Monday, September 8, 2008

Hot Chocolate at the Grand Hyatt

The Grand Hyatt hotel is located in the heart of Beijing, on Chang'an Avenue in the Oriental Plaza shopping and apartment complex, and is generally considered to be the finest luxury hotel in town.

Yesterday evening I stopped into the Grand Hyatt to pick up a package that was left for me by a visiting friend. After claiming it from the concierge I sat in the lobby to read. I also splurged on a hot chocolate. It was made in the American style, with milk, whipped creme on top, and marshmallows, biscotti and a chocolate-dipped bread stick on the side. Yum!

One noteworthy thing that I observed was the presence of a service charge on the bill. Waitstaff are certainly deserving of being paid for their services, but tipping is not the norm here in Beijing. Some premium restaurants and lounges (read: ones frequented by foreigners or ultra-wealthy locals) now charge a service fee on all bills. If it were used to reward waitstaff for good service I would respect it, but the service fee is kept by management and never makes its way to the people who are actually providing service. Remember that the next time you see a mandatory service charge in China.

No comments: