When Rubin moved to China, in 1994, he was surprised to find a dearth of resources for discerning travelers in a country so rich in cultural heritage and natural beauty. He and his wife and partner, Nancy Kim, set out to change that, and they now lead China’s most sophisticated luxury tour operator. To keep up with the country’s rapid transformation, Rubin is constantly inspecting new hotels—Chengdu has recently seen the arrival of the Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Temple House, and Six Senses—and planning new excursions. In Hangzhou, he can set up a visit to a pharmacy with a practitioner of Chinese medicine; in Shanghai, he’ll arrange a nightlife tour that explores the jazz scene.
Trend watch: Long favored by backpackers, the city of Lijiang in southwestern China, at the Himalayan foothills, is now attracting high-end hotels such as the new Amandayan. The property incorporates Yunnan’s indigenous Nakhi design and has panoramic views thanks to its hilltop location. Lijiang’s tourism bureau understands the city’s potential as well. Rubin notes, “There are strict rules about architecture—what can and cannot be built—and they have bike lanes.”
Guy Rubin is a Super Agent and specializes in China.