HANGZHOU, China – With this year’s G20 Summit slated for September 4 and 5, Hangzhou’s vibrant history and flourishing economy are taking center stage as the city prepares to host talks among leaders of the world’s largest economies. World leaders will convene for the Summit in Hangzhou in just a few days; in addition, the city has been selected as host city to the 2022 Asian Games.
These global events arriving in Hangzhou have also been the catalyst for a series of upgrades to the city’s infrastructure and tourism attractions. The construction of new meeting spaces and conference centers prompted the addition of an expressway between the city’s urban area in development and Xixi National Wetland Park on the west side of Hangzhou.
In the city’s center, Hangzhou’s iconic West Lake beckons visitors as a landmark revered by authors, poets and other influential figures of centuries past. Today, the sprawling freshwater lake serves as a connection between the city’s ancient beauty and its position as a keeper of China’s contemporary culture. Impression West Lake, the crown jewel among the city’s live artistic performances, will reopen soon following a series of upgrades. The show features hundreds of actors performing live on a stage set three centimeters below the water, creating the enchanting appearance of performers gliding atop West Lake’s glassy waters.
The city’s increasing prominence as a destination for global events is matched by a boom in hotel development. Six new properties will bring an additional 1,450 rooms to the city before the end of 2016, including the Sheraton Grand Hangzhou Binjiang Hotel (opened June 20) and the Hangzhou Marriott Hotel Qianjiang. These high-end lodging developments are further expanding the city’s already-robust luxury hotel offerings, with more than 20 five-star properties available citywide.
North American travelers will find the city more accessible than ever before with the launch of the United States’ first direct flights to Hangzhou in July. United Airlines began its direct service between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport (HGH) on July 13, operating flights three times weekly between the destinations.