TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Shanghai review: Hay Karen, you win again!

by | 06 Dec 2019 | Events

The first ever TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR in Shanghai brought together the best of the hotel industry at the Andaz Shanghai Xintiandi on Dec 5, 2019. Photo by Rahul Venkit.

The Conrad Hotel in Shenyang by IN-Dulge wins the Creative Spark design award at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Shanghai, in a day replete with networking and inspiration.

TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR’s maiden event in the Chinese mainland took place in fine style at the swanky Andaz Shanghai Xintiandi with a high-profile cross-section of the regional hospitality industry in attendance.

With China’s impressive hotel construction pipeline firmly in focus, delegates delved into the nuances of hotel trends in Asia Pacific and China before zooming into Shanghai’s changing industry skyline.

Hay’s a consistent winner

A particular highlight of the event was Creative Spark, a hotel design competition between three architects/interior designers, which is judged by delegates at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR conferences. Shortlisted finalists present their innovative projects, and further discuss their work as part of a stimulating panel discussion, moderated in Shanghai by Kimberly Brown, Founder of Kimberly Brown Architects.

In the end, it was Karen Hay, Founder & Creative Director of IN-Dulge, who took top honours at Creative Spark for the outstanding Conrad Hotel Shenyang project, due to open in late 2019.

The before-after photos and sustainability features of the elegant, modern yet timeless hotel design paying homage to the Manchu people of the region scored big.

Hay beat out tough competition by the InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland hotel presented by Eric Seymour, Operations Director – Architecture at Atkins Global, and Chang Yi at Fairmont Chengdu by Adrian Battisby, Founder & Director at LW Design.

Discussion, debate & future directions

The panel discussion of the day debated whether Shanghai was experiencing a clash of culture in its hotel industry. In a stimulating conversation moderated by Angel Chen from JLL, esteemed panelists Mei Ping from Capella Hotel Group, Markus Engel from Urban Resort Concepts and

C.J. Liang from the Hyatt Hotels Corporation shared views on how traditional hotels are juxtaposed with the modern in the Chinese financial capital, which as long been known as the most “European” city of China.

In a sparkling keynote presentation, TOPHOTELPROJECTS International Sales Director Caroline List gave an overview of hotel developments in the APAC region. Later in the day, ONYX Hospitality Group’s Senior Vice President & Head of Greater China Gina Wo put the spotlight on how her hotel group was tackling brand innovation in the prime regional market.

Kelvin Ip, Project Director at Horwath HTL Shanghai, then addressed delegates regarding mega trends in the Chinese hotel market with an accent on key consumer characteristics, successful market segments and a comparative analysis with other APAC countries.

All about who you know

As anyone who has attended TOPHOTELPROJECTS’ boutique hotel networking event can attest, when it comes to the hospitality industry, it’s all about who you know.

Through 8 of its now-famous “change-table sessions”, the Shanghai event provided an intimate platform for delegates representing all sectors of the hotel industry – investors, owners, developers, architects, designers, consultants and suppliers – the opportunity to make lifelong industry connections.

“It’s always a pleasure to attend any TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR because it provides an unparalleled chance to meet new industry peers, catch-up with old friends and get inspired by latest figures and trends,” said attendee Laura Chico Arias, Business Development Director at PDP London. “I’m already looking forward to London in February 2020.”

With the Shanghai event, TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR 2019 draws to a close. To attend, address or sponsor our boutique hospitality networking conferences in 2020, please get in touch with TOPHOTELPROJECTS’ Head of Global Events & Conferences Kayley van der Velde.



The TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR is a series of one-day conferences around the world for hospitality leaders.


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