Trip Advisor 2013 Awards
What it means for Linden Centre to be selected as a Top Luxury Hotel
Brian Linden shares his thoughts:
The Linden Centre was proud to be selected yesterday by TripAdvisor.com as one of China’s Top 25 Luxury Hotels and Top 25 Service Hotels. This is again such a great honor. I am particularly proud of the Service award because it reflects the strength of our Centre’s team. The Centre is made up of nearly 40 Chinese and Western colleagues. What attracts this talent to the small village of Xizhou is a passion for the culture, for preserving the stories of the past and our architectural heritage. Unlike other hotels on the list, we are made up of people who truly have made a sacrifice to be here. There are no bars, cafes, boutique shops in Xizhou. Our staff live alongside the local villagers, shop in the local markets, interact with our neighbors. Xizhou is not a Lijiang/Shuhe, Zhouzhuang or Yangshuo where bars are 100 meters away. Not only does this lack of outside nighttime entertainment influence the responses from the typical tourist- most guests like easy access to bars, K-TVs, and foot massage parlors- it makes it harder to convince outside staff to move to a place like Xizhou. This is what makes our team so special. They are part of our greater story of preservation and cultural interaction. I have traveled and lived in over 85 countries and have yet to find a platform that offers such close and non-staged interaction with the local community. We thank TripAdvisor for this wonderful award, and more importantly hold up our team again as a shining example of dedication to China’s sustainable development and preservation!
While greatly honored to be listed as the seventh most Luxurious Hotel in China/Hong Kong (too bad we fell one position behind the Shanghai Waldorf Astoria!), I again feel that I must offer a different definition of luxury, and how this concept applies to the Linden Centre model. First of all, we are far from luxurious in the sense of Italian sofas, 60 inch flat-screen TVs, marble bathtubs, and USD1000 spa treatments. This was never our intention, nor could we, as a couple investing in a model of passion and preservation, ever have afforded to incorporate such ‘luxuries’. Instead, our luxury is providing guests with a truly indigenous cultural experience. This experience is based in a Chinese National Relic, something that we have gained unprecedented access to as a foreign couple. Our luxury is founded on giving guests an unadulterated, non-staged travel experience. Our luxury is built by our daily interactions with the local community, our help with the local villagers, our commitment to being a sustainable component of the greater region. Our luxury is not based on recreating the past, destroying buildings and patrimony only to repackage it to make it more widely accepted to the larger tourist market. We have hosted government leaders, Nobel Prize winners, renowned artists, writers and entertainers. Almost universally they echo this same feeling- “We do not travel just to have the same comforts of our homes in New York, Paris or Shanghai. We travel to gain access to what is unique, what is different.” This is our luxury. We provide guests with a team of dedicated professionals, not Swiss Hotel trained robots, but passionate locals and foreigners. We are all here to ensure that we make the smallest cultural interference in our village while providing guests with spontaneous and non-staged tastes of a culture that has changed little in hundreds of years. That is our ‘luxury’ and we believe that it is the greatest luxury there is in travel!