Chinese businesses toning down the bling

Chinese businesses toning down the bling
This five-star hotel in Dalian is considering a downgrade to four stars.

DALIAN, China - President Xi Jinping's frugality campaign for public servants is prompting many hotels and other businesses to remove symbols of luxury and adopt more modest facades.

Jin Jiang Fu Yuan Hotel in Beijing, which was a five-star hotel until last year, no longer carries any stars -- a response to the city of Beijing's move to ban the use of five-star hotels for conferences. The hotel is still a high-end accommodation with an Olympic-size pool and four restaurants, but it now touts practicality.

In central Dalian, a local hotel is considering downgrading from five stars to four. "As a four-star hotel, prices may go down slightly but we can secure group guests such as public school students on a field trip or state-owned-company employees undergoing training," a staffer said.

A hotel rating committee in Shanghai said at the end of December that there were 255 star-rated hotels, down from 273 six months earlier. The number had never fallen before.

In 2013, 56 five-star hotels across China applied for downgrades, according to Chen Miaolin, vice chairman of the China Tourism Association. The number of such applications climbed even bigger last year. In many cases, however, they could not downgrade because of opposition from local governments and tourism associations, Chen said.

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