Legend Continues at InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin
——Exclusive Interview with Mr. William Tsao, Deputy General Manager of Donghu Group & General Manager of InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin
Once, there was an array of classic buildings carrying countless stories and witnessing
legendary histories. Now, it has turned into a unique garden villa hotel with a vibrant combination of Chinese and Western elements. This is Intercontinental Shanghai Ruijin, a legendary hotel with a hundred years of classic inheritance. Grand Hotels Media has the great pleasure to experience the low-key luxury and infinite charm of this first heritage hotel of Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts in the Greater China.
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Morriss Residence of Intercontinental Shanghai Ruijin, we have an exclusive interview with Mr. William Tsao, Deputy General Manager of Shanghai Donghu (Group) Co. & General Manager of Intercontinental Shanghai Ruijin. William gives prominence to humanistic care and is very experienced at recruitment. He speaks frankly and is willing to listen, diligent in thinking and good at summarizing. Confronted with the fast-changing hospitality industry, he is easy to absorb all kinds of information and adapt to different situation, which lays a solid foundation for the joint management with Mr. Kim Powley, Managing Director of the hotel.
Intercontinental Shanghai Ruijin was once the notable Ruijin Hotel. Located in the heart of Shanghai's former French Quarter, the hotel is close to Huaihai CBD as well as many famous tourist attractions in the city. As the owner of Intercontinental Shanghai Ruijin, Shanghai Donghu (Group) Co. is a comprehensive group dealing exclusively in high star-level garden villas, state hotels and a number of various industries. Garden hotels owned by the group include Xi Jiao State Guest Hotel, Dong Jiao State Guest Hotel, Hong Qiao State Guest Hotel, Radisson Blu Plaza Xing Guo Hotel, Intercontinental Shanghai Ruijin, Donghu Hotel and Dingxiang Garden Hotel. Among these reputable hotels, Ruijin Hotel has witnessed the historical change and accommodated many celebrities. A lot of legends and stories about the hotel have also being widely spread. The hotel consists of historical buildings and ancient monuments including Morriss Residence, Presidential Villa & Adjacent Rooms, Xin Yuan Lou, Reception Building, Club Wing, The Well and The Well Temple. Precious memories and unforgettable stories are behind each of these classic buildings.
As the hotel's oldest architecture, the Well Temple is originated from the Southern Song Dynasty and gets its name by the Well in the south of the hotel's garden. The Well can be dated back to the year of 1404 in Ming Dynasty and is identified as the oldest freshwater well in the urban area of Shanghai. As the "root" of the city, the Well has witnessed the ups and downs of this charming city.
Established in 1917, Morriss Residence was once owned by HE Morriss, a British businessman. The building is constructed in the classic colonial British heritage style. Its architectural pattern is so magnificent, an outstanding example of wood stone and brick structures, covered with a classic red tile roof. In 1927, Chiang Kai-Shek and Madame Soong May-Ling held their engagement ceremony here. During the War of Liberation (1946-1949), the hotel served as the headquarters for the Communist Party in Shanghai. After the foundation of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the building was taken over by the East China Bureau of the Communist Party and Shanghai's first mayor, Chen Yi, used the building as his official office and residence during his term. Later, many significant national leaders including Chairman Mao and Deng Xiaoping all stayed here.
The Presidential Villa & Adjacent Rooms are designed and built in 1920. The villa is a beautifully decorated Art Deco architecture. Its wall section has a white line circle, covered with flat tiles. Although it was built during the 1920s, it is completely geared to the international and European modern standards and hosted numerous leaders in the worldwide. In 2015, British Prince William’s stay has also added great brilliance to the hotel.
Xin Yuan Lou was built in 1930 and was once used by the Japanese Mitsui Group as their regional office in Southern China. After the War of Resistance against Japan, the Kuomintang government took the building back from the Japanese. In 1949, the building was taken over by the East China Bureau of the Communist Party. In the early 1980s, the hotel was officially opened to the public. At the end of the 1990s, this building was famous for FACE bar, which witnessed the splendor of the bar street in Maoming Road. Nowadays, it has become a three-storey Cantonese restaurant recommended by "Michelin Guide Shanghai 2017", providing Cantonese and Shanghainese delicacies.
The Reception Building was built in 2012 and full of the rich and luxurious atmosphere of the 1920s. The architecture fully integrates the design of the Old Shanghai style with contemporary art. The oval courtyard is as high as nine stories with a huge crystal chandelier hanging on both sides. Such a dazzling design creates and extraordinary memory for each visitor. Guest rooms are spacious and bright, dressed in dove-egg blue with Shanghai Deco style furnishings, upholstered furniture and luxurious marble bathrooms, which present a romantic and luxury vibe. In addition, the Club Wing is also newly constructed. Its marble floors, square ceiling and fine hardwood wall paintings all truly reproduce the grace of Old Shanghai in the 1930s. Palm-sized cartoon books about Shanghai anecdotes by Master cartoonist He Youzhi can also be found in guestrooms, displaying the imprint of the times vividly.
After years of vicissitudes, these buildings have composed a classic historical legend, from private housing to dignitaries' social venue in the 1930s and 1940s, from the state guesthouse accommodating celebrities to the international brand hotel. But now, they have altogether constituted Intercontinental Shanghai Ruijin, which is jointly managed by international notable hotel group, Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts and Shanghai Donghu (Group) Co. When the classic hotel with profound historical background meets the Western modern elements, what kind of sparks will be produced? According to William Tsao, Morriss Residence of the hotel was founded in 1917 and Intercontinental Shanghai Ruijin was officially opened on May 28, 2013. As the owner, Shanghai Donghu (Group) Co. has closely cooperated with Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts, continuously communicating with each other, learning from others' strong points and closing the gap. Both sides are taking great efforts to perfectly combine the classical temperament of the former country hotel with the elegance and nobleness of the West, so as to present a fabulous hotel with unique characteristic.
As the first historical hotel of Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts in the Greater China, InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin ranks among the company’s seven historic and classic hotels around the world with its classic historical heritage. Prior to Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts, a number of global notable hotel groups had showed their interest to this old hotel. However, Shanghai Donghu (Group) Co. eventually chose Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts as the partner since it was one of the world's biggest hotel management groups at that time and has a wealth of global hotel management experience. Intercontinental Shanghai Ruijin also attaches extraordinary significance since it is the first historical hotel project of Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts in the Greater China. In addition, IHG Rewards Club® is the world's largest hotel loyalty program with more than 94 million members in the worldwide. Through the cooperation, Donghu Group hopes to enhance its international influence, market awareness and customers' sense of belonging, so as to bring more business opportunities and benefits to the hotel.
With the appointment of InterContinental Hotels Group, InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin has made some changes to the management team. William introduced that Shanghai Donghu(Group) Co pays attention to personalized services and lnterContinental Hotels & Resorts focused on InterContinental standard service. Under the combination of the two, the services of InterContinental Shanghai ruijin have come to a leading level in the industry. Meanwhile, Mr. Kim Powley, Managing Director of the hotel also expressed his expectation, "As another landmark of InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin is focused on bringing the best local experiences to a global community creating unique memorable experience. We are dedicated to adding value to this historic hotel, and to complementing our sister hotels, Willard InterContinental Washington, InterContinental New York Barclay, lnterContinental Paris Le Grand and Intercontinental Carlton Cannes in the near future."
It is a challenging job to become a manager in the hospitality industry. But William always finds pleasure. He says, the road ahead will be long and his climb will be steep. It is believed that under the win-win cooperation of Shanghai Donghu (Group) Co. and Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts, as well as the professional and dedicated management team, Intercontinental Shanghai Ruijin will keep accumulating its strength and become increasingly brilliant in the future.