Most of my “geography of China” knowledge comes from reading about new chain hotels built over the past few years. I’d love to visit China, but that opportunity has not played out for me yet.
My latest geography lesson for China is based on the newly opened Starwood ski resorts at Changbaishan with both Westin and Sheraton brand hotels.
Here are the basic facts about the Changbaishan, China region:
- Chang Bai Shan means “eternally white mountain” and the mountain also known as Baekdu Mountain at 9,003 ft. is the tallest peak in northeastern China and the Korean Peninsula.
- Chang Bai Shan is a volcano caldera with a crater lake called Tianchi or “Heaven Lake” and is located in the Changbai Mountain Range separating China from North Korea and Russia. One of the interesting tips I read for the region is to take a local guide when exploring the nature reserve area since there are few signs marking the border with North Korea and you don’t want to find yourself on the wrong side of that line.
- Changbiashan Nature Reserve was established in 1960 is a UNESCO biosphere reserve.
- This mountain area is historically sacred to both Koreans and Chinese.
- China’s largest ice skating training center is located in this area. The ski area has 43 runs that can accommodate 8,000 skiers.
Photo credit: wikipedia Baitou Mountain
Google Maps: Changbaishan, China
Westin Changbaishan Resort and Sheraton Changbaishan Resort
These newly opened resorts are located adjacent to one another at the slopes of the Changbai Mountains in a region famous for powdery snow. These two hotels are the only Starwood ski resorts in China where Starwood now has 103 hotels open and another 100 hotels in the pipeline.
The nearest airport is Changbaishan Airport (NBS) located about 20 minutes from the Starwood Resorts.
Westin Changbaishan Resort, SPG category 3 hotel
Westin Changbaishan Resort has 262 guestrooms, Facilities include a Westin Executive Club Lounge, fitness room, spa and indoor heated pool. Guests can ski in and out directly from the lobby of the hotel.
Westin Changbaishan Resort lobby. Photo Credit: Starwood Hotels
Apparently summer is short here with a season from June/July to September where hiking and golf are the main activities. Heaven Lake is about 30 km from the resort.
Flexible Rates for a standard room in September 2012 are around 2,000 CNY or about USD$300. Suites are about USD$600 per night. Rates in December 2012 are similar.
Westin Changbaishan indoor pool. Photo credit: Starwood Hotels
Westin Changbaishan Dining
With an interactive cooking show on display, Seasonal Tastes is the hotel’s signature restaurant. Its international fare is inspired by color, freshness, and flair. Maru, the first Korean restaurant in Starwood branded hotels, spices things up with hearty, tantalizing cuisine.
Sheraton Changbaishan Resort, SPG Category 2 hotel.
The adjacent Sheraton Changbaishan Resorthas 297 guest rooms and a Sheraton Club Lounge.
Sheraton Changbaishan Resort lobby. Photo Credit: Starwood Hotels.
The two Starwood Resorts are joined by a bridge and guests of either hotel can use facilities at both resorts.
Sample rates at Sheraton Changbaishan for September and December range from 1,300 to 1,400 CYN for a standard room with flexible cancellation. There is a 15% tax and the room rate is about USD$200 to $235 all in.
A 5-night stay on points will cost from 18,000 to 20,000 Starpoints; no 5th night free at category 2 hotels.
These two Starwood Resorts at Changbaishan will give a redemption value in the $40 to $50 per 1,000 points range. These resorts are a great value for burning Starpoints.
Changbaishan on my Bucket List
After my recent trip to Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, the idea of seeing a crater lake in China places Changbaishan on my bucket list of travel destinations.
One of the aspects I enjoy about being a loyalty traveler is the fact that chain hotels put places to visit around the world into my mind that I might have never considered otherwise.
Changbaishan seems to be one of those special places to visit.
Loyalty Traveler original link: http://loyaltytraveler.boardingarea.com/2012/08/01/changbaishan-starwood-ski-resorts-in-china/
Ric Garrido, writer and content owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.