Saturday, March 15, 2008

China's Five-Star and International's Five-Star

I have always stayed in the five-star hotels whenever I visit China. The hotel provided ample facilities but I am not satisfied with their service.

Appearance can be revamped to give it a new outlook but it takes time for them to change their attitude. International's five-star emphasizes ‘to give customers whatever they ask for' whereas China's five-star's principle is merely ‘to expect customers to accept whatever they provide'. These days, many state-enterprises have transformed into the latter remarkably.

I stayed at Hua Ting Hotel and Towers the last time I went Shanghai. That five-star hotel provided well-equipped facilities and international buffet. The buffet restaurant is huge and they serve many varieties of food. However, it was so much to the point that I did not what to eat.

I never like buffet style so we went to dine at the 26th level-high Chinese restaurant. Its design, facilities and food are comparable to international's five-star standard but their service has deteriorated. We ordered braised goose as a starter, soup, fish and lotus rice as main dishes.

He Nan's mayor and a businessman of Xin Jiang accompanied usI for dinner. There were altogether five of us sitting at a wooden table, all the way to a conducive corner. The night scene outside the window was alluring; also there was a small bridge carrying water inside the restaurant. We asked for a kilogram worth of 20-year old Shao Xin Wine in high spirits.

The wine was warmed and served before the food came. Warmed wine is exceptionally delicious. We chatted for a while over our wine. In the midst of eating our starter, the soup was served. I told the waitress, "Miss, can you hang on please?' I have just completed my sentence when two dishes were placed onto the turning platform in the middle of our dining table. I told the waitress again, "Don't we get a portion each?" My complaint was not valid.

We merely ate a few mouthful of dishes when the waitress came again, "Sir, do you want us to help you portion out the lotus rice?" I replied, "Miss, please wait for a while more!"
Very soon, the waitress asked about the fish. I told her to hang on again!

We did not want the fish to turn cold before we started eating so we decided to eat the fish before the lotus rice.

In the end, both the lotus rice and fish have turned cold! We asked for fruits and the waitress said, "Sir, we charge for the fruits." We smiled bitterly and nodded our heads.
We finished a meal of almost 3000 RMB at a five-star restaurant in less than an hour. Sadly but true, I have not come across such five-star restaurant in Singapore.

Service may need to come from our heart but there is a need for good management as well. It is very important not to overlook this area. Given such service attitude, it seems really difficult to promote Shanghai as a tourist attraction to greater heights.

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