With 117 cities in mainland China boasting populations of more than three million the Middle Kingdom’s growth story still has a long way to play out. For international hotel groups the potential of moving into many of these second and third tier cities is enormous with most global brands indicating they have multiple projects in the pipeline or already underway.
The 344-room Songbei Shangri-La in the renowned city of ice - Harbin - was the group’s second property in the region, 18 years after the group opened its first property there in 1999.
For Shangri-La, the property anchors the group’s presence in the heart of Songbei’s business district and in a historic city that has witnessed the dawn of the Jin (1115-1234) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties, as well as cultural influences from neighbouring Russia.
Located on the edge of the Songhua River’s north bank and close to the city’s famous ice festival at the Ice & Snow World as well as local attractions such as the Sun Island Garden, Siberian Tiger Park and Harbin Great Theatre, the hotel is also around 30 minutes from the city’s airport.
Featuring uninterrupted views of the city and river, the hotel’s contemporary style is augmented with local art pieces and each living space integrates mood lighting and free-Wi-Fi. Beyond the wide range of rooms and suites, the hotel also provides 33 executive serviced apartments for longer-term guests.
On the culinary front, Shang Kitchen, the hotel’s main restaurant, celebrates Chinese cuisine with Peking roast duck, clay pot dishes and northeast regional specialties in a setting blending splashes of lilac and emerald green with lattice screens.
A little more laid-back and revolving around interactive theatre kitchens, Café Song provides more casual dining with its the international buffet and blackboard menus as well as an outdoor terrace.
Another option is De Drunk’n Pig – the hotel’s specialty bar that serves an array of local and international beer, and pork dishes to share. There’s also a resident DJ spinning tunes every evening.
The hotel also features an array of meeting and state-of-the-art event spaces catering to a fast-growing business market in the city.
Madeline van Horen