UrCove: Hyatt’s Newest Hotel Brand In China

Filed Under: Hotels, Hyatt

UrCove is Hyatt’s newest hotel brand, and the first property of the group will be opening in Shanghai this fall.

What is Hyatt’s new UrCove brand?

In early 2019 I wrote about how Hyatt is forming a new strategic joint venture with Homeinns Hotel Group in China.

The intent of this new joint venture is to take advantage of Hyatt’s global experience in premium hospitality, and Homeinns’ scale as one of China’s largest hotel groups. This group is intended to be targeted mostly at the domestic Chinese market, rather than at international travelers coming to China.

Here’s how Hyatt describes the concept:

Known by the Chinese name “Yifei,” meaning escape or harbor, UrCove hotels blend comfort and convenience—a brand uniquely created for the Chinese traveler looking for a sense of home during their journey.

When this joint venture was first announced it wasn’t entirely clear to what extent these properties would be integrated into World of Hyatt. However, we now have a sense of this. This new hotel group will be called UrCove, and the first UrCove property will open in Shanghai. As of now that’s scheduled to happen on October 1, 2020.

UrCove Shanghai Jing’an basics

The first UrCove property is now bookable for arrivals as of October 1, 2020. The hotel will feature 265 rooms, a lobby bar, an all-day dining restaurant, a 24-hour fitness center, and meeting rooms.

Rates at the hotel start at under 600CNY (~85USD) per night as of now.

Looking at the renderings of the hotel, I can’t help but feel like the brand just looks extremely generic. The interior actually looks reasonably nice, but it still very much seems to lack an identity.

Bottom line

UrCove is the name of Hyatt’s new joint venture hotel group in China. On the plus side, I’m happy to see that UrCove will be fully participating in World of Hyatt, meaning that members will have a great new option for earning and redeeming points.

However, I can’t help but feel like the brand is cookie cutter. Then again, I’m not the target market for this, since it’s squarely targeted at the domestic Chinese tourism segment.

What do you make of Hyatt’s new UrCove brand?

  1. At $85 USD in a major city, most other brands at that price range are pretty “cookie cutter” too.

  2. It looks nice. Don’t understand the name, pronounced like yer-cove?

    Anyways, would stay if needed, looks nice and a good rate, but nothing to get excited about.

  3. As the article suggests, this would be of greatest interest to a budget-conscious Chinese domestic tourist or businessperson who was specifically interested in staying in this part of town. There isn’t a huge amount of stuff in the area that would be of great interest to the average tourist.

    I suggest Hyatt aficianados who are visiting Shanghai for the first time stay at the Hyatt on the Bund on the Puxi (west) side of the river. If you are a Globalist (and even if you aren’t) it is one of the world’s great hotels. The Hyatt on the Bund offers jaw-dropping views of Shanghai’s Lujiazui skyscraper district from its rooms and awesome club. The hotel is just steps away from Shanghai’s awesome pedestrian Bund, which now extends almost 20 km south along the river. It is a wonderful run or walk and as you head south, passing gleaming skyscrapers, huge bridges, ever-older industrial structures, and riverfront wildlife and wetlands, it is like a walk back in time.

    The Park Hyatt in the “bottle opener” building in Lujiazui is also worth a stay: it’s what I imagine hotels 50 years in the future will feel like, sleek and minimalist.

    Neither of these options are *that* much more expensive than this budget hotel in the boonies of the Jing’an district.

    Now, if we poor Americans could only get to Shanghai. My friends in the city are now spending time at restaurants, bars, meet-ups and thoroughly enjoying life, while America still flails and burns.

  4. @Kendor
    Yes, your friends in PRC are enjoying life in a Country that does not treasure life, a Country that burned thousands of corpses daily just to avoid warning the world they a were unleashing a killer pandemic.
    This was while the PRC signed deals with the USA that had a pandemic escape clause, how is that for motive?
    Your friends should enjoy life till their number is up.

  5. A previous post on this issue stressed that “poor Americans could only get to Shanghai. My friends in the city are now spending time at restaurants, bars, meet-ups and thoroughly enjoying life, while America still flails and burns.”
    We should all understand that in every situation there are pros and cons. if a person wants to live someplace they must consider all the pros and cons.

  6. @Lucky – It honestly looks like some of the best and internationally-located Hyatt Places, with some new finishes to change it up. Other than that, not so so different, don’t you think?

  7. I agree with Kendor on the Hyatt on the Bund. The property is very nice and the location and views are fantastic. Typically (if not always) cheaper than the Park, Grand and Andaz, it’s a no-brainer for Hyatt aficionados, in my opinion. I also stayed at the Hyatt Regency Global Harbor once. It’s fairly far from the main tourist areas, but it sits above a metro stop and it’s attached to a large, nicely appointed mall, so it’s not a bad option if one wants to save a few bucks more.

    I’m so looking forward to traveling again one day. Stay healthy and keep flattening the curve! 🙂

  8. @Kendor and @MFK, agree with Hyatt on the Bund (actually, a Grand Hyatt). Rate is running at about $120 or so nowadays. One other note: do it now, in a year or two, that view will be gone forever. There is a giant construction going up right in front of the hotel which will block the view once completed.

  9. Totally agree on “Hyatt on the Bund”. It is my “Go to hotel” in Shanghai. The Executive Lounge is so much better than the Grand Club across the river at the Grand Hyatt.

    I had a corner suite last time I was there and the room had an almost 180 degree of the river and Puxi.

  10. @Shangster: You are mistaken about the Hyatt on the Bund’s epic view. It is not going away. The congenial manager of the hotel, Vladimir, chats with me every time I stay. I asked him about the construction project, which started Spring 2019. The new construction is to be a convention center, and it will not be any taller than the buildings it replaces. The price of the rooms at the Hyatt on the Bund may go up, but that’s as bad as it will get. 🙂

    HOTB is exceptionally well-managed: it plugs into a hospitality college/university that harkens from China’s Fujian Province, and many trainees come in on internships. From day one they are already quite expert in terms of service.

    Many of the HOTB’s former employees have become my good friends over time. Take time to chat them up, especially in the third-floor club. Some of the better chefs in Shanghai consider the expensive Chinese restaurant in its lobby “Xindalu” one of the best “Chinese” restaurant in Shanghai. Their rendition of Beijing Duck is quite respectable, and I have a weakness for their $20 dessert plate with ambient C02 fog provided by a base of dry ice.

    Whenever China opens up again we look forward to spending a month or so at the HOTB. Some people like to lounge on a boring beach in the Maldives, our happy place is the Hyatt on the Bund in Shanghai. 🙂

  11. I think you need to look at the finer details. If they really will scale this throughout China then a cookie-cutter approach is necessary. I think this is meant to compete with Courtyard Marriott or Fairfield Marriott in China because compared to in the US or EU, Courtyards in China are much nicer with a gym, restaurant, bar, executive lounge, and sometimes a pool.

    I can’t help but notice that they’ve chosen one of the most central districts of one of the most international cities in China, so this doesn’t necessarily resemble the success of the brand. I also can’t help but notice the relatively expensive price. I’m not saying that $85 or so is expensive for this type of brand, but one has to consider the price of relative competition. Fairfield by Marriott which also has a small gym, lounge, and includes breakfast, as well as a bar in Shanghai is about half the price depending on the night.

    As there are relatively few Fairfields in China, at least at the start this may be a good comparison. It also may be Hyatt’s way of getting into more strategic locations as many Marriott related properties are much better located than Hyatt and Hilton, etc.

    May be this is Home Inn’s way to have a more upscale competitive product, which is still low level for the big groups. Perhaps their “Home Inn Plus” isn’t doing as well as the expected. I wonder if you are a loyalty member of Home Inn, if you would be able to earn and redeem for this brand too.

    Although I am not loyal to Hyatt, I would consider staying there after it opens to report back based on my experience.

  12. @Lucky – isn’t the whole point of hotel chains to be generic, I.e. consistent? I honestly can’t recall any major chain hotel making any sort of impression. Whether it’s Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, Radisson, whatever. I have stayed at some rather unimpressive properties though: Holiday Inn Basildon, Scandic Skøyen & Thon Orion. If you want to stay at a memorable place then avoid the big chains.

  13. @kendor

    I never stayed on Hyatt on the Bund as I am not a hyatt guy but I usually stayed in Waldorf or Peninsula in Shanghai. They have great view of the bund and great amenities as well. Price is also very reasonable. China luxury hotel market is so affordable that with FHR perks you sometime get more than what you pay for (esp in smaller cities). Even better deal than Vegas. Shanghai also has one of the most FHR properties behind NYC, London and perhaps HK i believe.

    I’ve also stayed at PH for a week and it is also absolutely lovely but lujiazui isn’t the best area for tourist. But the height itself is a pure excitement and PH minimalist design is obv flawless.

  14. If you can ever stay at Hyatt on the bund for $120 that is a steal.

    If US tourists are ever allowed back in China there is an 8 sky scraper complex in Chongqing called raffles city Chongqing. There is a 5 star hotel inside it for $120 a night.

  15. @D3kingg I have stayed at the Hyatt on the Bund for as little as $80/night. It is also a superior use of Hyatt points or the complimentary night certificates.

    Hyatt on the Bund has an endlessly Instagrammable rooftop bar (“Vue Bar “) that hotel guests get to visit for free, and a very large and very nice indoor pool where my son mastered swimming on his back at the age of 6. We tried dressing my son up in a custom-tailored suit procured from the South Bund Soft Spinning Market and bringing him up to hang with the other scenesters at the Vue Bar, but we got a very polite “no go” from the Vue Bar hostess, LOL.

    The Park Hyatt in Lujiazui has an airplanelike view, an amazing free breakfast for Globalists, and a minimalist futuristic aesthetic that I find very calming, but I prefer the human scale and human interest of Puxi and the Hyatt on the Bund.

    Thanks very much for the tip on Raffles City Chongqing, I’ve never been to Chongqing but I have a good friend who’s a native of the city wants to take our family there. Gotta see Jiuzhaigou and of course all of the panda bears.

  16. Reminds me of the AC brand in Marriott…would love for this to come to the US and be the new limited service offer (vs. HP)

  17. @D3kingg I stayed at HTB last week for RMB800 all in last week – that’s the current going rate, but Even during “normal times” HTB does not command much higher rate – quite sure that range is here to stay.
    The view from the 3/F lounge is now quite obstructed and filled with construction noise. Stay above 15//F suite otherwise you’ll be staring at construction cranes.
    Will check out RC at Chongqing… thanks for that.
    @jkjkjk Peninsula/ Sir Elly’s Terrace got my vote for the best rooftop bar in Shanghai.

  18. If I may ask, @Shangster, how did you manage to get into SH? Do you have Chinese work residency? I am keenly interested in getting back.

    Is the 3F club at HOTB open right now? Do they serve food in the club now? Require masks?

  19. @Kendor – There are three types of people that are currently allowed in China, at the moment. Chinese green card holders, diplomats, and if you hold a rare visa issued after the border closed. The rare visa requires an invitation letter that is approved by multiple government departments. Many articles make the process sound simple and easy when it’s not. Basically it’s limited to people and companies that provide impact to China. Also, if you are able to obtain such as visa then you would need to do a COVID test prior to departure, upon arrival, and quarantine (likely to pay for quarantine in a quarantine facility). Please note that due the relatively few flights happening there is a strong chance of quarantining in another city than where you are going. We have to use common sense and think that if there was so many people being approved there would be more commercial and charter flights. Most foreigners that are currently in China got back before the border closed. Please feel free to contact me off of this website if you have specific questions or need specific related resources.

    I will respond about Chongqing and hotels later.

  20. So is this confirmed with absolute certainty that booking UrCove through Hyatt direct will earn elite qualify night?

  21. @shangster

    Yes. Peninsula roof top bar is the best in the city. Even hooked up and went couple of dates with the server after we exchange wechat contact lol.
    The long bar at waldorf also have good vibes.
    Anyone here tried staying the bvlgari? That seems to be one of the more expensive hotel in SH. Or how about the chinese branded hotel in shanghai tower. Has it opened yet?

    The raffles city in chongqing is singaporean property investment. I’ve seen some pictures and it seems great and affordable.

  22. @Kendor, @iamhere, this past week, Shanghai officially lifted/eased the travel ban on foreigners with previous work/residence visa; this new policy includes lifting the ban on family members (I got back before the ban, my family stayed in US and was subsequently unable to come back). If you/your company use a visa agent, they should be able to help you get a new PU Invitation Letter for foreign family members, which you need to use to apply for the re-entry M visa from the Chinese consulate(s). We have started working on ours – I know of many expat Europeans/Canadians/Asians families who are back, as well as increasingly American families now. Generally, people with current/valid housing contract can quarantine at home.

    HOTB 3/F lounge is fully open and operating normally. Last weekend the hotel was actually close to full! No “hard” requirement to wear mask, although everyone wears one – as you can imagine, not an issue here. 🙂

  23. @Jkjkjk:
    re: PH, hero!
    never personally stayed at Bulgari, but have placed guests there a few times. It is nice, but it’s like staying in a luxe museum, especially the common areas. The rooftop bar is nice though.
    J Hotel at Shanghai Tower – supposedly Shanghai tower has less than 35% occupancy rate, so…‍♂️

  24. Regarding Hotels in Shanghai, I really do think it depends on the location and your purpose. The Bund, for example, is not necessarily where business people tend to stay. I think this new Hyatt concept is best in Jingan since it will attract business people. I agree with the comment in that isn’t this what the brand is supposed be so that HomeInn can help them to expand as rapidly as they did.

    I think that regarding the pricing of hotels in other cities of China, it’s all relative. $100+ for a city like Chongqing is expensive, for example. There are places near to Shanghai that I have stayed in varying Marriott branded properties, mostly the only Marriott brand in the city or town and it’s often one of the most expensive.

    Don’t be disappointed @kendor if you don’t see the pandas in Chongqing because the Research Base is not there – it’s in Chengdu.

    Another comment related to this is that the newer Ritz Carlton properties, all of them tend to look and feel the same. Take Chengdu and Nanjing for an example. Some of the others like the ones in Beijing are different and are not as new and therefore have a different feel.

    What’s your opinion about Bulgari in China? Do you think it is worth the price?

    @Shangster11 – Regarding your comments, it’s not as easy as you claim for foreigners to return to China. The impact of the individual and their company is an important piece to the puzzle. If it was so easy we would see many more charter and commercial flights to China but this is not happening. For “normal” or “regular” people that are working in China it’s still not happening. Quarantine at home is a constantly changing policy. Last week it was announced that after a week in the quarantine facility one could apply to quarantine at home, but if you have other relatives there that don’t need to quarantine, this is where it can be complicated. So, while your comments are true about what you need to return to China, if you are working for an MNC or you have significant impact to China it will significantly help. There are many people that still can’t return. It is not as simple as obtaining the documents for a work permit or business visa invitation before the virus.

  25. @iamhere Thanks, I know that Chengdu isn’t Chongqing — my wife did a medical training exchange in Chengdu a million years ago — but Chongqing is well on the way to Chengdu. I’m thinking we can bundle both destinations and Jiuzhaigou into one modestly adventurous trip.

    Another general Hyatt suggestion: the Hyatt in Hangzhou is exceedingly pleasant, especially its rooftop patio when the weather is nice. The endlessly charming “Slava” is a manager there and can suggest a bunch of good hikes in the area, as well as the best itinerary to follow through his native Russia.

    For anyone who likes Shanghai, don’t miss the House of Jazz and Blues at 60 Fuzhou Lu. The place is hardly undiscovered but despite growing popular retains an unbelievable cool. I’ve been going there since 2012 and it never ever gets old.

    We would do a lot to return to China including sitting through quarantine and I look forward to our next trip there, whenever it is possible.

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