Why do I write so much about the Hilton Beijing? Every time I am asked this question, my answer is simple: the staff gives me so much to write about. What other hotel in this city has a lineup of events that come even remotely close to this:
- Pole-dancing competitions (check this post for a first-hand experience of being a judge at such an event).
- A singles auction (two weeks ago).
- The annual Food & Wine Experience (now at 14 years and counting).
- Pancake races (most recently this week).
- A mixed martial arts / black tie dinner (see the poster here).
- An annual Christmas train and charity bazaar.
- A rodeo (the inaugural one featured food from Home Plate BBQ — how often do you see a five-star hotel team up with a small restaurant? — and plenty of work for the mechanical bull).
Add annual charity quizzes, belly-dancing contests, cocktail contests and other events that I am no doubt forgetting and, again, the point is there is plenty going on. Putting on such events tends to create headaches for hotels: it means more tasks on already crowded “to do” lists, disrupted routines, and the risk of a flop, so it says something that the Hilton does so many of them. And I’m not saying that other hotels should follow suit, only that the Hilton events provide a lot material for a blogger like me. Oh, I almost forgot this this dinner for 1000 people on the Great Wall.
By the way, I moved to Beijing in late 2004 and one of my duties was to manage the company magazine. I decided it would be fun to organize our monthly feature interview in local restaurants and the Hilton Beijing quickly agreed to sponsor one in its former Louisiana restaurant, with then-PR manager Ivy Chang joining for the meal and then-GM Vlad Reyes stopping by to check on us. At that time, Dan Segall was the chef (he later went on to RBL in Wangfujing, Zuma in Hong Kong, Mint in Shanghai, and many other projects) and a supporter of the e-newsletter that preceded this blog (he suggested I name it The Village Boyce). Not long before, Segall, Chang, Chris Roberts (now at the Hilton in Qingdao) and Cici Feng had taken us on a tour of a local market early one January morning. What’s my point? That the Hilton Beijing has long had a fun team, been open to ideas and been organizing interesting events. Much appreciated.