This was posted in the Fed forum...where are they going to fit Rafa's entourage? They'll probably take up one whole floor themselves.
A Sneak Peek At The Masters Cup’s Suite: Nadal Reserved 10 Rooms No Special Privileges For Federer
Journalist: Pan Lijuan
Players’ Names Imprinted On Towels & Pillowcases
During Shanghai Masters Cup 2002, Agassi was the only player staying in a Presidential suite in Hilton Hotel; a month ago, Federer came to Shanghai for the Masters Cup promotional events, he too stayed in Hilton Hotel’s Presidential suite. However during the tournament, the 8 singles players will all receive the same treatment, they will all be staying in the VIP suites ie. the Executive Panorama.
The 5-star Shanghai Hilton Hotel’s room rates per day are RMB$2,000 for the normal rooms up to nearly RMB$20,000 for the Presidential suites. According to ATP’s arrangements, the 8 singles players will be staying in the VIP suites, costing RMB$6,440 per night.
I got a sneak peek at Agassi’s room before his arrival yesterday afternoon.
The suite’s area’s more than 70 square metres, the single room’s about 40 square metres, as it is a panorama room, it looks bright and bigger when the afternoon’s sunrays shone in. According to the staff’s introduction, the VIP’s suite room’s biggest distinctiveness is the trendy factor, “This is the trendiest room type in the hotel. The interior decoration’s much more modern compared to the other suites, it also comes with the latest technology, eg. there will be a remote control system at every bed’s headrest, you can control the all suite’s facilities just by lying on the bed.”
Inside the suite, the hotel’s unique touch can be seen everywhere; from the players’ names embroidery on their bathrobes, pillowcases and towels to the exquisite chocolate desserts delivered everyday. However, the hotel spokesperson also expressed that they did not made any special efforts this time because "the players are very easy-going, unlike the movie stars or singers they hosted before, they did not have any special or stringent reception requests,” the hotel’s operations manager said.
10 Rooms Await Nadal’s Entourage
The 8 singles players, a last minute qualifier and Safin, whom won’t be participating in the tournament, will be staying in the 10 VIP suites. With regard to the less-known doubles players, they will be staying in the Panorama suites.
The Panorama suites’ rates are about RMB$5,930 per night, the room’s facilities are similar to the ones in the VIP suites. Everyone will have their own personalised towels and pillowcases. Safin whom has to withdraw due to his injury has already made his room reservation for a week, the hotel not only let him stay in the VIP suite but also provided him with the same necessities as the singles players ie. personalized pillowcases and towels etc. Safin will only be participating in the promotional events.
Each player will be bringing along his own entourage; accordingly the coaches will be staying in rooms nearby to the players’ VIP suites, with regard to the other staff and players’ entourage, the hotel will try their best to arrange for them to stay on the same floor. However the arrangement for Nadal’s huge entourage will be a tricky issue. “Nadal will be confirmed staying in a single room because he’s unattached.” The hotel’s operations manager added, “However, his entourage which has been confirmed to be a group of 15 will be coming down; including his parents, relatives and friends, we will need to provide them with at least 10 rooms.”
In comparison, Federer whom has arrived earlier has been pretty low-key. His mother, sister, coach and trainer etc up to about a group of 10 will be arriving separately over the next few days. Now, he only has his girlfriend/manager by his side, so he’s not easily spotted when going in and out of the hotel. “Mr Federer’s been feeling pretty relaxed staying here, he and his girlfriend went shopping at Prada last night,” the hotel operations manager smiled.
Players’ Favourites: Bananas and Dim Sum
Beside all the players, ATP officials, “Players & Home Of Tennis” staff and the sponsors will be staying at Hilton Hotel. The hotel will also be responsible for the food and beverages for all the players and VIPs at the Qi Zhong Tennis Stadium during the tournament. The hotel operations manager said, “This require us to provide high quality food and beverages for about 2,000 people everyday.” So the hotel arranged a group of 500 chefs, among them, 200 chefs are specially recruited for this tournament which includes the chefs from other Hilton branches, eg. Beijing, Chongqing etc, there’s also trainee chefs from other hotel schools in Shanghai.
The first meal Federer had upon his arrival was to have lunch with his girlfriend in the suite. Spring rolls, Italian spaghetti, and the hotel’s specialty: yoghurt cake, a very simple combination of the East and West.
Compared to exquisite food provided for the VIPs, the players’ food and beverages are very simple. Even though the hotel’s chefs comprises of chefs from 6 different countries etc, the chefs need not prepare French or Japanese food, the only dietary requirements are high in protein and nutrition. “If they have any special requests, the only special request would be after every meal, there must be a supply of bananas; a big basket of bananas,” the hotel operations manager revealed. “As at todate, 200 chefs have already set up a temporary kitchen at the tennis centre, 300 chefs will remain at Hilton Hotel. The workload will be massive too. We have estimated the required ingredients during the tournament to be between 25,000kg to 30,000kg.”
The first 3 days’ menu for the players have been released, beside breakfast, every meal will consist of 10 appetizers, 3 to 4 types of spaghetti, 3 types of roasted meat, grilled fish, 3 Chinese dishes, 3 Western dishes, 8 choices of desserts and a large quantity of salad and fresh fruits.
“Professional players’ food and beverages are very healthy, heavy sauces are normally not required for roasted meat. In consideration of their bland taste, we will provide a blander version of the Cantonese-style and Shanghai dim sum.”
Glutinous rice cakes, prawn dumplings, fresh pork wontons, Xiao-long baos and dumplings, these common dim-sum to us are all popular Chinese food with the players, thus they are a must-have on the buffet table.
It is a challenge to ensure food hygiene due to the enormous ingredients required. There has been a recent outspread of bird flu in Asia and China, will the players refrain from eating poultry?
“Not to worry.” The hotel operations manager expressed that the hotel will ensure fresh ingredients to be delivered everyday, and it’s from the suppliers approved by the authorities, plus the hotel have specially engaged a health doctor; 3 forms of guarantees, the players can set their minds at ease and enjoy their meals.
Border: 24 hours Inspection Gantry
From Sunday onwards, there will be an extra inspection gantry in front of Hilton hotel’s main entrance, this means that everyone coming in and out of the hotel – the players are already staying in the hotel, stringent safety measures will be taken.
“From the moment the players checked in, we will assign at least 1 security guard to be on duty around the clock on every floor they are staying.” In addition, the players’ private restroom inside the stadium will also have security guards on duty all day. The players’ dining area in the hotel will not be opened to the public, this stringent security measures are taken to ensure that the players’ private time will be uninterrupted, “so if the fans are thinking of trying their luck outside the stadium, sorry, they too will not have any chances.”
During the tournament, the hotel will be in full co-operation with the police, there will be a number of plainclothes policemen stationed nearby. “If the players encountered zealous fans while returning or leaving the hotel, the plainclothes policemen will help out to escort the players away, especially when they are going to the stadium, so that there will not be any delays for their matches and training.”
Sitting Next To Safin In The Bar
The tournament’s about to start, the hotel’s atmosphere is relaxed on the outside but uptight inside. There will definitely be a big group of journalists and fans, the hotel has a strategy – rather than being stiff, why not smile and welcome them.
Since year 2001, Shanghai’s Hilton hotel has always been the selected hotel accommodation for all ATP and WTA tournaments in Shanghai, including the year 2002 Masters Cup, Heineken Open and Polo Open, the hotel operations manager jokingly said, “We are already prepared for the large number of media and fans.”
When you stepped into the basement lobby, what welcomes you is a “Heineken Bar” with a bright blue and green theme. The striking colors signify the close link between here and tennis. The place is not big, a round-shaped bar counter, 4 to 5 tables, what grabs your attention instead is the big sign behind the bar counter, which list out the mug shots of the players and database, maybe even the players will drop by for a drink.
“Heineken Bar” was set up as a “resting place” for the media and tennis fans, so grab a seat and have a drink, maybe you might be sitting next to beer-lover Safin.