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Amanresorts to build luxury hotel in Diqing County

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The Songzanlin Temple in Zhongdian, er, Shangri-la
The Songzanlin Temple in Zhongdian, er, Shangri-la

We just read in this China Hospitality News report that Singapore-based boutique luxury hotel chain Amanresorts Group will be moving into Diqing County's Shangri-la area (it still feels weird not calling it Zhongdian).

Amanresorts signed a cooperation agreement with the Diqing Government and Beijing Zhaode Property to construct a new hotel with an investment of 300 million yuan (US$37.5 million). The deluxe five-star hotel will be Tibetan-themed.

Because of its remoteness and development lag in relation to coastal China, Yunnan has until recent years been considered a risky investment destination for luxury hotels. This attitude seems to be changing, however, with Singapore-based Banyan Tree opening pricey resorts (US$500-$600/night) in Diqing County and near Yulong Snow Mountain outside of Lijiang in the last couple of years.

More recently, Thailand-based TCC Group purchased the Bank Hotel here in Kunming, which it intends to convert into a deluxe five-star hotel - Kunming's first.

We have to wonder, now that there are golf courses and airports all over Yunnan and smaller luxury hotels are establishing themselves in the province, will the big luxury hotel groups like Hilton, Starwood and Accor start trickling in too? One can imagine that these companies are watching Amanresorts, Banyan Tree and TCC's investments very closely.

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Please tell me the luxury hotel plan in Zhongdian does not involve the Songzalin Temple(pictured)? If so, that would truly be a sacrilege. Regardless, I can't imagine many people making the strenuous trip to Shangri-La to visit an over-priced hotel that features caramel lattes.

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