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Tibet opens its first five-star hotel

  • Tourists visiting Tibet are probably considered to be hardier than most.But now, the Chinese Government has decided a little luxury is in order and has opened the doors of the country's first five-star hotel - at 12,000 feet above sea level. The design of the St Regis Lhasa is inspired by a nearby and still active monastery and is the highest altitude hotel in the world. It is so high in fact each room is fitted with a tank of oxygen just in case guests feel they need a few extra breaths, and all the food and daily supplies have to be flown in. The 150-suite hotel, which also has 12 private villas, is in the capital Lhasa and heralds the start of a new era of tourism in the region. It also boasts a spa, swimming pool, wine bar and restaurants. Locals say demand for luxury travel in Tibet is on the rise and other similar five-star hotels and boutique hotels are opening their doors, including one in the 300-year-old Jokhang Temple. Beijing hopes to reel in 15million tourists by 2015 and numbers are already expected to exceed 300,000 in 2011. Tourism is now responsible for almost 15 per cent of Tibet's economy. The sacred 1419 Sera Monastry is a major pull for tourists coming to Lhasa and is considered a significant relic in the nation's history. Wang Songping, deputy head of the Tibetan Tourist Bureau told the Daily Telegraph: 'This hotel has filled a gap in the market for high-end travellers and ends Tibet's history of having no luxury hotels.'