After much of anticipation, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has opened its doors for guests to explore one of the world’s mythical ‘paradise on earth’ located in the heart of fabled Himalayan mountains. Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts’ newest property, the 289-room Shangri-La Hotel, Lhasa, marks a sort of homecoming for the hotel group providing an authentic window onto Tibetan culture and hospitality.
From the moment guest first arrives at the hotel after passing through the Tibetan gate overlooking the Potala Palace, guests are greeted with the offering of a hada (a traditional ceremonial white silk scarf) and the throwing of barley on the chema (a wooden container used by Tibetans to pray for a bumper harvest) before being escorted to their guestroom. There, they are served yak butter tea in Tibetan pots.
Inside the hotel, the lobby’s design pays homage to elements found in traditional Tibetan culture. The visual anchor of the lobby lounge is a 6.5-metre bell-like chandelier made from 61,000 pieces of crystal and draped in flowing red fabric. The chandelier is reminiscent of a prayer wheel and is complemented by the lounge’s warm tones and earthy colors that are drawn from thangkas (Tibetan paintings). Next to the lounge is reception, where a floating cloud installation creates a dream-like space. Signifying unity and strength, the ancient Tibetan symbols of swirling clouds are made into a contemporary work of art using hammered oxidized bronze.
Warmly lit corridors and colourful carpets embedded with the cloud motif lead the way to the hotel’s 262 luxurious guestrooms and 17 expansive suites. Rooms are spacious with a minimum size of 42 square metres. Leisure facilities also include a spa, fully equipped gym and a 25-metre indoor swimming pool. Upon departure, guests are sent off to the sound of the hotel staff singing traditional Tibetan songs and playing Tibetan string instruments.
Since it is set on a plateau soaring 3,650 meters above sea level, the hotel offers most comprehensive well-being facilities to acclimate to the altitude, including the first oxygen lounge in a hotel as well as a full-service clinic. Inside the glass-walled lounge the oxygen level is the same as that at sea level, so guests can breathe comfortably while relaxing and enjoying reflexology treatments.
For those planning a trip to Tibet, the hotel is offering an opening promotion through 30 June 2014, which is priced from RMB2,488 per night plus 15 per cent service fee and includes buffet breakfast and dinner for two. For information or reservations, visit www.shangri-la.com.
Shangri-La Hotel, Lhasa
19 Norbulingka Road,
Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region,
T:(86 891) 655 8888