Xian - People’s Hotel

1970s-two pagegirls at people's grand hotel xian

Charming, friendly, unexpected: Chinese hotel advertising in the 1960s

Speech by Andreas Augustin at the

Opening ceremony of the PEOPL’S GRAND HOTEL XIAN

China on 3. September 2014

The most famous hotels in the world is a global organisation, based in Vienna, Austria, listing and researching all grand hotels in the world. Over 50 books have been published about individual famous hotels.
The Renmin Dasha family is reunited.
The People’s Grand Hotel Xian must be seen within the context of the entire Renmin Dasha complex. No hotel would exist today without the other. The People’s Grand Hotel, also referred to as Building Number One, in the heart of the entire complex, has been missing for many years, like a father missing from the family’s Sunday table for too long.
Before it closed, it was sometimes heavily secured by grim looking guards, and it has earned itself a reputation of a government hotel, not accessible to the ordinary man from the street. Today its two mighty wings around the centre are stretched out like arms, wide open, welcoming travellers from all over the world.
The hotel is the brightest star in the world of Chinese hospitality, it is a lsquo;Legend’ and it has been immediately accepted into the global 440 hotels comprising family of The Most Famous Hotels in the World®.
In the West we like to call famous historic hotels ‘Grand Old Ladies’. May be because they can develop striking attitudes, or because they are larger-than-life personalities, or simply … because they are so expensive.
在西方,我们称著名且蕴含丰厚历史的酒店为“老佛爷”,或许是因为她们凸显的个性, 或许是因为他们高贵的气质,或许干脆就是因为他们昂贵的身价。
This grand old lady has developed all these attitudes, and more. It has witnessed history, hosted the most famous personalities on Earth and has been the venue for important meetings.
I have been referring to the father of a family. We have a nice saying in Austria, which goes like that: success has many fathers, defeat is an orphan.
The People’s Grand Hotel Xian will be a great success, because it has so many fathers.  
When we visited the People’s Hotel Xian for the first time in September 2013, it was a hollow shell, full of workers, noise and dust. One of the fathers, Pierre Henrichs, manager at the hotel today, took us around the construction site, sharing the visions of Accor. He explained everything so passionate, that - before our eyes - an empty space became a sizzling hot pizza-oven and a round empty space a luxurious lobby.
因为有多位父亲,所以西安索菲特传奇酒店的成功是不言而喻的。当我们在2013年9月首次参观酒店时,酒店还是一片施工场景,人声嘈杂、尘土飞扬, 作业人员随处可见。西安索菲特传奇酒店经理亨利希父亲带领我们参观现场,和我们分享雅高集团的愿景,满怀激情地向我们介绍了每一个区域,我眼前浮现出吐着 火苗的披萨炉,和奢华富丽的大堂。

stephen antram and andreas augustin at peoples grand hotel xian
General Manager Stephen Antram and Andreas Augustin discover historic table ware, packed in straw baskets, at the hotel’s store, which is today on display at the museum.

Stephen Antram, the general manager, shared with us his visions of luxury, Michel Molliet recalled his early efforts to turn the sleepy old People’s Hotel into a grand hotel. It is that sort of imagination that inspires, encourages and drives hotel projects like this.

chairman hui and andreas augustin peoples grand hotel xian
At the Gardens of the Grand Hotel: Chairman Hui introduces us to the treasures of the gardens.

Renmin Dasha chairman Mr Hui (Feng Nian) took us through the gardens. With the sparkling eyes of a true lover of details he introduced me to a 1200 years old tree in the courtyard, before he went on to show me the Olive trees planted from seeds presented to the hotel by Chou En Lai some 50 years ago. It is the concentration on details, which makes all the difference.

Our organisation The Most Famous Hotels in the World®  was invited to bring the hotel’s history to life. We dug deep and found lots. My wife Carola, who heads the history department (HA! finally we have a mother of success), was very impressed by the hotel’s archives, perfectly kept from the 1950s, with photo albums and documents well-preserved.
我们有幸应邀来再现西安索菲特传奇酒店的历史。经过深入的调研,我们挖掘了很多有价值的信息。我负责历史部分的妻子Carola, (终于西安索菲特传奇酒店有了一位母亲)仍旧对酒店档案馆保存完好的1953年的资料文献以及照片记忆犹新。
Well, you might ask yourself: what’s so special at this hotel? Where is the benefit to be a famous hotel? What’s all the fuss about its history?
The answer is simple: History can not be bought, it must be earned. It is this history that sets the most famous hotels in the world apart from all the others. It is their history, this element of storytelling, that makes all the difference. The idea to be sleeping in the same hotel like a Crown prince or a famous movie star - maybe even at the same time - is simply exciting.
Last but not least, let me mention the most important factor in the game: after building a hotel you have to find the right people who drive your idea. The people at the front. The ‘first impressions’. Your ambassadors.
酒店建成后,最重要的是找到对的人来将酒店的理念付诸实践。他们就是所有工作在一线的员工,你们的酒店大使 。   

xian peoples grand hotel ambassadors
The Ambassadors

While researching and producing our book and the Museum, we have spent some weeks at the People’s Grand Hotel. I say this with pride because it is one of the privileges of our mission to sometimes be able to witness history in the making.
We have found people full of fond memories of days gone by, historians who helped us with our work, and most important, we have found today’s team of wonderful young and inspired people who act as ‘ambassadors’ of the hotel. They have made this hotel our home in China, far away from home. They treated us as if we were Crown princes or movie stars ourselves, while we are, in fact, only humble servants in a wonderful and exciting industry.
在调研中,我们发现人们充满了对过往的美好回忆, 例如协助我们的历史学家,更重要的是我们发现西安索菲特传奇酒店“现任的”团队—一群年轻的,充满活力和灵感的“酒店大使们”。他们让我们感到宾至如归, 他们像接待王储和明星般照顾我们,而事实上我们只是这个美妙,令人兴奋的酒店行业卑微的仆人。
We look with great pride at the achievement, accomplished by all these fathers and mothers, who created a grand hotel and – in fact – continued a LEGEND.
You see, the family is reunited.

Translation: Ms Luann Li