When staying in Hong Kong or on the mainland, The House Collective is the place to stay for luxury travelers to the Middle Kingdom. Under Swire Hotels, The House Collective — which includes The Upper House in Hong Kong, The Middle House in Shanghai, The Temple House in Chengdu, and the The Opposite House in Beijing — has not been immune to the vicissitudes of the global COVID pandemic. However, as the world slowly turns to normality, The House Collective speaks with Remote Lands on the future of travel in China.
Far from the hustle and bustle of the capital and Shanghai, what is happening at The Temple House in Chengdu?
Chengdu is bouncing back and with that so is the hotel business. Over the recent months the hotel introduced a number of popular initiatives such as room staycation offers, spa and afternoon tea packages, and for the gourmet seekers new seasonal healthy flavors and menus across our restaurants, as well as a new wine club and program called Club Vino, and a monthly guest bartender community series, inviting friends of the hotel to come and become a head bartender for the night and invite their colleagues and friends alike. In the city all the sightseeing hubs are open and the cities night life is also back such as the night markets on Dongda Street and it’s collection of street stalls and vendors, plus the cities great variety of restaurants and bars.
— The Temple House General Manager Simon McHendry.
Beijing recently experienced a resurgence with COVID. When do you expect things to get back to normal at Swire Hotels properties in the biggest cities in the Middle Kingdom?
Beijing experienced a resurgence in cases in July and with Beijing being the capital city the government were swift to implement heavy restrictions to curb any spread including widespread testing of the capital where over 2 million tests were carried out in two weeks! New cases were curbed quickly and In the past few days no cases have been reported, it’s expected that it will be business as normal come August. We’re finding at the moment that because the government goes into strict lockdown people assume that the cases are quite high but in the grand scheme of things Beijing has quite low numbers — given the wide scale testing there is a lot of confidence in the numbers.
— The Opposite House General Manager Mark Passmore.
Are there any new experiences from Swire in Asia we should look forward to in 2021?
In 2021, Swire will once again be a sponsor of Art Basel Hong Kong so there will be sure to be exciting experiences happening then. In addition, we will be bringing back Encounters Across Cultures, the art programme of The House Collective. Just as each of the four Houses was created with inspiration from the culture of its locations, the programme connects creators from different cultures through art. Inspired by the distinctive architecture of our Houses, this upcoming year we are creating interactive experiences where contemporary dance interacts with architecture. The program will kick off with the launch installation experience at The Opposite House starting March, and the plan will be to bring the experience to all four Houses later in the year. An extraordinary part of the story is that throughout this year we have already started creating this installation despite Covid, so we have had our Paris-based choreographer Mourad Bouyad remotely directing dancers in Beijing and Shanghai – across the distance and across time zones. The resulting experience will not just be a one-off dance performance, but an interactive installation that can be experienced at The House throughout the exhibition period of two months at The Opposite House March to May, to be followed by the other Houses later in the year.
— Swire Hotels Director of International Sales Chrissie Lincoln.