lap of luxury
Posted by Barry Silverstein on May 31, 2010 04:00 PM
As we've reported, China's economy keeps chugging along and, with it, high-end hoteliers are finding the country to be fertile ground for growth. Now the challenge is for one homegrown luxury hotel brand to differentiate itself from its competitors, including international hotel groups, in the nation's booming hospitality business.
Swire's flagship property, The Opposite House, is one of those hotels. It is located in Beijing's Sanlitun Village, a tony open-plan shopping, dining and entertainment destination developed by Hong Kong-based Swire Properties, and established Swire Hotels to manage its urban hotels in mainland China, Hong Kong, and the UK.
As Swire's first hotel, it boasts 99 guest studios, 9 spacious suites, and a penthouse duplex with a roof terrace. It's also inspiring Swire to pioneer branded entertainment in China, in step with international luxury brands such as Dior also looking to communicate their brand essence with cinematic flair.
In an unusual marketing ploy to set itself apart, Swire is promoting the luxury boutique hotel by releasing Short Stays, a suite of three short films it commissioned from some of China's leading filmmakers.
Anthony Ross, GM of The Opposite House, says the 7- to 15-minute long films reflect the hotel's continuing support of the Chinese contemporary art scene. "We've given these talented young film makers a platform and open brief to interpret our space -- given them full creative reign over what the House means to them and stories captured in the transient space of hotel rooms."
Short Stays, according to series producers Samantha Culp and Zhang Xianmin, "was inspired by this notion of a hotel as a blank slate for the imagination. Three emerging filmmakers were invited to take The Opposite House as a starting point, and create a short film inspired by this borderline space ... the directors had total freedom. And the results of this creative experiment are as wildly unique as the filmmakers that made them."
The project is nothing if not one-of-a-kind. Not many hotels would let film makers have the run of the place; in fact, just the opposite. But The Opposite Hotel is making a statement that it not only supports the arts -- it's also putting China on the cutting edge of brand marketing.