Tuesday, September 05, 2006

China Stories Pt. 24: The Shangri-La

Did you see the movie "Lost in Translation?" Even though the movie was set in Tokyo, the hotel reminded me a great deal of the hotel where CBS was encamped. Watching the movie I heard the "ding" of the elevator, and I was transported right back to the Shangri-La on Zizhuyuan Road.

The large marble floor was constantly in varying stages of being cleaned and polished, as was all of the brass. There was a large atrium where coffee and tea were served; in the afternoons, a string quartet played. There was a coffee shop, with a breakfast buffet including an omelet station. There was a steakhouse restaurant. There was a fancy Chinese restaurant that served Cantonese food. There was, in the basement, an Italian restaurant called Peppino's. There was a little store that sold Tylenol, Colgate, Scope, candy, magazines, newspapers. There was a gift gallery that sold... mostly overpriced crap, but hey, that's what some people want to take home from China, and it doesn't seem overpriced to them, so God bless them.

The staff dressed immaculately in black and white uniforms, except for maintenance people who wore overalls, or security people who wore suits and had radios.

The elevators were gleaming. The carpets showed the day of the week in English and Chinese.

The rooms were fairly nondescript, but nicely appointed – a big king size bed (or two); a desk and a dresser; a minibar stocked with candy bars, nuts, gin, whiskey, scotch, vodka, wine and beer. The bathroom was marble with gold fixtures and fluffy white towels. On the mirror was a small sign informing you that the water was not safe to drink.

In the closet were two terry cloth robes, and two pairs of slippers. There was a safe, and a bag for laundry.

There was a TV that carried local stations, plus CNN international, the Hong Kong stations and a Japanese channel. There were a couple of movie channels as well. I don't believe the hotel received CBS.


At 7:13 AM, Blogger Jules said...

Ahhh... The Shang - so many fond memories. We used to call it "civilisation in the middle of chaos."


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