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Beijing turns into luxury tourism mecca

Reporter: Martina Fuchs 丨 CCTV.com

05-19-2016 16:52 BJT

If you have deep pockets -- your Beijing trip would be much more beyond scoffing Peking Duck and traipsing up the Great Wall. Private Great Wall helicopter tours, green tea ceremonies. High end tourism in the Chinese capital is booming.

Want to travel like an emperor?

Then Beijing might be on the top of your travel bucket list. But you're going to need some pretty deep pockets to experience it.

Take the ultra-luxury Rosewood hotel in the prime downtown financial district.

Its luxurious rooms cost from 400 US dollars up to 12,000 US dollars per night.

But it is as popular with well-to-do Chinese guests as it is with Westerners, and the occupancy rate is, take a guess… at an almost full 100%.

The typical guest profile? An "affluent explorer".

"It is the typical guest who is looking for something a bit beyond the expected. A lot of people define luxury by silver, gold and thread counts in their linen. For us, it is more about someone who is hungry to discover the city," said Marc Brugger, MD of Rosewood Beijing.

Upscale, hipster and stylish 5-star hotels are mushrooming in the Chinese capital, such as the the NUO Hotel, the Opposite House, and the Rosewood, to cater to the world's ultra high net worth individuals.

Luxury travel agencies are also springing up to offer exclusive, tailor-made packages and private tours for well-off visitors.

The Green T. House on the outskirts of Beijing is one of the ultra-luxury destinations for high-end travellers. Apart from gourmet dining, it's also a spa villa, bath house, and an oasis of tranquility, attracting guests from near and far

Guy Rubin from Imperial Tours often brings his affluent clientele here to escape the hustle and bustle downtown.

"What they all seek is a unique custom experience within China, an experience which gives them more insight to go beyond the prejudices that are generated through the media into what China is really like," said Guy Rubin.

"Say you want to play table tennis with a world champion, you could do that. Say you want to do a martial arts session you could do that, if you want to do a tai chi session in the Temple of Heaven. So as everyone is unique and distinct, we can provide different experiences for them."

His clients include Puerto Rican pop stars, oil tycoons, and Silicon Valley billionaires, who for obvious reasons prefer to stay anonymous.

"There is not an expensive or cheap product. It is natural products, it takes time to enjoy your afternoon, it takes time to enjoy the sun and the quietness, no sound of traffic, not hurry, hurry, not "kuai, kuai, kuai", and I guess that's what customers come here for," said Zhang Jinjie, founder of Green T. House.

More and more online luxury travel agencies such as Zanadu are also tapping into the segment at the top end of the scale.

Beijing welcomed 273 million tourists last year, compared to 261 million in 2014. And tourism revenues hit 460.7 billion yuan.

To attract more tourists and boost consumption, the city also plans to expand its tax rebate scheme and maintain a 72-hour visa-free stay for international transit passengers.
And just in case your budget can't afford it, don't worry. Beijing still has plenty of low-cost options to choose from to travel in style.

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