Luxury hotels in China's capital are doing brisk business as lovers around the country begin making plans for the upcoming Valentine's Day.
The shangri-La Hotel, one of the most luxurious hotels in Beijing, is offering a romantic package - for a hefty price: 19,999 yuan (US$2,410).
It might be worth it, though, if you really feel like being pampered.
The package includes a luxury car pickup and a five-star dinner at the hotel's rose-decorated restaurant, complete with imported wine.
After enjoying a gourmet meal, couples will be led to a luxurious presidential suite where they can enjoy each other's company for the evening.
A freshly baked cake, the inside of which features a small gift diamond, will await their arrival.
Shangri-La representatives said they were confident their romantic package will be a success despite the failure of a similar package offered by a competing hotel in the same city last year.
"Some people are already interested in the package. Nowadays, lovers are more generous when it comes to romance," said a worker in the hotel's reservations department.
Meanwhile, the Hilton Hotel in Beijing is offering a Valentine's package that costs 8,888 yuan.
Hotels aren't the only businesses cashing in on the holiday.
Beijing's florists are preparing for a bonanza as well.
Caitai flower Market, the city's biggest flower market, started receiving orders for the holiday, including some for more than 100 flowers. It's a lucrative business; last Valentine's Day, a single rose cost up to 40 yuan.
The holiday, known as "Lover's Day" in Chinese, has become an integral part of Chinese culture - to the extent that an enterprising shopping center in Jiangxi Province last year held a marathon kissing contest.
(eastday.com February 10, 2004)