Luxury villas, an authentic Chinese restaurant, walking distance to the Shuiguan Great Wall and much more. Commune by the Great Wall, in the Unbound Collection by Hyatt makes for a great getaway in Beijing’s picturesque Yanqing district. The site officially opened on April 17, 2021. That’s caught up with the new general manager, Singaporean native Ivan Seet, to learn more about the resort.
You recently became the new general manager at Commune by the Great Wall, in the Unbound Collection by Hyatt. Congratulations on your new position! Can you tell us about your previous experience in the hotel industry?
I started in the hotel industry in Singapore back in 2002. I got into hospitality by chance after attending a workforce development fair. That gave me some exposure to hospitality and I just thought: “Why not give it a shot?”
I started in sales and marketing in 2002 and then moved to Beijing at the age of 30. I’ve been here eight years and now Beijing is a second home for me. The hospitality industry in China is particularly exciting because the speed of progression is so much faster than in somewhere like Singapore. Every day brings something different.
I’ve had experience with other brands here in Beijing such as Shangri-La but I have worked at Hyatt for the past six years.
Once the hotel opens, what can guests expect to experience there that they can’t experience at other 5-star hotels and villas?
Commune by the Great Wall is now managed by The Unbound Collection by Hyatt. One of the most unique things that guests can experience here is the location of the property. There aren’t many properties from which guests can get such a good view of the Great Wall of China.
What kinds of cuisine can guests expect to find?
In our restaurants, we want to showcase cuisine from northern China. Guests can experience a range of gourmet food primarily from northern China because we want to reflect the location of the hotel. We hope that with such a creative and comforting cuisine, we can create a “home away from home” for our guests.
Other than the living areas and restaurants, what other facilities are available at the property?
Another unique aspect about the hotel is our outdoor pool, something you won’t find in a lot of other places in northern China given the cold weather conditions. Attached to the pool, there is also a poolside cafe and bar.
We are also very much a family-oriented property. With this in mind, we have created a ‘Kid’s COMMUNE,’ where we have lots of different activities for children. Parents can go and enjoy spa treatment while the kids can take part in exciting activities run by professionals. Many of the activities are outdoor activities, such as camping, star-gazing and many more.
Media reports have suggested that as early as August, travel between China and the foreign countries could resume. Will the domestic market continue to be a focus throughout 2021? How about the international market?
From our point of view, we are confident in the COVID-19-control measures implemented here in China. Regarding the return of international travelers, we expect that to happen sometime before the end of this year. This will lead nicely to 2022 and the Beijing Winter Olympics.
However, after we open our doors on April 17, we will likely be focused solely on domestic travelers for some time. This will likely include travelers from Beijing as well as from neighboring cities.
With the opening of the borders and the arrival of the Winter Olympics, we will then start to focus more on the international market. Having the Shuiguan Great Wall right next to our hotel makes us very attractive to international travelers. Visiting the Great Wall is often a must-do for overseas travelers. You could even say that you haven’t really been to China if you haven’t visited the Great Wall!
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
[All images via Commune by the Great Wall]