22 February 2015
I’m not usually fond of surprises, but when the receptionist on our Yangtze River cruise ship told us that that we had been upgraded, I accepted with delight. But what I couldn’t imagine is that we had been upgraded to their Shangri-La suite! It sounded unbelievable.
On our trip through China we were already staying in six Shangri-La hotels. Now, on the cruise, we were staying in the Shangri-La suite. It really sounded like a dream. At first I was skeptical and thought that perhaps the travel agency that had helped me plan the trip was playing a joke on us because we had insisted on staying in so many Shangri-La hotels. But I was very familiar with the excellence of these hotels. And, I knew that after a full day of sight-seeing and being out and about, there is nothing like going “home” and being pampered; and waking up refreshed the next morning, ready to start out for more adventure.
After getting over our initial stupor and looking around to make sure there wasn’t some kind of candid camera following us to break the news and see our faces, we were escorted to our luxury suite. There were only two suites of its kind on the ship. The were located across from each other on the front part of the executive deck and had a semi-private area of the hallway. There was a private balcony that occupied the entire front portion of the front deck and was shared only by the two suites. The suite itself was enormous, complete with a separate living area that had ceiling-to-floor windows, and a jacuzzi in the bathroom!
But our surprise was not over yet. We had special dining privileges which included a semi-private dining area and complementary evening cocktails. Did this sound like the Shangri-La experience as well? Once again, we were expecting to be approached at any moment with a hidden camera to break the surprise and capture our naive reaction.
After a couple of days of continuous surprises like daily fresh fruit and coffee service delivered to our suite and VIP treatment on the shore visits, we came to the conclusion that this was just part of our lucky fate for having chosen to stay in so many Shangri-La hotels during the trip. So when the time came to disembark, we were sad to leave our suite on the ship. But we were comforted by knowing that it would not be our last Shangri-La experience. We still had plenty of adventure ahead of us, and other Shangri-La’s to go home to.