Tom Rowntree, VP Global Luxury Brands & Ginger Taggert VP, Global Marketing Luxury Portfolio outline new brand strategy at ILTM Cannes.

Introducing IHG’s new strategy, Rowntree said the group was “moving from experiences to transformative experiences”.

“This year has been rock’n’roll”, said Rowntree, as IHG has become the largest luxury operator in UK, launching the Kimpton brand in the UK, opening the 200th Intercontinental worldwide, and introducing the Regent brand into the portfolio.

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Ginger Taggert VP, Global Marketing Luxury Portfolio – IHG

Taggert explained that Intercontinental was the world’s first global luxury brand, adding, “Within the luxury portfolio, we aim to be ‘experts in luxury’.”

IHG announced the acquisition of a majority stake in Regent Hotels & Resorts in March, bringing the brand into the top-end of its portfolio, and increasing IHG’s presence in a fast-growing luxury segment worth $60bn and set to grow +$35bn by 2035, according to Taggert.

With the evolution of Regent’s brand positioning, IHG’s intention is to grow the Regent portfolio from six hotels today to more than 40 hotels in global gateway cities and iconic resort locations. In October, IHG announced the launch of the Regent Hotels & Resorts brand in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The agreement was signed is with Multibay Development Sdn. Bhd for Regent Kuala Lumpur. It will be situated next to Tun Razak Exchange project, which is set to become the next financial district of Kuala Lumpur and an extension to the city’s golden triangle known for its commercial, shopping and entertainment options. A 45-minute drive from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Regent Kuala Lumpur will be the luxury address in Malaysia’s capital.

In addition, plans are already underway to rebrand the iconic InterContinental Hong Kong, which is set to become a Regent hotel in 2021. The rebrand will see the hotel return to its roots, having first opened its doors as a Regent in 1980.

Taggert explained that IHG has recently run focus groups in the UK’s houses of parliament, also going behind the scenes at luxury design houses, looking for new design ideas, colours, and opportunities to “pioneer luxury to the next level”.

IHG’s 200th Hotel – an architectural marvel – underground!

Another key announcement was the group’s new “Shanghai Wonderland” development – built in disused quarry. Located beside Tianma Pit at Sheshan Mountain Range, this new hotel is mostly subterranean, with two floors above ground and 16 below ground, including 2 floors underwater.

intercontinental-shanghai-wonderland-night-view.jpgDeveloped by Shimao Group and managed by IHG, InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland is a luxury hotel built into the side wall of a formerly abandoned quarry in Southwestern Shanghai. Stretching 88 metres underground, the hotel was nominated as one of the architectural wonders of the world by the National Geographic Channel’s MegaStructures series due to its pioneering architectural design.

The new-build InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland combines the brand’s signature luxury with revolutionary design at a wonderfully unique location, creating an unprecedented experience that will forever change the global hospitality landscape.

Individually designed to best reflect both modern elegance and the unique features of quarry landscape, all 336 rooms and suites provide ample, luxury living spaces with spectacular views of waterfalls and the surrounding cliffs. The stunning underwater loft offers two awe-inspiring levels: the landing deck at water level houses the outdoor terrace and bedroom, whilst the underwater living room are encased within a turquoise aquarium where guests will be surrounded by schools of fish swim by. Furthermore, all hotel rooms on the bottom floor are provided with around-the-clock butler service.