New Year luxury on the menufor a price

08:34, January 27, 2011      

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A luxury hotel in Suzhou of East China's Jiangsu province is offering a dinner package priced at 388,888 yuan ($59,080) for the Chinese lunar new year, making it one of the most expensive New Year's Eve dinners in the country.

The five-star Crowne Plaza Suzhou, located in the city's industrial park, is offering the package from mid-January. It includes dinner for eight on Feb 2, the Chinese New Year's Eve, one night's accommodation in the presidential suite and transportation in a Hummer vehicle.

The dinner features 10 succulent courses such as Ah Yat Abalone, braised white truffle with shark fin and stewed wild honeycomb with bird's nest.

Traditional Suzhou art, including pingtan, a type of storytelling and ballad singing in the local dialect, and performances of embroidery will be presented during the dinner.

"The package aims to provide a different New Year experience for high-end customers. The price is not our selling point," said a member of the hotel's marketing department who declined to be named.

"The package will be available to a single customer and everything will be prepared," she said, adding the hotel has received a number of inquiries and that a customer who is likely to book the package is in contact with the hotel's catering department.

Other hotels in the country are also offering Chinese New Year's Eve dinners at astronomical prices. Landison Plaza Hotel Hangzhou in Zhejiang province has a similar dinner package available for 199,000 yuan. The package includes a luxury dinner, accommodation in the presidential suite and traditional performances that reflect Hangzhou culture, such as a tea ceremony and music played on traditional stringed and woodwind instruments.

The package is not available to the general public, only to regular guests who have certain requirements, said Lao Xiaoxian, a marketing executive at the hotel. According to Lao, the regular New Year's Eve dinner at the hotel is priced from 518 to 998 yuan per person.

Gu Xiaoming, a sociologist at Fudan University, said exaggeratedly priced New Year dinners are marketing strategies.

"They cannot prepare a dinner that could justify such a whopping price," he said.

"Moreover, they deviate from the nature of the Chinese New Year, which should be a traditional occasion for family reunions," he added.

Meanwhile, Wang Taichuan, a commentator on Shanxi Evening News, said high-end dinners address the needs of a certain clients.

Source: China Daily
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