Sunday, September 2, 2007

A Civilized Sunday Afternoon

This afternoon I decided to go hotel hopping.

I hit swanky Wangfujing - Beijing's version of Fifth Avenue - and checked out a few of the city's top hotels.

First off -- The Peninsula and Grand Hyatt look like their Hong Kong counterparts. In terms of architecture and designer label stores, these five-star hotels pretty much have it. There's lots of marble, beautiful flower arrangements and lots of water fountains.

But in terms of service, Beijing hasn't matched Hong Kong's impeccable service. Hopefully in time it will.

Taking a break from window shopping, I decided on afternoon tea at The Pen. It wasn't exactly The Pen in Hong Kong, but it had the same prices -- 135RMB (US$17.89) for afternoon tea complete with finger sandwiches, scones and dessert.

I asked for just scones and was served ONE scone with condiments. The clotted cream looked yellowish until I realized it was butter, with a raspberry and a sour mango jam.

The scone was average - very flaky and uneventful. But it was nice having lots of tea -- several cups' worth. And no wonder. The tea was 45RMB (US$6).

I expected to see lots of tai tais (ladies of leisure), but instead saw mostly men enjoying afternoon tea too. They would get up periodically to the washroom or pop into Prada and Louis Vuitton and buy something. And of course they were smoking too even though it was a non-smoking section.

Oh well. This was probably as close to a civilized afternoon as I could get in Beijing.

1 comment:

ks said...

wow $ 18 for an afternoon tea while you can have a very nice meal with that much money. this is a class distinction for high society. here at a new kerrisdale coffee shop called artigiano they sell a $15 cup coffee. no sandwich or cookies accompanying. i heard business is brisk. sign of a good time. also there is one in town too. heard it is a branch of starbucks. may be there is market in beijing too.