A POST-COVID push towards business event activity around waterside locations near Hong Kong International Airport and the city’s sea link to Macau and Zhuhai is being pulled into focus after the opening of another international hotel in the area.
Sheraton Hong Kong Tung Chung Hotel has opened across the bay from the city’s airport and the start of the Hong-Kong Zhuhai Macau Bridge – the most visible piece of infrastructure built to link the Greater Bay Area, planned as one of China’s future economic regions.
The 218-room and suite property is due to be followed in early 2021 by a 1,001-room Four Points by Sheraton – marking Marriott International’s first dual-brand hotel opening in Hong Kong. Both properties are a 10 minute drive from the airport.
The new landmarks in the town of Tung Chung, on Lantau island, come as the Airport Authority of Hong Kong embarks on a US5.2 billion “Airport City” project that will include the second phase of AsiaWorld-Expo.
When completed, the development will give AsiaWorld-Expo a total of 100,000 sqm in event facilities including Hong Kong’s largest indoor performance venue with a capacity for 20,000 people.
A new Regal Skycity hotel is due to be completed in 2021, joining an existing Regal property and the Skycity Marriott, both on the opposite side of “T-Bay” where the Sheraton properties in Tung Chung are located.
Accor’s Novotel is also in Tung Chung and the nearby Disneyland operates three hotels on its resort on Lantau.
“The future plans with the Greater Bay Area are also massive, as our hotel faces the HZMB island that is the process area for [travellers using the bridge],” said Sander Looijen, cluster general manager for both Sheraton properties in Tung Chung,
Looijen told MIX the Sheraton has seen brisk business since opening on December 1 both with the staycation market and at the three F&B outlets: The Sunset Grill, with a terrace facing across “T-Bay”, the Yue Chinese restaurant, the all-day Café Lantau and the Lobby Lounge.
He said 10 weddings have already been confirmed for 2021 with locally organised social events anticipated for the pillar-free 1,200 sqm Grand Ballroom, which has a ceiling at 7 metres. The ballroom, which has a spacious foyer with natural daylight, can accommodate 1,300 people for cocktails in an area that can be partitioned into three separate venues.
The Sheraton boasts the fourth largest ballroom in Hong Kong as part of the property’s 3,400 sqm of meetings and events space, which includes two outdoor terraces – one with 270-degree sea views – and four multi-function meeting rooms with one designed for teleconferencing.
Shanghai-based Shimao Property Holdings led a venture that won the bid for the north Tung Chung site in 2014, placing the Sheraton in a prime position for Greater Bay Area expansion and the controversial Lantau Tomorrow project, which will see land reclamation to create another island to alleviate development pressure on urban Hong Kong.
The Sheraton is also being positioned as a neighbourhood hotel with products stocked from local beekeeper Mui Wo Lychee Hill Holiday Farm and Lantau coffee roasters Porter. Outlets on the complex can also be leased by small businesses with Tung Chau residents encouraged to experience “T-City”.
Tung Chung is also home to Citygate Malls, Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car and is a starting point for tours of Lantau, taking in landmarks such as the Big Buddha statue and Tai O fishing village.
The new property joins three other Sheratons in the Greater Bay Area with the brand operating in Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui, a Sheraton Grand along Macau’s Cotai Strip, and another on the other side of the HZMB in Zhuhai.