Nicole C. Wong, a Boston Globe reporter covering the business of travel, recently returned from her first trip to China. She was most impressed by the safety precautions in her room:
A lady whose head and neck were completely covered by a crinkled Mylar gas mask just glared at me. Her piercing eyes popped off the quart-size canister stashed in my hotel room’s closet.
This is the just-opened Aloft Beijing, a hip brand launched over the summer by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, located on the outskirts of Beijing’s university and high-tech district.
Each airy guestroom featured a sunlit shower and a 42-inch LCD flatscreen television that streams music from your iPod, photos from your digital camera, and videos from your laptop.
The lobby pulsated with Skittle-color pillows and nightclubby neon stripes. I made a reservation at Aloft Beijing precisely because I knew what I’d find.
The canister, which Aloft only provides in Beijing to meet China’s standards, contained a ‘Fire Fighting Filter Type Self-Saving Breather.’
And it came with this handy step-by-step ‘method of application’:
1. Take out the fire fighting filter type self-saving breather.
2. Tear at the packaging bag of the fire fighting filter type self-saving breather.
3. Wear helmet and pull contractive belt fast.
5. Choose way and flee for your life decidedly.
Fabulous, I was all set to escape. Now if only I could recognize the Mandarin word shouted for ‘fire.’