positive for the virus, and at least 32 of them are Americans. The infected Americans will be further quarantined at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, according to the report. They will be kept away from the quarantined Americans who were evacuated from Wuhan, China, in the second week of February 2020.

March 8, 2020 UPDATE: There have been more Princess Cruise ships that have been quarantined, including the Grand Princess, which carried 3,500 people and was docked in Oakland, California. The U.S. State Department has now advised against travel on cruise ships. Seniors and people with underlying health issues are especially at risk. In addition, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a statement saying that there is “increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment.”

Evacuations

Here are the countries that have done official evacuations for their citizens who were in or near Wuhan, China, during the coronvirus outbreak:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Malaysia
  • Mongolia
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • New Zealand
  • The Philippines
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Sri Lanka
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Vietnam

This article will be updated with any important breaking news.

2019 Tribeca Film Festival movie review: ‘Our Time Machine’

April 29, 2019

by Carla Hay

Maleonn in “Our Time Machine”

“Our Time Machine”

Directed by Yang Sun and S. Leo Chiang

Chinese with subtitles

World premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 28, 2019.

“Our Time Machine” is a documentary that is the epitome of “hurry up and wait.” Chinese artist Maleonn has decided to collaborate with his father, Ma Ke, on a life-sized, elaborate puppet stage production called “Papa’s Time Machine,” based on the memories that father and son have about their lives. It’s a race against time because Ma Ke is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and his losing his memory. But mounting a stage production like this can also move at a slow pace, since it’s not exactly the type of commercial production that can easily find investors.

Maleonn, who was single and in his early 40s when filming of this documentary began, is very close to his parents, who have been married for more than 50 years. Maleonn also has an older sister named Ma Duo. Both of their parents come from artistic backgrounds. His mother was an actress, who says she got pregnant to get out of hard labor. His father used to be the artistic director of the Shanghai Chinese Opera Theater and the director of the Peking Opera Theater.

Ma Ke’s career was negatively affected when he banned from working for 10 years during China’s Cultural Revolution, which ended when Maleonn was 5 years old. The reason for the ban isn’t made very clear in the documentary, which suggests that the family might still ashamed about this part of their history. When Ma Ke was allowed to work in theater again, he spent so much time working that it took away from his family life at home. Maleonn is still coming to grips with past resentment over his father’s absence, and he hopes that “Papa’s Time Machine” will help bring them closer together.

The documentary, which is slower-paced than what most Americans are used to seeing in films, shows the painstaking process of bringing the production to the stage. Maleonn’s home studio becomes populated with the elaborate metal puppets that he has created for the show. He also has to find the right puppeteers and write the show’s dialogue. One of the people on the team is the show’s co-director Tiyani, a patient and pretty collaborator who eventually becomes romantically involved with longtime bachelor Maleonn.

Making the puppets is fairly easy compared to finding investors to help bring the production to a theater stage. In between rehearsals, Maelonn travels to various places in search of investors, including New York City for the Pitch New Works program at the International Society of Performing Arts. Maleonn gets rejection after rejection, but still persists because he has always dreamed of collaborating with his father.

It might be too much of a spoiler to reveal if Maleonn’s dream comes true, but to give you an idea how much time passes in the documentary, Maleonn and Tiyani get married and have a daughter together, and Ma Ke turns 100 years old. At a family party to celebrate Ma Ke’s 100th birthday, his memory has deteriorated even further, because he constantly has to be reminded that the child he sees with Maleonn is Maleonn’s daughter. Maleonn tries to mask his heartbreak over his father’s failing health by saying that having to repeatedly introduce his daughter to his father has a bright side, because it’s worth seeing his father’s happy reaction over and over again.

As for the “Papa’s Time Machine” stage production, the puppets are truly a work of art, but based on what the documentary shows, the stage production’s storyline seems a little thin and perhaps a little too personal to appeal to a broad audience. The movie doesn’t have any big, suspenseful moments, which might disappoint people who are expecting more dramatic tension. Even though “Our Time Machine” is about a big, ambitious stage production with some visually stunning puppets, the documentary’s smaller, quieter moments with Maleonn and his family are where the movie is at its best.

2019 Tribeca Film Festival movie review: ‘Two/One’

April 28, 2019

by Carla Hay

Two/One
Boyd Holbrook in “Two/One”

“Two/One”

Directed by Juan Cabral

World premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 28, 2019.

Two strangers share an unknown connection until they have a chance meeting that reveals how they are linked. It’s not a new concept for a movie, but the drama “Two/One” attempts to bring a unique twist to the concept: Someone’s life is another person’s dream. Unfortunately, this first feature film from writer/director Juan Cabral has a premise that is so deeply flawed that it goes beyond a logical suspension of belief that you sometimes have to have for a fictional story.

The first three-quarters of the movie alternate between two men who don’t know each other: Kaden (played by Boyd Holbrook) is a professional ski jumper who lives in Canada. Khai (played by Song Yang) is a business executive who lives in China. Both men are so consumed by their work that their loves lives have taken a back seat to their careers. Kaden’s family has also become fractured, as his adulterous father Alfred (played by Beau Bridges) has announced that he’s left his longtime wife, Kaden’s mother Olina (played by Marilyn Norry), because he’s become tired of the marriage. Even though Kaden’s father is selfish and insensitive, Kaden still seeks his father’s approval, which is an issue that Khai has with his own father.

Both Khai and Kaden are emotionally closed off, but love unexpectedly enters their lives. With Kaden, he has a chance encounter with a long-lost love named Martha (played by Dominique McElligott), who is now married and has a child with another man. Khai’s love interest is Jia (played by Zhu Zhu), a young woman he first saw in nude videos posted on the Internet, and she unexpectedly becomes his co-worker at the office. Khai and Jia have a whirlwind romance, and not long after they begin dating, she moves into his apartment. But their relationship hits a major speed bump when Khai finds out that Jia is a victim of revenge porn, and he has difficulty coping with it. It’s easy to see that Khai and Kaden have control issues when it comes to their romantic partners, whom they view somewhat as damsels in distress who need rescuing.

People watching this film who don’t know that it’s supposed to reveal the connection between Kaden and Khai will be left wondering during most of the movie, “Where exactly is this going?” When the big reveal happens, people in the movie have suffered serious injuries because of the connection that Kaden and Khai have. “Two/One” is so ambitious in its concept that it overlooks the major plot holes that ensue when the two characters finally meet. If the idea had been written more skillfully, then the issue of narcolepsy and other sleep disorders would have had more of a wide-reaching effect on the characters in the movie. Because “Two/One” takes such a slow-paced, long-winded approach to get to the big reveal, it wouldn’t be surprising if some people watching this movie will fall asleep out of sheer boredom.

UPDATE: Gravitas Ventures will release “2/1” (previously spelled “Two/One”) in select U.S. cinemas and on VOD on February 7, 2020.

2019 Tribeca Film Festival movie review: ‘Leftover Women’

April 27, 2019

by Carla Hay

"Leftover Women"
Qui Hua Mei in “Leftover Women” (Photo courtesy of Medalia Productions)

“Leftover Women”

Directed by Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia

Mandarin with subtitles

World premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 27, 2019.

If you know any single women who complain about not being able to find a life partner, or if you know people who think ABC’s reality TV franchise “The Bachelor” is exploitative and sexist toward women, then they should watch the documentary “Leftover Women,” which is a scathing look at the indignities and scorn that single women over a certain age have to endure in China. The movie takes its title from the Chinese phrase “sheng nu,” which translates into “leftover women”—the unflattering term that Chinese people use to describe unmarried, childless women who are near or over the age of 30.

The documentary focuses on three of these women, all of whom have successful careers: Qui Hua Mei, a 34-year-old attorney; Xu Min, a 28-year-old radio employee; and Gai Qui, a 36-year-old assistant professor at Normal University in Beijing. They’re not the type of women to sit around and feel sorry for themselves because they’re single, even when so many people around them try to shame them for not finding a husband yet. (This is a heterosexual-only film, as LGBTQ people are not mentioned in this documentary.)

Hua Mei is the heart and soul of the film. She is easily the most compelling and empathetic person to watch in the movie, whose opening scene is of her in a meeting with a middle-aged female dating coach/matchmaker. The matchmaker, who is smug and cruelly judgmental, proceeds to demean Hua Mei by telling her that she’s too old and not pretty enough to be considered a realistic candidate for marriage. Even though Hua Mei is neither old nor unattractive—and she’s certainly more attractive than the mean-spirited matchmaker who’s written her off as a lost cause—Chinese culture dictates that Hua Mei respect her elders, so she just sits there, nods, and takes the insults as if she deserves to be degraded. It’s excruciating and infuriating watch.

Still, Hua Mei makes an effort to find “the one,” and we see her looking for love in nightclubs, going on awkward dates, and participating in government-sanctioned social events for marriage-minded singles. The documentary also shows that Hua Mei isn’t some sad-sack, desperate spinster: She’s a caring individual who has an emotionally fulfilling life with her friends and career, but it’s impossible for her to escape from the overwhelming disapproval that she gets from Chinese society over her marital status.

The matchmaker isn’t the only person to treat the accomplished and intelligent Hua Mei as a pathetic loser just because she isn’t married. The movie shows that Hua Mei’s own family members, who still live in the rural area where she was raised, are constantly pressuring her to find a husband. It’s clear that Hua Mei has an independent streak and won’t settle for any suitor who comes along. She’s also the most educated person in her family, but her parents think of her as “less accomplished” than her married siblings simply because she isn’t married yet. They also remind Hua Mei that even though they love her, they think she’s an embarrassing burden on her family because she’s not married. And they say this, even though she’s an attorney who’s helped out her family financially because she has the income to do it.

It’s no wonder that Hua Mei is afraid to reveal to the people closest to her that she doesn’t really want to have children. Based on the way her family reacts when she tells them, you’d think that she had just confessed to a horrible crime. When Hua Mei breaks down in tears at her family’s unrelenting criticism, it’s one of the most emotionally difficult moments to watch in the movie. But it also foreshadows a decision that she makes at the end of the film.

Min comes from a well-to-do family who has somewhat spoiled her with material possessions, and she’s somewhat whiny about still being single, but she has other issues that come out during the course of the movie. From a therapy session shown in the film, she reveals that her mother emotionally abused her as a child, by pretending to abandon her as a way of punishment. Min still has not healed from those emotional wounds, and when she has an inevitable argument with her parents about still being unmarried, their response shows that they think they are good parents because they provided her with material comforts all of her life. In another argument, this time when Min is alone with her mother, she confronts her mother about the past abuse, and her mother abruptly ends the conversation and calls Min “ungrateful.”

Qui’s story is the most incongruous, because early on in the movie, she’s shown getting married. The quick courtship that she had with her younger husband is not in the film, but it’s revealed that there’s somewhat of a stigma in their relationship because she makes more money than he does. Of the three women whose stories are told in the movie, Qui is shown the least, so there’s no real sense of her personality, and she doesn’t go through the same struggles as the other two women do in the movie.

It’s no surprise that a patriarchal, sexist culture would place more shame on women than men for being unmarried by a certain age. The older the woman, the more “undesirable” she becomes to society, which is a prejudice that is embedded even in the most “progressive” countries. It goes back to the issue of women, not men, having a biological clock when it comes to conceiving children. Men face their own issues when it comes to how they’re judged as potential spouses. In most societies, a man’s marriage desirability is primarily defined by his wealth/income, followed closely by his physical appearance. In that respect, the United States and other Western countries aren’t much different from China.

These kinds of superficial biases are repeatedly shown in “Leftover Women,” such as a scene with women selecting potential husbands on a dating website and discussing the standards they have for any man they might marry. Several men are automatically rejected based on their looks, height, income or because they live in a rural area. (It’s assumed in Chinese society that people from rural areas are less educated and have less money than those from more urban areas.) Even if it looks like women have more control when they go online to choose whom to date, the documentary shows that when women in China are in serious romantic relationships, they’re expected to let the men be the dominant partners in the relationships. China isn’t the only country in the world to have a society with this mentality, but “Leftover Women” shows that the humiliation and pressure that unmarried women in China have to go through to find a husband make “The Bachelor” look like a feminist paradise.

UPDATE: PBS will premiere “Leftover Women” as part of the “Independent Lens” series on February 10, 2020.

Fairfield by Marriott Nanning Nanhu Park opens for business

July 11, 2017

Fairfield by Marriott Nanning Nanhu Park
Fairfield by Marriott Nanning Nanhu Park lobby (Rendering courtesy of Marriott International, Inc.)

The following is a press release from Marriott International:

Marriott International Inc.  announced the debut of the Fairfield by Marriott brand in Greater China with the opening of Fairfield by Marriott Nanning Nanhu Park.

Marriott International and Dossen International Group signed an exclusive development agreement to bring the Fairfield by Marriott brand to mainland China in September 2016. The partnership targets aggressive growth in different cities across China in the next five years. The introduction of the Fairfield brand is a significant milestone in Marriott International’s expansion in the Select Serve hotel segment in China, and is part of the company’s strategic plan to expand rapidly across a broad spectrum of price tiers and destinations across the country.

“We are extremely excited about the launch of the Fairfield by Marriott brand in China because it gives travelers even more choice when traveling throughout China,” said Mike Fulkerson, Vice President, Brand & Marketing, Asia Pacific. “This partnership gives us the ability to extend into the fast growing second- and third-tier cities throughout China, further building Marriott International’s portfolio in China.”

Fairfield is a global leader in the Select Serve hotel segment with nearly 850 hotels in the United States, Canada, Mexico and India in its rapidly growing portfolio. Fairfield by Marriott has achieved rapid brand expansion as well as market penetration through its trusted business model by franchising to reliable business partners globally, and particularly in China through its partnership with Dossen International Group.

“We are excited about our partnership with Marriott International. It’s a tremendous milestone, and with our wealth of connections and hotel expertise, we aim to introduce this trusted brand to Chinese travelers,” said Robinhood Qi, CEO Guangzhou Man Tung Hotel Management Co., Ltd.

Marriott Nanning Nanhu Park
Fairfield by Marriott Nanning Nanhu Park king guest room (Rendering courtesy of Marriott International, Inc.)

Fairfield offers value-minded travelers who seek a seamless stress-free stay, allowing them to maintain balance in their routine and stay productive while on the road, all with the quality and consistency and service experience of an international brand. Fairfield’s Chinese name (wàn fēng) was inspired by the brand’s spirit of simplicity, dependability and comfort.

Fairfield by Marriott Nanning Nanhu Park features open spaces that are flexible for work and entertainment such as seamlessly designed lobby. Relaxation and simplicity were fundamental to the design of the hotel’s 209 guestrooms – each fitted with modern décor set in a palette of neutral hues and accented with natural wooden furnishings.

Guests wake up to complimentary breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant with its abundant selection of healthy Western and Chinese specialties, and can purchase snacks and refreshments from a 24/7 market conveniently found in the lobby for easy meals on-the-go. What’s more, they don’t need to miss a beat of their workout routine with a 24/7 Fitness Centre onsite.

Located at Binhu Road in the beautiful new Qingxiu District of Nanning City, the hotel is a short 10-minute walk from Wanda business district and Xianbin Lake park. It’s also within convenient access to the Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Center by public transportation, as well as an easy car ride to Nanning East Railway Station and 45 minutes by car to Nanning Wuwei International Airport. Its central business location will make it ideal for guests traveling for business or for pleasure.

Royal Caribbean International reveals roster of 2018-19 China, Singapore and Australia itineraries; first Quantum Ultra-class ship to be based in the Asia-Pacific region to set sail in 2019

April 26, 2017

Royal Caribbean

The following is a press release from Royal Caribbean International:

Royal Caribbean International has unveiled future plans for the first Quantum Ultra-class ship to be based in the Asia-Pacific region. Set to be launched in spring 2019, the yet-to-be-named ship will be the next evolution of the groundbreaking Quantum class and will join her sister ships, Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas. The announcement was made as Royal Caribbean unveiled its full roster of 2018-19 China, Singapore and Australia itineraries.

With nearly a decade since Royal Caribbean’s first cruise in China, the cruise line further bolsters its commitment to the market by dedicating a lineup of its most technologically advanced ships to the rapidly growing market. The new ship will specifically be designed for guests in the region, featuring even more cutting-edge and unprecedented experiences and amenities.

As part of the deployment plans for 2018-19, Mariner of the Seas will reposition to a new home in Miami, Florida embarking on a “Global Odyssey” from Asia that features three long sailings from Singapore to Dubai; Dubai to Barcelona; and Barcelona to Miami. The “Global Odyssey” opens for sale on May 2, 2017.  Voyager of the Seas will have her first full season in Singapore in 2018-19, offering 3- to 7-night adventures throughout Southeast Asia with stops that include ports in Thailand and Malaysia.

The new 2018-19 deployment season presents additional highlights, including an expanded offering of open-jaw itineraries for adventure-seekers traveling down under with new 10-night open-jaw itineraries between Auckland, New Zealand and Melbourne or Sydney, Australia on Radiance of the Seas. During the winter, Ovation of the Seas will reposition to Sydney for her longest season in Australia, reclaiming the title as the largest ship based in the region.

Royal Caribbean’s China 2018-19 itineraries for Quantum and Voyager will be available to book beginning April 26, 2017, followed by Ovation on April 27. Australia and Singapore sailings will be open as of May 16, 2017.
2018-19 China, Singapore, Australia Deployment Highlights

Adventures from China and Singapore

Available to book April 26 and April 27, 2017

  • Quantum of the Seas will continue to sail from Shanghai for the fourth consecutive season, offering 78 sailings to and from Japan, beginning January 2018. Highlights include:
    • 6-night Japan itinerary: Visiting the historic city of Nagasaki and overnighting in Okinawa, Japan, guests can dive into  the unique culture of the nation’s southernmost prefecture
    • 8-night Ultimate Japan itinerary: Showcasing the best of the nation with stops in Kobe, Tokyo and Nagasaki, Japan
  • Ovation of the Seas will return to Tianjin, China for its second season, offering a rich lineup to explore the best of Japan, including two new ports for the ship: Sasaebo and Shimonoseki. The season begins April 2018. Highlights include:
    • 5-night Japan itinerary: Sailing to Sasaebo and Shimonoseki, Japan, travelers will venture to what many know as “The Gateway to Japan.”
    • 7-night Ultimate Japan itinerary: Guest uncover far-flung locales in Japan, including the scenic ports of Sakaiminato, Maizuru and Nagasaki, Japan
  • Voyager of the Seas will offer a combined total of 77 sailings from Singapore, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China, offering countless adventures across Southeast Asia, beginning April 30, 2018. Itinerary highlights include:
    • 4-night Malaysia itinerary: Sailing from Singapore and visiting Penang and Phuket, Malaysia, a hub of vibrant neighborhoods and heritage architecture
    • 5-night Vietnam itinerary: From Hong Kong to far-flung destinations, including Chan May and Nha Trang, Vietnam, guests will discover a country of breathtaking beauty and a storied past 

Journeys in Australia and South Pacific

Available to book May 16, 2017

  • Ovation of the Seasthe largest and most technologically advanced ship to sail in Australian waters – will sail from Sydney, Australia for its third and longest season in the country, offering 13 sailings beginning November 2018. Highlights include:
    • 10-night New Zealand itinerary: Departing Sydney, featuring the country’s endemic wildlife and Maori heritage with stops in Milford Sound, Napier and Picton, New Zealand
    • 14-night Singapore to Sydney, open-jaw itinerary: Setting sail this Fall to ports of call including Adelaide and Hobart, Tasmania
  • Radiance of the Seas will have an expanded open-jaw program with three new itineraries venturing out into Australia in 2019. Highlights include:
    • New – 10-night, open-jaw itinerary: Departing from Auckland, New Zealand to Melbourne, Australia, travelers will visit various captivating destinations throughout the Tasman Sea.
  • Explorer of the Seas will join Ovation of the Seas for her fourth season based in Sydney with 23 sailings exploring the island destinations of the South Pacific and Fiji. The ship’s cruises range from 3- to 14-night itineraries, and will begin in October 2018. Highlights include:

12-night South Pacific and Fiji itinerary: Visiting a lineup of exotic destinations, including Noumea, Caledonia; Port Vila, Vanuatu; Lautoka and Suva, Fiji.

St. Regis Changsha opens in China

March 16, 2017

The St. Regis Changsha
The St. Regis Changsha (Photo courtesy of St. Regis Hotels & Resorts)

The St. Regis Changsha has opened in China. It is St. Regis Hotels & Resorts’ eighth hotel in Greater China. According to a St. Regis press release, the brand also expects to debut The St. Regis Shanghai Jing’an before the end of 2017, as well as four additional hotels in Greater China’s gateway cities and leisure destinations over the next five years.

The following is an excerpt from a St. Regis press release:

The St. Regis Changsha is ideally situated in the capital city of the Hunan province in South Central China, nestled at the lower reaches of the Xiang River. Changsha enjoys a storied past, serving as one of the most important cities in China since the Qin Dynasty. An ideal destination for both business and leisure travel, Changsha has become a thriving commercial and manufacturing trade center, renowned for its striking landscapes and flourishing dining and entertainment scene. The St. Regis Changsha serves as the ideal departure point for travelers looking to be immersed in the city’s historic local traditions. Guests can admire the city’s historic craftsmanship of bronzeware, pottery, porcelain and calligraphy, as well as marvel at the panoramic views of the beautiful landscapes from the top of the nearby Yuelu Mountain.

Owned by the Yunda Group, The St. Regis Changsha is housed in the heart of Yunda Central Plaza, on the 48th to 63rf floors in one of the city’s tallest skyscrapers. The St. Regis Changsha also enjoys its own helipad on the 63rd floor, providing an exceptional way to arrive or depart to and from the hotel.

Luxury Accommodations & Unrivaled Service

The St. Regis Changsha offers 188 exquisitely styled guest rooms and suites, boasting sweeping views of the city, forming a luxurious respite from the frenetic pace of urban life. The rooms are beautifully designed and decorated with subtle Chinese touches. Guests of The St. Regis Changsha enjoy the famed hallmark of the St. Regis brand – signature St. Regis Butler Service – which offers unparalleled, around-the-clock service by customizing each guest’s stay according to their tastes and preferences. Trained in the English tradition, the St. Regis butler offers a range of services including unpacking and packing, beverage service, garment pressing and booking excursions and reservations. The St. Regis Changsha also offers guests the opportunity to relax at The St. Regis Athletic Club, located on the 63rd floor, which features an indoor swimming pool with a beautiful panoramic view and a 24-hour fitness center.

Impeccable Culinary Experiences

The St. Regis Changsha offers six distinct culinary venues, where guests can dine and lounge while taking in the stunning views of the city below. At Social, guests enjoy the traditional St. Regis brunch as well as an extensive buffet and live cooking stations that truly bring the kitchen to life, while Yan Ting, a refined specialty Chinese restaurant, offers a mix of authentic Cantonese and Hunan cuisine.

Guests can also choose to savor fine Japanese dishes at Un, before enjoying premium Chinese tea at the Tea Lounge. Gourmet coffees and vintage champagnes await at The Drawing Room, while the signature St. Regis Bar is an elegant space to indulge in premium wines, rare spirits and handcrafted cocktails such as the St. Regis brand’s famous Bloody Mary or the hotel’s signature Baijiu Mary featuring signature Hunan spices and local baijiu.

Events Beyond Expectation

The St. Regis Changsha’s thoughtfully designed event and meeting spaces can accommodate any occasion from exquisite weddings to intimate business gatherings.  The hotel’s elegant main ballroom, which spans 1,888 square meters, accommodates up to 1,700 guests.  The hotel also features a spacious 660-square-meter foyer and eight distinct function rooms equipped with the latest technology.

The St. Regis Changsha is offering special grand opening packages starting from CNY1,680 net per room per night with breakfast for one guest, valid until June 29, 2017.

Ritz-Carlton opens its first golf resort in China

January 17, 2017

Ritz-Carlton
(Photo courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton)

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company has opened its first golf resort in China at the Ritz-Carlton, Haikou. The golf resort, situated at Mission Hills on Hainan Island, boasts 10 18-hole championship courses.

According to a Ritz-Carlton press release, the 175-room, 16-suite hotel has a 350-acre Blackstone Course that weaves its way around the Mission Hills Golf Club. Built on top of a bedrock of ancient lava from extinct volcanos, the dramatic landscape features rocky outcrops with striking variations of jungle vegetation, expansive lakes and wetlands which can be viewed from every room.

The Ritz-Carlton, Haikou pays homage to the heritage of golf throughout. The architects AECOM, with interior designers HBA Los Angeles, have playfully created a design reminiscent of an elegant golf clubhouse. Guestrooms feature fabrics and patterns inspired by vintage golf elements, ensuring no two spaces are alike. Wall panels and light fixtures incorporate stitching that evokes handmade golf shoes, while antique leathers make references to a vintage golf bag. Tartan flooring remind guests of Scotland, the birthplace of golf.

Stories of holes won or lost can be enjoyed at sunset on the private patio of the hotel’s rooftop Flair Bar which overlooks the golf course. Cocktails feature local fruits, including lychees from the ancient trees that dot the grounds of Mission Hills. A Scottish bagpiper’s lament signals the end the day, or if you prefer, salutes the triumphs of the day, before dinner in Flair’s private dining room which offers a selection of single-malt whiskies and cigars.

Fine dining takes on new meaning in Haikou with the introduction of the elegant Tin Lung Heen Cantonese restaurant which features classic Chinese décor combined with contemporary textures of wood and stone. Diners can enjoy the best of the highly-revered Cantonese cuisine as well as regional delicacies while listening to a master recite classic T’ang Dynasty poetry. The modern rusticity of Terra provides a warm backdrop to an international world-class line-up of chefs preparing authentic dishes from Tuscany to China.

After the hard-fought battles on the fairway, The Ritz-Carlton Spa, with its seven treatment rooms offers a signature Golfer’s Retreat treatment, to sooth away the skirmishes of the day, amongst other rejuvenating and relaxing treatments. The Spa also has a steam room, cool mist showers and indoor vitality pools with jets, as well as a fitness center and swimming pool. Golfers can prepare for the day with Golfer’s Yoga on the lawn.

The luxury golf resort features 11,483 square feet of banquet facilities for conferences and celebrations. Spaces include a 4,429-square-foot Grand Ballroom, two Junior Ballrooms (902 square feet each), seven meeting rooms and one boardroom. With a manicured Fairway Lawn and vast expanses of greenery, the Ritz-Carlton, Haikou wedding specialists can create a memorabe experience to perfection.

The younger guests of the Ritz-Carlton can enjoy their own adventures with the immersive Ritz Kids program designed to build upon their imaginations. A variety of features include the Kids Club, an outdoor playground, a Kids swimming pool, bicycle rental and a Kids Golf Putting Area for golfers-to-be.

Within close proximity to the hotel, Mission Hills Centreville is a premier entertainment and nightlife hub. The design of the Town Center is influenced by design themes from all over the world, boasting an indoor and outdoor commercial shopping complex complete with ponds, bridges, islands and a plaza designed for festival activities.

Sheraton Grand Hangzhou Binjiang Hotel launches in China

December 16, 2016

Sheraton Huangdao Hotel
(Photo courtesy of Sheraton Huangdao Hotel)

Sheraton Grand Hangzhou Binjiang Hotel has opened at 1769 Jiang Hong Road, Binjiang District in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China.  The hotel has 350 guest rooms and suites, each with 43-inch LCD televisions and high-speed internet access.  The hotel has a Sheraton® Fitness center, a heated indoor swimming pool and spa. Club Room guests have access to the Sheraton Club Lounge, which offers complimentary breakfast and happy hour drinks with canapés.

Other dining options at the hotel include:

  • The Lobby Lounge, which has an ocean theme and Paired,  the Sheraton brand’s reinvigorated food and beverage program of matching small plates, premium wines and craft beers .
  • Feast, the signature all-day dining restaurant with international buffets
  • Yue, a Chinese restaurant serving both traditional and contemporary cuisines.

The hotel has 8,202 square feet of meeting and event space, including 3,937-square-foot, pillar-less Grand Ballroom, which can also be divided into three separate function rooms, complemented by a 1,936-square-foot pre-function area.

Hilton Sanqingshan Resort launches in Shangrao, China

December 15, 2016

Hilton Sanqingshan Resort
(Photo courtesy of Hilton Sanqingshan Resort)

Hilton Sanqingshan Resort has opened at Mount Sanqing National Park in Shangrao, China. Hilton Sanqingshan Resort is the first internationally branded resort in Shangrao and Hilton’s debut in Jiangxi Province. Owned by Sanqingshan Travel Group and managed by Hilton, the resort has 372 guest rooms, each with 42- to 55-inch LCD televisions and free Wi-Fi. There are an indoor heated pool, a 24-hour fitness center, as well as designated rooms for table tennis, snooker and chess, a Kid’s corner, karaoke. The resort also has a 5D cinema, as well as a full-service spa with nine treatment rooms, a foot massage center, and seven VIP massage rooms.  There  is meeting and event space totaling 5,249 square feet, including a 2,461-square-foot ballroom without pillars;  seven multi-function rooms; and the Sky Terrace, which can accommodate up to 120 people for receptions.

In addition to 24-hour room service, the resort has four dining areas:

  • All Seasons, an all-day dining restaurant that serves Western and Asian a la carte favorites.
  • Sanqing Pavilion, a traditional Chinese restaurant with seven private dining rooms.
  • Rill House, which offers Asian and local flavor dishes, with views of the river, and classic Ming and Qing-style decor.
  • The Lobby Lounge, a place to get drinks.

To celebrate the hotel’s opening, Hilton HHonors members will earn 1,000 Bonus Points per night on the best available rate through stays completed between December 15, 2016, and June 14, 2017, along with instant benefits, when they book directly through preferred Hilton channels.