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November 16, 2011

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Hotels make party planning easy

THE year-end party season is fast approaching. The city's luxury hotels offer a range of package deals that meet the needs of most companies. Patricia Wee takes a look at some of the best options so that you can start making plans.

As the busy year comes to an end, year-end parties are being held all around town as companies, clubs, associations and religious organizations celebrate a year's worth of hard work. In the lighthearted atmosphere of such festivities, networking opportunities abound and can prove to be just as, if not, more effective, than formal meetings.

Patrick Chen, deputy director of the International Tourism Promotion Department for the Shanghai Tourism Administration, says: "For state-owned companies, popular year-end events will include a dinner, lucky draw, lots of drinking, karaoke, foot massage and mahjong, but for Western companies, many are now looking for unique venues and they want good audiovisual effects to set the atmosphere for their themes. Drinks and dancing are also popular."

Chen notes that corporations are now more sensitive to pricing because of the weak global economy and budget cuts. Also, the strong yuan and weakening euro and US dollar are causing multi-national corporates to be ever mindful of budgets. Higher labor costs and high staff turnover continue to be a challenge for companies.

Hotels are introducing creative year-end dinner party packages to make celebrations memorable.

Pullman Shanghai Skyway has five dinner parties ranging from 3,388 yuan (US$534) to 5,388 yuan per table plus 15 percent service charge. The deals are valid from December 11 to February 12, 2012. This month, the hotel will be the venue for the 1st Beaujolais Nouveau Wine Celebration Party. Guests include the French Chamber of Commerce, French and Chinese entrepreneurs, Sino-French Culture Center officials, and the French Consulate.

The hotel is equipped for MICE events with over 3,000 square meters of conference facilities on four levels, including a large ballroom that can accommodate up to 550 people, 16 meeting rooms and pre-function areas. A dedicated events manager and IT solutions manager is on hand for events.

Renaissance Shanghai Zhongshan Park Hotel's Annual Party Package costs 580 yuan per person before tax (10 persons/table). Guests get a free one-night stay at a Junior Suite for every 10 tables booked, subject to a maximum of three rooms. Their menu offers free soft drinks for three hours, chilled juices, local beer and red wine, and free food and beverage coupons worth 1,500 yuan. The deal ends on February 28, 2012.

The hotel is the tallest Renaissance hotel in the world with its lobby on the 25th floor. Banquet space is divisible into three rooms, comprising a total of 1,250 square meters. Theme parties hosted in recent years include Marriott Mission to Mars for 200 people and Marriott-MCI Get To Know You for 80 people.

Sheraton Shanghai Hotel & Residences Pudong's Great Year-end Gathering Party Package Deal costs 4,500 yuan or 5,000 yuan net per table (10 people) for a minimum of three tables. Four Points by Sheraton Shanghai Pudong's deal costs 3,300 yuan or 3,800 yuan net per table. The offers are valid from December 1 to February 29, 2012.

Past events at the Sheraton Shanghai Hotel & Residences Pudong include the Mardi Gras Christmas Eve Party. It included a dinner buffet at the Grand Ballroom with free flow of sparkling wine, red or white wine, local beer, juices and soft drinks and a lucky draw. Children below 12 were charged 208 yuan for a Santa Claus visit. Another event, The Bai Shen Annual Dinner had some 720 participants while the Invista Fashion Show and Dinner hosted 350 participants. Its Grand Ballroom covers 1,019 square meters and can seat 660 in a banquet setup.

Hilton Shanghai Hongqiao, a newcomer to the hotel scene, hosts typically 50 tables for most year-end parties. Party packages start from 530 yuan per person with a choice of a Chinese or international buffet. The validity period is from December 1, 2011, to January 31, 2012. The hotel will be the venue for the Shanghai Community Fellowship Honqiao 3rd Anniversary and Christmas Celebration, which will seat some 1,000 people for dinner. Other events include the ICS Channel 2011 "You Are The Chef" Award Ceremony.

The hotel's 1,706-square-meter ballroom has a 6.7-meter-high ceiling. A VIP room beside the ballroom offers an exclusive entrance, along with three dressing rooms. A separate conference zone can be sealed into an independent area offering banqueting services.

InterContinental Shanghai Puxi's Annual Dinner Promotion Package ranges from 4,688 yuan to 5,888 yuan per table before tax. The best package includes spa treatment for two people at Spa InterContinental. The deals are valid from December 1 to January 24, 2012, and for a minimum reservation of 12 tables (10 people per table). Its ballroom is 735 square meters and can seat 450 people banquet style.


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