Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver Celebrates Chinese New Year By Welcoming Tea Master

Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver is ready to ring in the Year of the Goat with an exciting addition to its team. The hotel is thrilled to welcome Che Huadong, tea master and trained expert in the arts of Kung Fu Tea and Chinese Face Changing Opera. The start of the Lunar New Year provides an auspicious occasion to welcome Huadong to his new home at Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver, and to showcase these traditional performance arts that are rarely seen outside of China. On 19 February, 2015, the hotel’s Chinese New Year festivities will include a traditional Eye-Dotting Ceremony and Lion Dance in the lobby, starting at 11:00 a.m., followed by Huadong’s premier performances of the Chinese Face Changing Opera and Kung Fu Tea show in Xi Shi Lounge.

Under the private tutelage of mentors and well-respected sifus – masters of Chinese martial arts – Huadong spent three years perfecting his Kung Fu tea skills in his hometown of Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province of China. Kung Fu tea originated in the Sichuan province as a way to pour hot water in crowded tea houses. It was during the Tang (618 – 907 AD) and Song (960 – 1279 AD) dynasties that Kung Fu tea shows became a fashionable leisure activity, a tradition that continues to this day.

During his training, Huadong studied the theory of tea, including its history and significance in Chinese culture, as well as proper tea handling and tasting techniques, to become a tea sommelier. With his 1.2 metre-long spouted teapot in hand, Huadong started his career with Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts in Chengdu, and had the opportunity to work and perform with Shangri-La properties in Manila, Fiji, and Abu Dhabi, before coming to Canada.

In addition to Kung Fu tea, Huadong is accomplished in the art of the Face Changing Opera, a theatrical performance that originated at the beginning of the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) in the Sichuan province. During a Face Changing Opera performance, custom masks of various patterns and colours are worn to represent well-known characters from Chinese folktales, each with its own symbolism. Huadong will change masks up to nine times per performance, each revealed in the blink of an eye.

“Vancouver is a multicultural city with a thriving arts and culture scene, in addition to a rising interest in Asian arts,” said Kari Koskela, general manager of Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver. “As a destination for international travellers, we have an opportunity to connect visitors to this artistic community. For Vancouver residents and visitors alike, we hope that Huadong’s arrival will help shine a spotlight on the lesser known Chinese performance arts.”

Guests can view Huadong’s performances every Saturday and Sunday in Xi Shi Lounge at the following times:
· 1:00 p.m. Chinese Face Changing Opera
· 3:00 p.m. Kung Fu Tea Show*

*Guests can also enjoy shorter tableside Kung Fu Tea performances during afternoon tea service, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.

Advanced reservations are recommended, and can be made through OpenTable, or by calling 604 661 3353.

Xi Shi Lounge is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m, and until 2:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. The lounge is accessible through the hotel or via its direct entrance on Alberni Street. For more details on Xi Shi Lounge’s afternoon tea service, Kung Fu tea master, or live entertainment program, follow @ShangriLa_Van and #XiShiTeaMaster on Twitter and Instagram, or Like us on Facebook.
Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver is the first hotel in North America for Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, Asia Pacific’s leading luxury hotel group. Since opening its doors in January 2009, the 119-room hotel, located in downtown Vancouver, has been recognized for its facilities and service with distinctions that include being Vancouver’s only AAA Five Diamond hotel for 2015, 2014 and 2013, and being named the #1 City Hotel in Canada by Travel + Leisure Magazine (US) in their 2014 World’s Best Awards.

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