In face of competition imposed by newly-opened five star hotels, time-honored five-star hotels in Guangzhou have each begun to spend large sums on transformation and renovation.
China Hotel will spend 530 million yuan on a comprehensive renovation program, remaining in operation while the construction is underway. International Hotel Guangdong closed some of its rooms and restaurants from the start of 2009 as part of its renovation. And the White Swan Hotel will also commence a refurbishment costing with several hundred million yuan.
International Hotel Guangdong, which was once known as the tallest hotel building in China, has posted a notice saying that it was stopping business from December 29, 2008. It is reported that the hotel is spending several hundred million yuan for a large-scale redecoration. A representative from the hotel stated that they would focus on transforming the 63-floor podium building and will change it into a unique shopping center.
A representative from White Swan Hotel said that their renovation planning is underway, and unlike the other old five-star hotels, they would change their hotel into something like Xintiandi Shanghai — but better. The person said that they would change Shamian South Street on which the hotel lies into the most luxurious pedestrian street in Guangzhou and bring top international brands such as Louis Vuitton to the street. In addition, they will set up a unique conference center and featured restaurants. The work is expected to commence in the middle of 2009 and be completed in 2010.
However, these time-honored hotels are said to be facing a shortage of funds during the ongoing financial crisis. Huang Yingcong, general manager of the White Swan Hotel, said that they would consider attracting some strategic investors, which might be private enterprises or foreign-funded enterprises to solve the shortage of funds.
Garden Hotel Guangzhou and Dong Fang Hotel have already completed their renovation projects. The former has been upgraded into a platinum five-star hotel while the latter has been made into a meeting center that is said to be the largest of all the hotels in Guangzhou.
(China Hospitality News January 21, 2009)