Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, as it’s colloquially known, starts on February 8. In Asia, it’s a holiday as big as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Western New Year’s combined. And in China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, specifically, you’ll find New Year’s celebrations at every hotel. We’ve rounded up 11 places to ring in the Year of the Monkey.
Grand Hyatt Taipei
The Chinese New Year festivities at Grand Hyatt Taipei begin on New Year’s Eve (February 7), when a dinner will be held in the Grand Ballroom from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuck into traditional New Year’s dishes while watching performances and keeping your fingers crossed for the lucky draw. On the following day, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., there will be a bevy of family-friendly activities in the lobby, including a drum show, a lion and dragon dance, paper crafts, calligraphy and block printing stations.
Conrad Macao, Cotai Central
This Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel is ushering in the Year of the Monkey with New Year’s meals, afternoon tea and the traditional lion dance. From Chinese New Year’s Eve through February 14, Dynasty 8 is serving dishes like braised dried oysters, double-boiled chicken soup with abalone, and wok-fried broccoli with crab meat as a part of its set menus (eight or nine courses at lunch, 10 at dinner). For something lighter, drop into The Lounge for Chinese New Year afternoon tea. Cucumber sandwiches are swapped for steamed prawn dim sum and the typical scones and clotted cream are replaced with sweets such as lychee hibiscus profiteroles and, of course, egg tarts. The lion dance will begin at the Shoppes Cotai Central entrance (Sands Cotai Central Casino) on February 9 at 2 p.m. and will trot through the Conrad lobby
Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
The Mandarin has been a luxurious escape from the busy streets of Hong Kong since it opened in 1963. The Five-Star hotel will commence its Chinese New Year celebrations on February 8 with a lion dance starting in the lobby and moving throughout the hotel’s public areas. Lucky diners at the hotel’s restaurants will be visited by the God of Wealth (prosperity deity), who will hand out Lai See packets (a red envelope with a monetary gift). Five-Star restaurant Pierre and Four-Star eatery Man Wah will have set-menu fireworks dinners on February 9 with dishes like braised Dover sole with oyster and green curry and wok-fried crystal prawn with black truffle, respectively. The latter establishment will serve holiday dishes through February 22. On February 9, though, both top-floor restaurants will grant you great opportunities to catch the 8 p.m. fireworks going off over Victoria Harbour.
InterContinental Hong Kong
Like Christmas and Thanksgiving, Chinese New Year is all about eating and spending time with family. Five-Star InterContinental Hong Kong has got you covered on the food front. Though there are special CNY set menus from January 24 through February 22, all of the hotel’s restaurants will prepare big dinners on February 9. There’s an eight-course set menu at Four-Star Yan Toh Heen (think wok-fried Wagyu beef), a six-course spread at Five-Star Spoon by Alain Ducasse (suckling pig with celeriac-black truffle), and an eight-course itinerary at the hotel’s Nobu outpost that will be highlighted by sake-butter-poached Japanese spiny lobster. Right on the Kowloon waterfront, InterContinental Hong Kong is well positioned for the elaborate New Year’s fireworks display set off annually over Victoria Harbour.
Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai
At the Five-Star Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai, Chinese New Year set menus will be on offer at Four-Star Shàng Xí. These are available only February 7 to 10, and include everything from braised abalone with mushroom in a rich oyster sauce to stir-fried Wagyu beef with black pepper.
The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong
This Four-Star Shanghai hotel celebrates the Year of the Monkey with a CNY promotion. The two-night package consists of a guest room with complimentary rollaway bed, daily breakfast, daily set-menu dinner at Italian restaurant Scena and access to the hotel’s fantastic fitness center and kids’ club. Should the mood hit to step off property, the hotel recommends visiting the Himalayas Center for its colorful lantern festival, held February 7 through 14.
The Langham, Xintiandi, Shanghai
The traditional Chinese New Year lion dance at this luxurious escape begins precisely at 9:18 a.m. on February 8. Assure yourself that you’ll be on time for the party by booking the hotel’s Chinese New Year package (February 5 to 14). The deal snags you one night in a Langham Club room, a unit that includes breakfast, afternoon tea, evening drinks, canapés, all-day snacks and a 4 p.m. checkout.
Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai
The Five-Star Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai’s Chinese New Year celebration will take place at Yong Yi Ting. Chef Tony Lu and his team will prepare a 10-course set menu inspired by imperial Chinese cuisine, so expect the feast to include braised bamboo shoots with mushrooms, fish balls, dumplings, Boston lobster with yam and braised lamb with soy sauce. The set menu will be available February 6 to 13.
Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake
Chinese restaurant Jin Sha is holding a lavish New Year’s Eve dinner. The set menu includes traditional holiday items like eight treasure glutinous rice (it uses eight fruits that are believed to have medicinal properties) and braised duck. Each table will also be delivered a plate of lo hei or yusheng, a raw fish salad that’s a symbol of abundance. Those at the table then stand up, mix the salad together and use chopsticks to toss some of the greens in the air. It’s believed that the higher the toss, the more prosperous the year will be. The hotel’s lion dance and Bai San ceremony — a custom where people ask their ancestors for a bountiful year — will take place on the morning on February 8 as well.
The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino
You might be surprised to learn that some Vegas spots also go all out for Chinese New Year. These Four-Star sister hotels combined efforts to plan an eye-catching, elaborate display that’s a year in the making. You’ll find 78 monkeys, each with a unique, hand-painted face, hanging about the spaces. Don’t miss the five-foot-tall, 300-pound monkey king sitting at the foot of a 38-foot-tall wishing tree. More than 8,000 hand-sewn gold coins plaster his chest, and he is covered in Swarovski crystals. The hotels also added more than 1,000 flowers, including golden phalaenopsis, cymbidium orchids, chrysanthemums and Oriental lilies, along with more than 1,200 plants, including tangerine trees, lucky bamboo trees, ivy and ferns. Aside from the display, the hotels will offer performances by Hong Kong singers Hacken Lee and Joey Yung at The Palazzo Ballroom at The Venetian on February 13 and 14.
The Ritz-Carlton, Beijing, Financial Street
This Four-Star hotel is keeping things simple this Chinese New Year, with just annual lion dance (February 13) on the docket. The event kicks off in the lobby, where everyone, including non-guests, is invited to cheer on the dancers. As for when the lion dance will start precisely, the hotel is consulting its feng shui master to choose the most auspicious time for this colorful celebration.