West Coast New Area

Hyatt Regency Qingdao captures local essence

By Erik Nilsson | (China Daily) | 2017-12-15

The Hyatt Regency Qingdao's location makes the hotel ideal for visitors either for business or leisure, as it stands in the commercial heart of downtown Laoshan district and in proximity to Shilaoren Beach, a poplar tourist destination in the coastal city in Shandong province.

The hotel in East China is near Qingdao's airport and major exhibition center, as well as the Polar Ice World amusement park and Laoshan Mountain, which is hailed as the cradle of Taoism - a peak where geology and geomancy conjure a unique allure.

In addition to its convenient location, the modern hotel has much more to offer.

Many of its 439 guestrooms offer beach views - as does the Regency Club lounge's private terrace on the 21st floor, where guests can enjoy breakfast as they watch whitecaps wash over golden sands.

The property offers facilities for weddings, spa treatments and major meetings.

The Hyatt Regency Qingdao hosts five concept restaurants and bars, offering a cornucopia of contemporary and traditional cuisine from around the region and afar.

About a fifth of its eateries' offerings feature local tastes, while the rest hail from around the country and continent.

"Everything goes into the pot," executive chef Martin Aw Yong said, commenting on the local Lu cuisine, which is one of eight classic cooking styles in China named after the abbreviation of the province's name.

"It's a natural taste, based on the natural flavors of the ingredients. Many dishes are slowly cooked to bring the juices out... We use the Shandong style of cooking but with more refined products."

For instance, the restaurant buys free-range farm chickens and clams from Hongdao.

The local cuisine is distinctively flavored - it is slightly salty but otherwise lightly seasoned.

The hotel's Dong Hai 88 specializes in Lu cuisine, especially seafood, with specialties from elsewhere, such as authentic Peking duck and Cantonese delicacies.

With such adornments as fishtail-shaped lanterns popular among locals, the decor is a salute to a history of settlement in Qingdao and local fishing conventions.

Diners can enjoy ocean views from an outdoor terrace overlooking Shilaoren Beach.

Beba is a portmanteau of barbecue and bar - and lives up to its name.

Visitors can enjoy DIY experiences with pan-Asian barbecue options at the table, washed down with homemade craft beer. The Hyatt Regency Qingdao is one of the few hotels in the city that brews its own beer.

"Some people said it was a bad idea, since Qingdao is known for its (major) beer (brands)," Aw Yong said.

The city's Tsingtao brand is one of the world's biggest beer producers, with a history that spans more than a century.

"But our beer has been popular."

The restaurant's food is a fusion of Vietnamese, Thai and Malaysian influences, and also borrows features from Aw Yong's home country Singapore, as the city-state is itself a melting pot of regional cuisine.

Beba also offers such specialties as Asian-style suckling pig and double-cooked lamb leg, plus a variety of select steaks.

Southeast Asian dishes include spicy salads and durian pudding.

The casual-dining buffet restaurant Market Cafe takes its namesake from its medley of dishes from a variety of origins.

"It's a bit like a marketplace for tasting different cuisines," Aw Yong said.

Guests can sample the flavors of diverse offerings from various origins served from interactive, open kitchens. The lobby's Bay Lounge also offers artisanal beverages and snacks, alongside indoor views of the shoreline.