Staggering Extravagance

The Western media likes to write stories about how rich a very small portion of China’s population is becoming. Here’s further evidence of the trend in the form of an advertisement.

A Chinese friend recently drew my attention to this ad in Shangai Wednesday (上海星期三). The following is my (clumsy) translation of said ad:

The Ultimate Party

Portman Ritz-Carlton
–“888 Rose Romantic Voyage”

Whether it is a proclamation of love or a unique marriage proposal experience, the “888 Rose Romantic Voyage” ensemble will do its utmost to put romantic ambience into 888 roses forming a rose sea, as well as a hotel luxury limosine laden with champagne and a romantic melody, which will meet and carry the lovers to their destinations. The hall leading to the Greenberg Presidental Suite will be lined on both sides with rose bouquets. The presidential suite has received both past and present American presidents. Upon entering the presidential suite, a melodious 4 person string orchestra will accompany you. When it is time to retire for the evening, your bed will be adorned with rose petals in the shape of a heart. Various rose-scented gifts are included as well. A rose petal bath will be specially prepared for the lovers, as well as rose-flavored chocolate, rose petal tea, and the Summer Pavillion Restaurant’s gift of 8 courses of rose-inspired delicacies.

“888 Rose Romantic Journey”: RMB 88,888 [US$11,111] / night

This ad made me really curious, so I called directory assistance (“114” in China) and got the Portman Ritz-Carlton’s phone number. I called the hotel and asked to speak to a manager. I told her I was writing an article on their “888 Rose Romantic Voyage” offering for a website, and she was happy to answer a few questions. The additional information I gained was:

  • The Portman Ritz-Carlton is only 8 years old, so “past and present American presidents” amounts to two.
  • The “888 Rose Romantic Voyage” began a few months ago and is available year-round, not just on Valentine’s Day, pending availability of the presidential suite.
  • So far, one couple has purchased the “888 Rose Romantic Voyage.”
[Extended entry includes the text of the original Chinese ad.]



John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. To my amazement, I open up Sinosplice to find the 888 Rose Romantic Voyage. That one couple happens to be my girl and I.

    Reminds me of another “extravagance” article in which a Chinese Bentley was purchased in an auction for more than it was worth because the customer wanted to buy it with a number full of 8’s.

    I like how you stressed “a very small portion of China’s population” …

  2. To those out of the loop: 8 is considered a very lucky number in China. 4 is unlucky (sounds like the word “die” in Chinese).

  3. Today, at the 27th street exit in Oakland, I saw a METRO PCS (cell phone service provider) billboard advertisement with the number: 888-8metro8

    … looks like there’s a Chinese in high influence there.

  4. Is this a scam?

  5. I went to the Ritz Carlton website and there it was in full: The $10,000 USD blingbling* evening in Shanghai, China.

  6. Thanks for the link, Wilson. I didn’t think to check online (that’s a first!).

    It certainly lays bare my inadequacies at translation. Oh well.

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