Daily Archives: April 1, 2009

Turning Ancient Chinese Homes into Modern Luxury Hotels

Yesterday’s traditional mansion becomes today’s 5-star hotel


Photo © Winston Lim

Chinese and other Asian entrepreneurs are restoring historic wooden houses all over China, with the hopes of creating boutique luxury hotels in coming years. This trend promises to have a ripple effect throughout China’s ancient cities — which boast dozens if not hundreds of these traditional houses just waiting to be transformed. According to AsiaOne Travel, Singaporean businessman Winston Lim

plans to incorporate [several] houses into his upcoming luxury boutique hotel in Zhu Jia Jiao town near Shanghai. To be completed next year, the 180-million yuan hotel will have 60 suites, a spa and restaurants. There will also be a museum for Ming dynasty antique furniture and it will house pieces from his personal collection.

Traditional wooden houses turned into boutique hotels are not exactly new, as a concentration of these hotels can be found in places like Beijing’s Houhai area, but entrepreneurs like Winston Lim have grand visions of branching out beyond hotels in coming years,¬†transforming these houses into everything from universities to private villas. No matter what these developers eventually do with their ancient houses, they are certainly holding on to lucrative investments. As for Mr. Lim’s grand dreams, he doesn’t seem to be in much of a hurry to unload his potential goldmines:

[Lim’s] obscure investment in the houses is paying off. His mix of single- and double-storey houses are now worth almost 26 times their original price five years ago. But he has no intention of letting any of them go.