Lhasa is known as the roof of the world and the access to the city has not been easy so far. But the Chinese government is determined to change all that in order to consolidate its mandate to rule over Tibet. No doubt, they have brought economic prosperity to the region and have been trying to get more tourists to the city to add to the economic boom. To pamper the high end luxury traveler the first ever five-star luxury hotel in Tibet has been opened. The St. Regis Lhasa has a total of 150 suites and 12 villas providing the most luxurious accommodation.
The guests arriving at the Lhasa airport are driven to the hotel in a Mercedes-Benz limousine to the Lhasa resort. It takes a while for the guests to acclimatize to the atmosphere at the 12,000 feet altitude. Personal butlers help them settle down and relax. They recommend that the guests should not take a shower on the first day at Lhasa as the Chinese believe that hot water opens up blood vessels and sucks oxygen away from the brain. To be on the safe side the hotel has provided tanks of oxygen in every room.
The new hotel at Lhasa is owned by the same group which owns the Lanesborough in London. The hotel boasts of a spa, a swimming pool and a restaurant that serves Cantonese and Sichuan delicacies, including yak meat. The wine list has hundreds of bottles that have been specially flown in including Chateau Lafite-Rothschild. Looking at the growing tourism potential of Tibet four more five star properties are being developed including a Shangri-La and an Intercontinental. The former home of Ling Rinpoche, a tutor to the 13th Dalai Lama in the 19th century, has been turned into a boutique hotel. A luxury train service to Tibet is being introduced this summer with tickets costing as much as £6,000 a head.