InterContinental’s Debut in Nantong,
One of China’s 1st Modern Cities
——Exclusive Interview with Mr. William Lau, General Manager of InterContinental Nantong
从筹备到开业，刘先生坦言和团队一起做了很多的研究，要让每一位莅临酒店的宾客感受到这山涧水野深处的待客之道。从布局设计而言，酒店总占地近600亩，外围亲水平台和绿化区加上邻近的滨江公园也正好提供客人开阔休闲的活动空间。酒店内部拥有347间典雅的客房及套房，观景视角极佳，可将长江江景尽收眼底。总经理和我们强调说：“酒店在设计上有着特别的考虑。有超过60% 的房间分别带有长江及狼山景色，最突出的是我们客房里的卫生间设计，均有对外窗户，自然采光使客房里的空间感特别丰富。而双人房的设计类似于商务仓，可以防干扰。” 此外，所有房间均配备48寸壁挂式液晶电视机，独立浴缸及淋浴设施和宽敞的工作区域。深蕴本地特色的设计风格及考究的家居装饰，营造出一种高雅、舒适的入住氛围。还有逾3300平方米的会议场地，包括：两间无柱式豪华大宴会厅，面积为1600平米挑高9米的元福大宴会厅，面积为900平米挑高8米的元禧大宴会厅，以及11间不同规模的多功能会议室。会议空间开阔，现代化设施完备，可满足千人婚宴及多种会议活动所需。健身中心还有一应俱全的高端运动设备，以及清澈舒适的室内恒温游泳池，可令您畅享运动的乐趣，焕发无限活力。而繁华深处，水疗中心宛若一片静谧的绿洲，令您的身心得以舒缓，回归平和。
Sitting on the northern bank of Yangtze River Estuary, the city of Nantong nestles in a picturesque landscape of enchanting hills and rivers. As one of China’s first modern cities, Nantong enjoys unique cultural and educational significance in China’s modern history since it boasts China’s first normal school, first folk museum, first textile manufacturing school, first embroidery school, first opera school, first school for the blind and dumb and first metrological station. As we arrive in Nantong, a city with scenic beauty, profound cultural heritage, we head for InterContinental Nantong. InterContinental Nantong sits amid the scenic area of the Chongchuan District of Nantong. Within walking distance from the hotel is Nantong Binjiang Park, where guests may roam in the pastoral scenery along the majestic Yangtze River. Nearby attractions include Wolf Mountain Scenic Area, a 4A scenic tourism spot, 5A Hao River Scenic Area, Nantong Underwater World, Emma Spots Club, and Zhongnan Shopping Mall. As the 1st world class luxury hotel in Nantong, InterContinental Nantong is dedicated to becoming the top choice of clients for business, tourist as well as with conference purposes with deluxe experience. Tourist enthusiasts may find destination to their perferences among a host of choices available in the city. And we also have a glimpse of the scenic beauty of this city as Mr. William Lau shows us around.
InterContinental Nantong is advantageously located on the Golden Waterway and Gold Coast of China that extends some 226 kilometers. It is 23 kilometers away from Nantong Xingdong Airport and 2.5 hours’ drive from Shanghai, which sits across the Yangtze River. Nantong is, therefore, nicknamed as Northen Shanghai. High-speed railway to be built across the city will bring tourists greater convenience.
During the interview, we learn that Mr. William Lau has been working at InterContinental Hotels Group for many years, and according to him, “IHG is a truly international brand, with hotel chains across 100 countries worldwide. InterContinental Hotels and Group is the top brand of IHG and this year marks its 70th anniversary,a historic milestone of InterContinental brand. I have been exposed to world cultures as I work at IHG hotels in various countries.” Mr. Lau’s remarks are filled with approval and applause for IHG. Known for his result-driven style, Mr. Lau managed to seize the leading position for the hotel in direct competition with its counterparts, as he led his team in repositioning the hotel by modifying its target market segmentation, which yielded some double digit revenue growth. With profound hospitality knowledge and thoughful care for his staff and their career development, he is regarded by many of his colleagues as their mentor. In a natual manner, he provides encouragement and support to his staff members, offering alternative perspectives whenever they come across any problem or difficulty. With outstanding training skills, he gets his staff members more interested and better informed of the hospitality industry. As he says,“It is of vital importance that we share information and make progress together, and learn from the strengths of one other, no matter what each of us used to be. A positive attitude toward work is equally critical. Opportunity is available to each staff member to get an insight into the industry and achieve their career goals by working passionately, efficiently and in a way that best exert their potentials.”
This year marks its 70th anniverary, a historic milestone along the history of InterContinental brand. InterContinental Nantong is the 1st hotel launched in honor of its 70 anniversary as well as 36th InterContinental brand hotel within Greater China. Along a 70 year glorious history, InterContinental brand has been a multiple-time champion across market segments. As Mr. Lau takes up the appointment as the General Manager of InterContinental Nantong, he shares a common goal with his team to turn the hotel into the top luxury hotel in Nantong in terms of overall performance and hotel service and then the top in Jiangsu Province. And we look forward to the realization of this goal, which will definitely contribute to the economic growth of Nantong.
Mr. Lau admits that a great deal of research has been made from launch preparations to its official opening, in order that each individual guest may appreciate the luxury hospitality in the depth of hills and rivers. Covering an area of 600 ares, it offers extensive outdoor space for leisure activities with its waterside terrace, grassland and the neighboring Binjiang Park. InterContinental Nantong offers 347 well-appointed guestrooms and suites, commanding perfect views of the Yangtze River. Mr. Lau stresses that special consideration is given to the hotel design, with 60% guestrooms and suites overlooking the Yangtze River and Wolf Mountain. Bathrooms within the guestrooms are carefully designed with windows that provide sufficient natual illumination which seems to extend the space inside. And the design of twin rooms follows that of business class cabins that keep out any possible disturbance. Guest rooms are elegantly designed, elaboratedly decorated, accented with local motifs, each furnished with a 48-inch well-mounted LCD television, a bathroom with deep-soak bathtub and separate walk-in rainfall shower, as well as an ergonomically designed workspace. InterContinental Nantong offers more than 3,300 square meters of event and conference space, including two pillar-free ballrooms–Yuan Fu, occupying 1,600 square meters with 9-meter ceiling and Yuan Xi, occupying 900 square maters with 8 meter ceilings. There are 11 additional function rooms of various sizes. Harnessed with state-of-the-art equipment, these banquet facilities can host up to 1,000 people for large event, including wedding banquet, gala dinners and conferences. The hotel gym, fitted out with state-of-the-art high-tech equipment as well as free weights, is dedicated to guests’ fitness. A haven of calm, the indoor heated pool is ideal for lap swim or just splashing around. In the depth of the bustling city, the Spa is an oasis of tranquility that offers a full recharge for a harmonious balance of body and mind.
In terms of the hotel service, InterContinental Nantong features “In the Know” enabled by a well-trained professional staff. Mr. Lau explains, “Our guests arrive with curiosity for everything about the city and local culture. Likewise, they are interested in having the local experience and dealing with various local residents. And this is why they expect to have insightful experience of what the hotel and the city have to offer. We are able to provide an immersive experience comparable that of a local resident, as well as information that reaches far beyond what a standard tourist pamphlet or a certain tourist website can offer. Such a valuable package is otherwise unavailable without the help from an expert. Each hotelier, therefore, is well trained in the knowledge of the locality. Coming from various parts of the country, and motivated by the customer-focused philosophy of InterContinental, the professional team are in a good position to present a generous package to each individual guests.
In economic terms, Mr. Lau shares, “A hotel can be regarded as a real estate project that both attract capital investment and represent the economic development of the city. As a major brand of IHG, InterContinental maintains business contracts with a large number of Fortune 500 foreign companies which partner with InterContinental for accommodation for their employees on business trips. Thanks to IHG’s extensive hotel chains and well-connected global booking network, the marketing team of InterContinental Nantong managed to sign contracts with companies large and small, in Nantong and beyond during the hotel launch preparation, making accommodation available to business clients and employees of these companies right upon its launch.
As you arrive in Nantong and appreciate its scenic beauty, you also wish to satisfy you palate with some delicacies. Then InterContinental Nantong is a perfect destination. Sitting on the Yangtze River and connected with water channels, as well as the Yellow Sea, Nantong abounds in fresh water fishes and seafood around the year. Guest may help themselves to these delicacies at a host of restaurants of the hotel. West Commune, the contemporarily designed all-day dining restaurant, tantalizes guests with open show kitchens that offer an up-close view of the chef’s freshly prepared international cuisines. Both the authentic Asian selections and hearty western fare are cooked with premium food materials by internationally renown chefs to please both travelers and local diners alike. With its elegant and stylish setting, East Commune is the place to enjoy Cantonese cuisine and innovative Nantong cuisines that delight both the palate and the senses. The restaurant features delicious clay pot cooking as well as extensive a la carte dishes. The modern izakaya----a drinking house with a menu of small dishes to enjoy while drinking----features a wide selection of beer and sake, and is a wonderful place to enjoy casual dining with a Japanese flavor. CAI FENG LOU presents an classic and thematically unique motif. At InterContinental Nantong, guests will be indulged by unique dining experiences, as they savoring a wide variety of delicacies.
We come to Nantong along a winding route around the mountain foot; and we leave by water. As the hotel gradually fades away in sight amid the enchanting natural landscape, it leaves us an impression that will hardly fade away. What lingers in our mind is the hills, rivers and InterContinental Nantong, of this idyllic city of Nantong. And we believe that they will take on a greater look in the days to come.