Tibet is among the 45 Places to Go in 2012 By NEW YORK TIMES: January 6, 2012
Tibet is on Top9
9. Lhasa, Tibet
New luxury hotels bring respite — and controversy.
Tibet’s holy capital is in the throes of a luxury-hotel boom. In Lhasa, this is news: not only is operating an upscale hotel at nearly 12,000 feet above sea level no small feat, but real-estate developments here are, almost by default, also culturally loaded.
The majestic, 162-room St. Regis Lhasa Resort has been in full operation since May. In 2010, a charming Tibetan-owned villa called the Lingtsang reopened as a boutique hotel with opulent, colorful woodwork and courtyard verandas. And coming soon are the sprawling InterContinental Resort Lhasa Paradise and the 284-room Shangri-La, both scheduled to open in 2013.
On the upside, it’s the first time that travelers can get high-end amenities in a city where even basic hospitality has been a challenge. On the downside, the openings — like Lhasa’s booming population, new business districts and shopping malls — are seen by many Tibetans and interested outsiders as more cultural colonization and exploitation of a sacred land. KIMBERLY BRADLEY