This 5-star hotel offers spacious facilities in extensive groundsDifferent hotels have different high and low seasons. This can depend on many factors, such as the periods of good weather, local festivals, major sporting events and so on. Don’t expect good rates in Monaco during the Grand Prix or in Blackpool during the school holidays.
But the answer to my question at the Fairmont Yangcheng Lake did come as a surprise. ‘The peak season, when corporate group organisers might not find it easy to negotiate’, I was told, ‘depends on the hairy crab’.
Yangcheng Lake is close to Suzhou outside Shanghai and is the unique habitat for the hairy crab, which has a global reputation amongst gourmets. It has a body just the size of the palm of your hand and black hair along its broad claws, giving it the name the ‘mitten crab’. The Chinese flock to the lake when the crabmeat is in season, so all the hotels become fully booked.
Apart from that, however, there are manifold reasons why the 5-star Fairmont Yangcheng Lake Hotel should be seen as an eminently attractive venue for events.
The hotel makes the most of its location, with floor-to-ceiling windows not only in public areas but also in the guestrooms giving views over the lake or the surrounding parkland.
The Fairmont also makes good use of its many acres. It has its own organic farm that enables its chefs to prepare dishes from its produce; and it has preserved an original Chinese peasant farmer’s dwelling, where guests, particularly corporate groups, can work alongside local Chinese to learn how to prepare special dishes and cook them in a traditional rural oven.
When we visited we watched someone actually making beehives, for the property also produces its own honey.
The expansive setting of the hotel has allowed the architects to provide a continual sense of spaciousness through the public areas, restaurants and guestrooms. There are 200 guestrooms and suites in 12 different categories. The MICE facilities include a 1200sqm Grand Ballroom and four additional meeting rooms with glorious views. The extensive grounds suit all kinds of outdoor activities for team-building and leisure. There is even an outdoor climbing wall. At the same time visitors are aware of Chinese culture and tradition, for the location is very much an attraction for the Chinese themselves as well as for international travellers.