The Sofitel Legend People

By Chris C., May 9 2014
The Sofitel Legend People

The Sofitel Legend People’s Grand Hotel in Xi’an is now open following an extensive transformation of The People’s Grand Hotel.

As the first hotel in China to bear the ultra-luxe Sofitel Legend family, the property’s lofty ceilings 71 guest rooms and suites afford guests the brand’s sophisticated French pampering touches, including Hermès toiletries and French-designed floral arrangements.

Other luxuries available to guests include a personalised butler service from the moment of arrival, a private museum and a health club, swimming pool and spa.

The hotel lobby, where you'll meet your butler
The hotel lobby, where you'll meet your butler

The People’s Grand Hotel Xi’an is part of Renmin Square – an extensive hotel complex located within a 40,000 m² landscaped garden.

Ideally located inside the Ming Dynasty city walls at the heart of historic Xi’an, the hotel is only 15 minutes’ walk to the world’s first museum, the Forest of Steles or to the colourful Moslem quarter where traders have flourished in the spice-laden air for many centuries.

Acknowledged as the world’s finest city in its heyday, Xi’an was China’s capital across 13 dynasties, and today it’s a vibrant centre for education, high technology and tourism.

Long before the discovery of the Terracotta Army in 1974, Xi’an was already an important cultural destination for visitors eager to experience the picturesque city wall, along with the Big Goose Pagoda and the repository of sacred manuscripts.

With an authentic Italian restaurant on-site and the Louis XIII Bar on the top floor, the 1953-built hotel originally opened as the State Guesthouse, designed by Hong Qing: Chief Architect of the Northwest Institute of Architectural Design.

The Louis XIII bar
The Louis XIII bar

His original creation saw the inclusion of an extensive garden – formerly part of the grounds of an imperial palace – and a number of French touches, including fleur-de-lis (stylised lily) as a recurring motif.

The property affords guests an undercover walkway between the nearby Convention Centre and Grand Theatre, with award-winning project designer Joe Cheng, chairman and CEO of Hong Kong-based Cheng Chung Designs, invited to tackle the hotel’s modernisation.

One of the hotel's modern Imperial Suites
One of the hotel's modern Imperial Suites

“Giving a heritage hotel a new lease of life is all about details and the distinct story that each location tells,” he says of his approach to the renovation of The People’s Grand Hotel Xi’an.

For him, this meant paying attention to ceiling mouldings and covings with fleur-de-Lis motifs and Art Deco styling of the front entrance and Lobby, along with creating the appropriate ambience in its guestrooms and public areas.

Since its opening in 1953, The People’s Grand Hotel Xi’an has played a special role in the city’s history – this is where visiting Chinese leaders, including the late Premier Zhou Enlai and Marshal Chen Yi stayed, as did former premier Zhu Rongji.

The guestbook has been signed by heads of state including French President François Mitterrand, royalty from Europe and Asia, captains of industry and international VIPs like Henry Kissinger.

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

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