Just a quick note.
One issue we anticipated was the selection of foods I would be able to safely eat. The Disney Hollywood Hotel in Hong Kong was no real trouble at all; I mentioned the issue to one of the hostesses who led me to ‘Debbie” and she made sure I was comfortable with selections open to me. When we got to Guangzhou & the China Hotel it started off with a little more difficulty but help quickly arrived.
We chose to get the Executive Upgrade to our room which for, I think it was roughly $30 more a day ($15 each for Sue and I) this gives you a few extra perks; one of which is access to the Executive Lounge where there are various buffet style offerings from 6am – 12 midnight daily. Having most all our breakfasts there as well as a light night time meal more than made up for the additional cost compared to what we would have to pay finding someplace to eat outside or at the more expensive buffet restaurant in the hotel. You can read more about our experience with the Executive upgrade HERE. I highly recommend the upgrade.
Our first day at the hotel and breakfast in the lounge I just stuck with the breakfast basics; eggs, bacon, ham, and avoided anything else. That night, for the second meal, dinner, I ventured over to one of the chefs and tried to ask his help; the poor guy had no idea what I was trying to say and I could see he was sorry about that. He passed me on to one of the hostesses and that worked better but not great. I tried to explain things I had to avoid, she did sort of understand and brought me to the salad bar and gave me a salt & pepper shaker to use as an additional bonus. So I made a salad.
What she or someone else did do though, unbeknownst to me, was bring my issue to a manager. We had read that The Marriott’s made sure to have English speaking managers on hand and while I was returning to my table with the salad I was approached by the Assistant Executive Lounge Manager Yourick ‘t Gilde
who asked me some questions, made note that Gluten Free offerings were generally difficult to accommodate in China because it isn’t a wide spread concern there, and offered to write something I could present to make my concerns known wherever we went to eat; it worked wonderfully. As it turns out Yourick is from Nederland and has a brother over there who is Gluten intolerant as well. In Nederland there is widespread knowledge and resources available to him but, when he has come to visit his brother in China it has been much more of a struggle. As such Yourick knows intimately well the issues involved and is perfectly aware of how to make others in China aware; this is what he gave me.
Click HERE for a larger version to save to your device or print up
A couple days later we were in their Cafe Veranda, a buffet style restaurant, and presented the note to one of the hostesses. She immediately understood and called someone over who guided me easily through their selections. And again an English speaking Manager, David Nebehay, came over to me afterwards eager to help in any way I needed; even went so far as to place a order with a supplier for some gluten free goods for me during our stay.
Today we made a trip to Lemondrops former home, the Bao’on Orphanage, where they had prepared quite the feast for us to enjoy. I knew looking at it though that there wouldn’t be much I would feel brave enough to just try my luck. I gave the note from Yourick to our guide who showed the note to their cook and she confirmed my suspicions; Out of everything the white rice, soup and Bok choy were all I could have – all tasty I might add, and I didn’t have to chance it and get sick or do totally without and starve!
So, if you find yourself in China and need to make someone aware of your gluten free needs, please feel free to save a copy of this image and print it up.
Oh, and if you ever get to the Executive Lounge at the China Marriott, thank Yourick and give him my best.
Have a magical Day!