Luxury hotel group Ritz-Carlton together with WPP creative partner Design Bridge and Partners (DBP) has unveiled the creative identity of their first Reserve in China – Rissai Valley. It is the sixth property in a rare portfolio of exclusive estates worldwide, offering an intimate and transformative experience rooted in heartfelt care and human connection.
Found in Zhongcha Valley in the Jiuzhaigou National Park, also known as the ‘Valley of Nine Villages’, the new resort is surrounded by boundless natural bounty comprised of alpine mountains, mythical ancient forests, cascading waterfalls and tiered lakes.
The naming and logo design came together by combining the sophistication and opulence typically experienced with RItz Carlton Hotels and the timeless beauty of local Xi Zang and Qiang culture in Jiuzhai.
When the architectural designer of the hotel, created a rendering of the hotel, inspired by the mountainous range of the Xi Zang villages, the name Rissai was developed – a transliteration of the Xi Zang’s word for “village” – that offers guests rare insights and immersive connections with the natural surroundings and culture of traditional Xi Zang village life.
Continuing in the same vein as the naming, the design of the logo incorporates the writing characteristics of Xi Zang into the English font, using the unique font structure and stroke characteristics of Xi Zang that combines cultural details and modernity.
Design Bridge and Partners took the opportunity to invite Mr. Marcel Damen, the General Manager of the hotel, to have a conversation and share his views and insights on the hotel branding and operations.
Q&A between General Manager Rissai Valley, Marcel Damen and Ray Lan, ECD, Design Bridge and Partners
“How do you see our hotel has brought to the market here in China?”
Marcel Damen: First of all, we are the first Ritz-Carlton Reserve in China, and we are a villa-only resort. And the service we offer, including the activities, local connections, personal butler, service ratio from employees to guests – those are all very unique to China.
After the silence of the epidemic, China’s hotel market finally ushered in an outbreak. Three years epidemic era passed by, with the changes in the general environment and people’s psychology, vacation-oriented travel has become mainstream, which means that people are willing to stay in one place longer and want to have a deeper connection and experience there. Therefore, they have put forward higher requirements for high-end accommodation brands in the Chinese market. They hope that the accommodation will be of higher quality and have more value-added services and willing to experience more.
DBP: As a world-class brand that landed in the local area, in your opinion, what valuable changes do you think our presence has brought to the area, the people there, and even the culture?
Marcel Damen: Jiuzhaigou has always been a popular destination for tourism, people go there to see the nature, the national park especially. But our arrival, now we have guests coming to Jiuzhaigou not only for sight-seeing, but also really to spend time in the resort for 2-3 days or longer, just to relax and disconnect with busy life. And more obviously, we create more jobs. There used to be quite high unemployment rate, especially after the earthquake in 2017, the tourism collapsed, and we had COVID for three years. We now have very good employees recruited from surrounding villages.
It is true that location selection is an extremely important part of building a good resort brand. Jiuzhaigou has always been a place famous for its natural landscape and has extremely strong natural endowment resources. However, from a scenic area famous for its natural scenery to a truly comprehensive tourism resort, there are many aspects that require holiday brands to demonstrate strong curation capabilities, that is, how to integrate local cultural, personnel, accommodation, commerce, catering and other resources to form a complete and unique narrative. From a higher perspective, Jiuzhai itself is a tourism IP, and Rissai Valley is also a part of Jiuzhai’s cultural tourism experience. Therefore, Rissai Valley is utilizing its brand curation capabilities to create a new narrative for both the brand itself and Jiuzhai.
DBP: What do you think of the naming and the logo design?
Marcel Damen: After the launch, it became more and more apparent to me that Rissai Valley is the best name for the property. Because I often get to explain in interviews and to clients, the name Rissai Valley, which literally means “the Xi Zang village” has connections with the property in all perspectives. That we can see the Xi Zang’s village within this area, the way we build the property, the way and we treat our guests, the way we wear the Xi Zang style uniforms etc, all link to the name and the particular color of green and the font. And has the name as a talking point – it all works very nicely.
Many people believe that brand naming and logo design are important aspects of brand identification, but in addition to identification, good naming and logo design are often the first step in brand experience. Naming and logos with storytelling and design considerations will arouse infinite associations in the brain at the moment of contact with people’s cognition. The imagination formed at people’s cognitive level will drive people to understand and experience it more closely, forming a more complete brand. cognitive experience. Therefore, a good name and a good logo determine the first impression of the brand to a large extent.
Marcel Damen: And interestingly, I am often asked to answer the question of where the name comes from, because people think it is a name that already exists here, not that it’s the name of the hotel which was inspired by the surroundings.
DBP: That’s actually a very interesting side effect, right? Usually, we say that we are going to Jiuzhaigou, but in the future, when people recognize Rissai Valley, they feel that it’s actually a place, not just the resort. We create a sense of existence.