By Young Chen – Travel Section Editor
It is estimated by 2017, Chinese visitors will be spending over £1 billion pounds a year in the UK, this is because of a number of initiatives made by the government and various organisations to attract more Chinese tourists such as Visit Britain.
With the influx of Chinese tourists, the demand for high quality accommodation especially in London also increases. A recent survey conducted by Nee Hao, concluded that Chinese visitors preferred hotels to have more home comforts in.
As an alternative to hotels, serviced apartments are also becoming increasingly popular options too for Chinese visitors, especially here in the UK.
Nee Hao contacted award-winning Cheval Residences in London to give an insight to these types of accommodation. They offer luxury short-term (and long term) accommodation in some of the capital’s most popular and highly sought after residential areas, including Knightsbridge, Hyde Park, Gloucester Park and Cheval Three Quays. And Chinese tourists and businessmen are some of their top customers.
According to the Tourism Alliance, Chinese visitors to the UK are at an all-time high with nearly 200,000 of them coming here every year and spending almost £500 million between them. And the number of Chinese students studying here is also steadily increasing; 90,000 students from China are in UK higher education, more than those from any other country.
Cheval prides itself on being more than just a place to stay and is great for travellers who are looking for luxury yet affordable accommodation but do not want the fuss of a hotel, meaning they have the freedom to stay in a home away from home and treat it like their own.
Many of Cheval’s accommodations come in various sizes, be they studios or one to three-bedroom apartments, some of which can accommodate up to six people – ideal for friends or families travelling together – and are decorated and furnished to an extremely high, modern standard. 70% of the residences have no minimum stay but are usually let out for a few weeks or months. This means those staying longer really can feel like they’re in a second home and don’t have to feel like they’re being holed up in a normal hotel for ages.
And it’s not just the everyday tourist that likes to stay at Cheval Residences. Businessmen and parents of students visiting their children also favour them and with many of the apartments just a few minutes walk from some of the city’s top attractions and shopping destinations at prices that aren’t too different from those at a four or five-star hotel, Cheval really is the ideal company to find the best accommodation.
The people who run Cheval Residences are trained in providing second-to-none customer service and are happy to let their guests take care of themselves during their stay, but they are also able to provide special packages, help book tickets to attractions and tours and even take care of your laundry.
The vast majority of Chinese visitors are wealthy enough to splash the cash on every occasion for an enjoyable holiday, whether they’re shopping, eating out or buying VIP tickets to attractions. So why should their taste for five-star accommodation be any different?
Here’s a review from Nee Hao’s Kwai Lee – Nee Hao’s contributing Travel Correspondent.
Kwai stayed at Cheval’s Three Quays residences, situated next to the Tower of London, on Friday 5th June, 2015.
Cheval Three Quays is a modern five-star hotel that opened in Spring 2014. The name originated from its historic location, Galley Quay, Chester Quay and the Brewers Quay – which dates back to the 17th Century.
Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted by Kestas from reception and he showed us to the penthouse on the ninth floor. Once inside, he introduced us to the luxury apartment. We had 2 double-bedrooms and one twin room, they were all fitted with double or triple door wardrobes providing ample storage space. Every room in the apartment was equivalent to a 5 Star hotel room, they were clean, light and spacious. All bathrooms had thick-piled cotton towels and all rooms had bathrobes and slippers. Each room had a flat-screen TV, living space included. Wifi was also available.
On the far end of the penthouse was the kitchen and large living space. The fully-fitted kitchen had a stove top, oven, microwave, cups, plates, cutleries and utensils. This was perfect as we planned on staying in for lunch and do some cooking, which you can’t do in hotels. It really felt like a home from home, although much more luxurious. A complimentary hamper and extravagant gift candles awaited us on the breakfast bar top.
The open living space had access to a private terrace which, when stood outside, had an amazing and breathtaking 180º spectacular view over-looking the River Thames. Overlooking the River Thames stood the famous and iconic building, the Shard. It’s Western Europe’s tallest building. On the left of us was the Tower Bridge and on the right side was the London Eye. Scattered on the same side were other monumental buildings: Design Museum, City Hall, Shakespeare’s Globe, the Gherkin and others. It’s astounding how standing on a terrace top, it’s possible to encapsulate some of England’s most famous buildings and landmarks. The amazing views were worth the stay at these residencies alone.
Outside of the hotel, we were spoilt for choice for the range and vast array of shops, cafes and restaurants: all within close proximity and convenience. The area has many things to do, close to all forms of public transport, so getting to anywhere else in London was no problem. We went to the West End for dinner which was only 3 miles away, and also visited the London Eye, which was 2 miles down the road.
We slept through the night on the very comfortable beds. The pillows and duvets were soft and velvety. The noise level was virtually zero because of the well-designed soundproofed walls and windows. We couldn’t hear noises from outside or from the other two occupied bedrooms. Even in the morning, with the hustle and bustle of a busy Saturday, it was still peaceful.
Overall Cheval Three Quays was a very pleasant stay. This is a ‘must stay’ for a truly exceptional experience. It’s an outstanding alternative to a hotel with quality and class throughout. Everything was of high standard and the attention to detail was impeccable. Its location is a reason to stay just by itself, not to mention the high level of customer service, for sure, they understand the needs and concerns of the Chinese clientele.
*This article was produced as a result of a stay at Cheval Three Quays by Nee Hao’s Travel Section editorial team for the purposes of a review.