Hyatt Regency Saipan lit up its Christmas tree on Monday to usher in the start of the holiday season at the Garapan landmark.
However, unlike previous years when the décor of the over 20-foot symbol of Christmas was made up of the typical multi-colored plastic Christmas balls and the usual shiny ribbons and tussles, this year’s Christmas tree had a decidedly more local look to it.
This is thanks to local designer Sophie Chin, who Hyatt contracted this year not only to decorate its Christmas tree but also design the international brand hotel’s other Christmas fixtures.
Using young coconuts, flame tree pods, and other local materials, Shin transformed the Hyatt Christmas tree into an entirely unique design that hits the holidays closer to home with the use of indigenous materials.
Aside from her work with the Christmas tree, Shin also fashioned a wish funnel at the Hyatt lobby using local fishnets called talaya and LED lights. Another soft sculpture made of talaya and Christmas lights adorn the entrance to the hotel.
“We want to use elements with local inspiration. For example, you see the flame tree pods and young coconut. When you come here you may notice that we use fishnet and LED lighting to create this soft sculpture, which kinds of mimic a proa and manta ray at the garden,” said Shin.
It took her three months to set up everything.
Shin graduated from Taipei’s Fu Jen Catholic University and majored in landscape architecture.
Hyatt general manager Nick Nishikawa is all praises for Shin’s work and said her designs made great use of local materials without compromising on the aesthetic quality of the decor.
“The theme of our Christmas decorations this year is island-style. You can see the coconuts, flame tree pods. It’s different from the ordinary Christmas tree.”
The lighting ceremony started at a little past 6pm with residents and tourists in attendance. Hyatt also again invited families of beneficiaries of the Make-A-Wish Foundation to join the celebration.
“Every year we do this beginning December—Dec. 1st or 2nd. We always invite Make-A-Wish children to switch on the lights of the Christmas tree. I want them to enjoy the lighting ceremony with us,” said Nishikawa.