Interview with Mr. Eric Kee, General Manager of Mandarin Oriental, Sanya
As one of the most sought-after luxury hotels in Hainan, Mandarin Oriental, Sanya boasts sheer luxury and refined elegance. Enjoying the tranquility of a secluded 1.2 km nationally-protected coral bay and nestled amongst verdant tropical blooms, the resort is a hidden gem. As General Manager of the hotel, Eric Kee has 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry. He first joined Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group in 1996, and worked with several hotel groups in China, Malaysia, Macau and Japan, accumulating rich industry experience and forming his distinctive hotel operational and management style. With Hainan in the process of building its medical tourism industrial zone, SpaChina interviewed Eric.
How does Mandarin Oriental, Sanya differ from other hotels in Hainan?
Combining contemporary design with laid-back beach chic, Mandarin Oriental, Sanya is an idyllic luxury hotel on Hainan Island. With a tropical setting, acclaimed dining and a wonderful spa, the hotel offers luxury infused with effortless style.
At Mandarin Oriental, Sanya, we launched a new wellness concept which consists of five elements: Nourishment, Movement, Connections, Stillness, and Wellbeing. We combine this new wellness concept with the favorable natural elements, and collaborated with wellness consultants in different sectors, such as acclaimed French naturopath Ms. Liliane Israel and famous Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner Doctor Wu, Shihua, etc, to offer guests a relaxed, recharged and rejuvenated vacation experience and a healthy lifestyle that can be incorporated into daily life.
What are the highlights of the Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Sanya?
At Mandarin Oriental, spa is not just about pampering but it also encompasses wellness. As the only Traditional Chinese Medicine licensed resort on the island. The experienced residential TCM doctor, has designed a wide range of treatments in accordance with guests’ different requirements, including sleep relief, moxibustion, cupping, acupuncture, traditional bone setting, and seasonal wellness tea. And the ever popular Hainan Hidden Secret treatment will enable guests to experience the art of Sanya culture.
In addition to the families travel with kids, a series of parent-kid family spa and wellness activities are underway, such as mother-daughter nail manicure, family spa treatment, coral bay snorkeling, kayaking race, funny parent-kid yoga, family Shaolin Kung Fu class and Zen calligraphy. These services will ensure them to take away fond and unforgettable memories.
Normally, what kind of holiday and hotel experiences are travelers in Hainan seeking?
Nowadays, Sanya has become one of the tourism destinations both in China and worldwide. Of course, guests’ travelling requirements are changing from simply accommodation to lifestyle, intelligence, interaction and local arts and cultural experiences, exploration of unique dining experience and Hainan specialities, wellness and wellbeing benefit programme.
Of course, with fast-paced lifestyles and constantly increasing life and work pressures, health and wellness are becoming a pursuit of more and more travelers. Places with favorable natural scenes are becoming ideal choices and spa treatments combined with TCM elements are becoming increasingly popular.
How will Hainan’s development as a medical tourism industrial zone influence the local hospitality industry?
With the development of China’s national medical tourism industrial zone, I believe the concerning departments will invest more in the biological and low-carbon economy and Hainan will gradually develop into a medical and wellness destination, which will attract more and more potential guests to Hainan.
For the hospitality industry, this is both a new opportunity and a challenge. In Hainan, hotels will need to not only offer a relaxed vacation experience, but also effective wellness experiences. At Mandarin Oriental, Sanya, we have infused the resort’s natural healing elements and idyllic surroundings into different themes of wellness meeting options for health conscious business executive. Guests can choose from “detox”, “vitality”, and “wellbeing” meeting packages. And our innovative chef team has also developed fresh and healthy juices with different wellness benefits and light gourmet delicacies to replace the traditional coffee tea break.
To become a really great medical tourism destination, in which aspects do you think Hainan still needs to improve?
Hainan has already gained nine breakthrough preferential policies from the central government, which offers a great impetus for Hainan’s development of medical tourism destination. To further develop Hainan into a world-class medical tourism destination, we need to pro-actively explore the integration of medical health and tourism products and make full use of Hainan’s rich tourism resources. Thus it’s important to learn about new tourism trends and develop diversified medical tourism products to meet different guests’ requirements.
Which aspects of Hainan impress you most?
I arrived at Sanya in May 2016. I am quite impressed with this seashore city, where natural scenes like mountains and oceans are always in front of your eyes. I love Nature, and Hainan Island, which is covered in tropical gardens, is a great place to explore.