Tibet’s first five star Hotel has opened at the roof of the world, Lhasa on Saturday, 28th May. At about 3,600 meters above sea level, the three-hectare St. Regis Lhasa is one of the highest luxury hotels in the world, with views of the Himalayas and Lhasa Valley.
The Tibetan – monastic design of St. Regis Lhasa Resort was inspired by the nearby and still-active Sera Monastery. The 150-suite hotel, which also has 12 private villas, was projected with sustainable features that include solar panels and an underground water recycling system, while locally-sourced produce is served in the resort’s three restaurants.
The guests arriving at the Lhasa airport are driven to the hotel in a Mercedes-Benz limousine to the Lhasa resort. Personal butlers escort guests to their rooms and give tips on surviving Lhasa’s 12,000ft altitude. Guests are told not to shower on their first day, since hot water is believed by the Chinese to open up blood vessels and suck oxygen away from the brain. The luxury hotel is so high in fact each room is fitted with a tank of oxygen just in case guests feel they need a few extra breaths, and all the food and daily supplies have to be flown in.
The hotel at Lhasa is owned by the same group which owns the Lanesborough in London. There is a spa, a swimming pool, a restaurant boasting Cantonese and Sichuan delicacies, including yak meat, and a wine bar with hundreds of bottles specially flown in, including Chateau Lafite-Rothschild – all situated at downstairs.
According to the Tibet Autonomous Regional Tourism Bureau, Tibet attracted more than 5.5 million tourists in 2009 and 6.8 million in 2010. If the region’s five-year plan, which runs through 2015 being realized, there will be five, five-star hotels in the region by the end of the period, and they hope the area will attract 15 million tourists arriving per year by the same deadline. [St. Regis Lhasa Resort]