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Old Aug 27, 06, 5:59 pm
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 6,106
Originally Posted by Northbrook60065
Hey Gregory, and thanks for the Silks Market heads up! Now I'm definately convinced that the St. Regis is where I want to be. Should I rely on my PLAT status for an SPG upgrade or do you recommend I simply book the type of room I want? (What sort of room would YOU book - remember I'll be there solo for work, so I want ultimate comfort but I won't need stuff like a separate jacuzzi or piano in my room...but a club level room is always great)!

Also, any suggestions you may have for the "market" would be greatly appreciated. One of my buds said that you NEVER haggle with merchants or they may call the police, and another said that haggling is expected and not regarded as offensive the way a clerk at Macys or Neiman Marcus might respond to it. Did you purchase stuff and send it home or do you purchase it and bring it home with you? Also, if I purchase tailor-made suits or ....s for myself do I need to try them on or are they reliably tailored so if I ship them home they'll be fine when I get home?

Thanks again for your advice!

Barry, I know you PM'd me, but I thought I'd post my reply in the thread since others might benefit from the info as well.

As an SPG Plat, I got upgraded in Dec. 2005 from my ~$160 a night cheapie Internet (fully prepaid , but I booked it the day before ) rate to a Statesmans Suite (a 1 bedroom suite with separate living room and 2 bathrooms). I was quite happy with that upgrade. There is a Lounge at St. R, but there is no special Club floor rooms, everybody staying there has access to it, obviously it is therefore not as nice as the spread in the Grand Hyatt Beijing Grand Club Lounge. If I were there for work, I would book as high a rate as I could get away with depending on what my work would let me book. I can get quite nice $50 a night places in Beijing at non-western chain hotels, so my company might balk if I spent $300 per night at St. Regis, but at $160 a night, I just booked anyway, hoping not to get any crap from the accounting dept.

As far as Silk Market, you ALWAYS haggle there. If you don't, you will get taken to the cleaner. For example, they might try to start a knock-off Louis Vuitton purse at $50 (that costs $500-$600 in the USA). You then offer them $3, they drop their price to $20, you offer $4, they drop to $15 and say that's the lowest they can go cuz that is their cost. You then say, $5 final offer and they might come down a little and then you start to walk away, they grab you and bring you back and then you finally come to an agreement for maybe $7-8 for a LV purse. That's the way it works in these markets, they will not call the police, and you will get screwed paying $50 for a purse you could have gotton for $7 if you don't haggle. It actually gets kinda fun and I find myseld haggling for a few minutes over 1 yuan (~$0.12) just for the fun of it. Whatever you do, don't buy from the first person. Use that salesperson to practice on, find the lowest price, and then walk away and use that price as a benchmark that you should NOT pay a penny over for the same item at the next stall (all the stalls have the same stuff). BTW, sometimes you have to ask specifically for some knock-offs, for example, the LV stuff is all in drawers or under tables because they are pretending to crack down on that kind of stuff.

Also, I always bring the stuff home with me. I have never shipped anything back. I normally get an extra cardboard box there (or bring an extra duffel bag) and pack it full for the return trip. I've never been stopped at customs (well I have and I've had my bags checked, but they've never confiscated my knock-offs), but supposedly it could be a problem according to some FTers. As far as a tailor-made suit, I'd definitely try it on before coming home, but I've never bought one while over there. I just bring back lots of little knock-offs that I give as gifts to people over here and they all love it. If you want, PM me back and I can give you a list of items and what I paid for each at the Silk Market. I started keeping an Excel file this past visit to China because I didn't remember what I had paid for similar items from visit to visit. Also, you might want to visit the China Forum, there is a real expert over there named moondog that knows anything and everythying about China. If you want higher quality goods (tailor-made suits, etc), my guess is that he can probably tell you where to get them.
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