HOTELS: If you turned your lobby into a winery

8th Estate Winery

At Celebrating Life we like to think outside the box and to innovate for our clients by bringing cultural & entertainment concept where one would not necessarily expect them.

Being a director of the 8th Estate Winery, Hong Kong’s first and only winery, I’ve always thought we had here a unique concept that’s never been done in Asia. It has been exceptionally well received by Hong Kong residents and we have many fans.

“8th Estate Winery has grown into a brand Hong Kong can truly call its own. Each wine is unique and represents the vision and skill of Lysanne Tusar and her talented team.  With China and the Asia Pacific region at its doorstep, 8th Estate is poised for success.” Zeb Eckert – Host, Bloomberg TV

“Against all expectations, the 8th Estate team manages to produce vintage after vintage of delicious and attractive wines in what must surely be the world’s only high-rise winery.  Coupling their commitment to quality with a picturesque barrel room, scenic terrace and hospitable tasting room, 8th Estate Winery has become one of Hong Kong’s most popular wine events venues.” Debra Meiburg – Master of Wine

8th Estate Winery

Now wouldn’t it be nice if instead of being in an industrial building in Ap Lei Chau – which looks amazing by the way with our own terrace overlooking Lamma Island – we could be in the heart of the city so that everyone can enjoy and share our passion for wine, food, music, art and life.

I started dreaming and this is how the idea of turning a hotel lobby into a winery came up. Yes you read well, a lobby into a winery! Here is how we propose to break a few rules and reinvent the hotel lobby concept:

  • Create a completely new sense of arrival with guests stepping into an active production facility (behind glass windows) where they can see – probably for the first time – wine being made in real time.
  • Acquire a unique competitive edge with a story everyone – including media – will want to hear (our Hong Kong winery receives 2-3 media inquiries daily).
  • Turn your lobby into one of the most interesting venues in town for a private party, corporate function or intimate evening of entertainment.
  • Engage with your community by organizing a variety of live performances and cultural activities, wine tasting seminars and winemaking classes.
  • Enrich your hotel reward program with great benefits: make your own private-label wine, etc.
  • Become instantly the preferred hotel for weddings with private label wines made at the hotel and one of the best settings for wedding pictures.
  • Generate revenue from ‘dead’ hotel space by turning your lobby into a production facility for wine to be sold at the hotel and around town.

What do you think? Would you like an 8th Estate Winery at your local hotel?

Celebrating Life puts your destination on the map with concepts development and content management

Celebrating Life is a total destination building company specialized in Asian markets. They provide end-to-end solutions and advisory services for clients in travel, hospitality, retail, leisure and entertainment. Celebrating Life does research, feasibility studies, concepts development, cultural & entertainment content management and digital marketing. In short, they put your destination on the map.

Whether you are looking for a leisure & entertainment concept to position your development, generate more traffic for your retail or simply find a smart way to generate revenues from vacant space, they will develop the right concept for you, based on your target audience.

Celebrating Life consultants always start with a workshop to come up with a positioning, vision and story line for your destination, which will flow through their different concept proposals (incl. technical requirements, key success factors, etc).

They also work with strategic partners to make the best cultural & entertainment content available for your destination. Here are a few examples of concepts available for China.


Dinos Rock by NeWorks: an exciting show attraction experience to discover the world of cute dinosaurs and educate children from 3 – 12 years about conservation and instill moral values of love of life and friendship.

Rare Bears by NeWorks – A live show experience about 3 bears who are best friends. They talk about themselves, their families, their lifestyles and their homes. It focuses on protection of endangered animals and suitable for children from 3 – 7 years.


City Memories Museum

City Memories Museum

City Memories Museum©: a different kind of culture museum, a unique and engaging experience, a lifestyle offering celebrating all things from the city and a contemporary interpretation of the city’s heritage and culture.

Digital Arts Exhibits

Digital Arts Exhibits

Digital Arts Exhibits by Culturespaces: unique multimedia shows on world-famous artists designed to provide a sensory approach of art for all.


Walibi Indoor

Walibi Indoor: an exceptional visitor’s experience granted by a music-based storyline, innovative and attractive walking characters, and distinctive atmosphere through original music. The only theme park where YOU are the hero.


8th Estate Winery

8th Estate Winery

8th Estate© Winery: we have created something no one else has in Asia: a fully functional urban winery. A vibrant, interactive space where local residents and tourists can indulge their passion for wine, food, music, art and life.

All Star Lanes

All Star Lanes

All Star Lanes: boutique bowling offering quality food, dramatic ambience, hot bar, private lounge, great music and art. Bringing people together in a high energy, fashionable environment whilst procuring simple, back-to-basics pleasures.

Wanda gives $20M to Academy Museum: reading between the lines

On 17th Sept Variety reported the Wanda Group – owner of AMC Theaters – gave $20 million to the Academy and Motion Pictures Museum in Los Angeles. In return the Chinese group will get its name on the museum’s film history gallery: the Wanda Gallery.

I don’t know what to make of that piece of news.

I think it’s great that a Chinese company investing in the US does it responsibly and invests in the arts and community. Maybe this shows the management of AMC Theaters have influence on the new owners.

But surely there must be some other reason. I can think of many other ways Wanda could spend $20 million with a better return. This move is definitely strategic.

– Wanda is on ‘soft power’ mission to change the image of China overseas. With AMC Theater they have their foot in the North American door but they now need to push for the Wanda (and the China) brand, which the Wanda Gallery does in the Hollywood world.

– Wanda has ambitious plans with its Cultural Tourism Cities back home and I am sure they would want to have their own movie museum in one (or several) of them. This deal gives them access to museum expertise and possibly a collection.

Do you agree? What do you say?

If you love San Francisco, vote for Lucas!

Lucas Cultural Arts Museum

Lucas Cultural Arts Museum

Later today on the website of the Presidio Trust will be listed the finalists for the chance to build a “cultural institution of distinction” in the heart of San Francisco’s iconic park.

In an article in the New York Times, Deborah Salomon describes the 3 projects, which are believed to make it to the last round:

1. Lucas Cultural Arts Museum: a $700M project by Geroges Lucas the creator of Star Wars, which brings together 21st century digital art and its 20th century antecedents.

2. The Bridge/Sustainability Institute: a 21st century interactive version of a science fair with introduction to organic farming, etc

3. Presidio Exchange (PX) by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy: a collective of 30 different groups utilizing the space

It seems the proposal from Lucas was “stalled” in the past by the staff of the Presidio Trust and I wonder how because clearly it’s by far the best proposal and it needs to win. This is why:

– A city like San Francisco should keep celebrating its great people. Who does not admire Lucas for what he brought to the cinema industry?

– You don’t turn down a proposal worth $700M shortly after another US city – Detroit – is threatened to close one of its great cultural institutions (Detroit Institute of Arts).

– A museum of this nature with a great story line celebrating amazing US artists (incl. Norman Rockwell) will be beautiful material for schools and provide a unique ‘sense of place’ for tourists.

Now I won’t even go through the loopholes of the other two proposals but organic farming, really? And who still believes in collective creative compounds? It’s always failed and it will always do.

So for all of you living and loving San Francisco, do yourself a favor and VOTE for Lucas!

Shanghai History Museum

So I was in Shanghai last week for the 2nd Theme Park & Resorts World Conference and took advantage of my week there to visit some of the attractions and museums. I wanted to get a feel for the offering and the market mix.

The Shanghai History Museum is located in the podium of the Oriental Pearl Tower. Entrance is usually included in the combo ticket or RMB35 (US$5.7) for the museum only. It reminded me of the Hong Kong History Museum and Images of Singapore in that it is a bit old school with wax displays showing the life in the old days, building models and lots of theming. No interactivity at all.

This short video demonstrates that, regardless of the content, what matters the most for Chinese tourists is the photo opportunity. Watch and you will see. Enjoy!

Quote of the Day by Richard Florida

“The availability of a wide mix of cultural attractions is the signal that a place ‘gets it’ – that it embraces the culture of the Creative Age.” Richard Florida

BOOK REVIEW: How Creativity is Changing China by Li Wuwei

Photo by Stufish Architecture

Photo by Stufish Architecture

Recently I have grown an interest for cultural entertainment and in view of my upcoming trip to China I was keen on learning more about what it meant there. I read about Wanda’s Tourism Cultural Cities popping up everywhere and I wanted to understand what big idea and political reality lies behind this (apparent) sudden urge for cultural things.

So I looked on amazon for books related to cultural entertainment, soft power and creativity in China and bought a couple. The first is by Li Wuwei, who is regarded as the leading spokesperson on the cultural and creative industries in China and it’s called How Creativity is Changing China.

Because Li Wuwei is an economist and senior policy advisor his approach is quite theoretical at first. But he is also an independent thinker and therefore comes up with some thought-provocative perspective at times, which I found explained a lot of what is happening in China.


Li Wuwei spends time explaining the transformation of the Chinese economy and the need for industries using less perishable resources, which integrate with other industries in ways that create more value and growth opportunity. This is where creative industries fit in.

When applied to tourism, he explains that creative tourism “seeks to apply creative strategies to transform tangible and intangible resources into marketable products [   ] it establishes a cross-sector, multi-level industrial chain by expanding the range of activities and attractions and by taking the initiative to integrate with primary and secondary industries”.

When applied to cities, he explains that “creative cities are nourished by creative industries while creative industries flourish in the appropriate environment provided by the creative cities”.

Towards the end of the book Li Wuwei establishes the basis of a creative society and agrees with Richard Florida’s idea that “Today, the terms of competition revolve around a central axis: a nation’s ability to mobilize, attract and retain human creative talent”.


Beyond the economic reality of industrial transformation, Li Wuwei explains how creativity will impact the lives of Chinese people and much of it is linked to urban development and creative communities. He says for example that “Creativity plays a key role in shaping a city’s cultural atmosphere and city branding. It can also help improve the quality of urban life”.

A bit further he goes “The various experiential products, a kind of integration of entertainment culture, leisure culture and fashion culture, are advocating a fashionable trend of ‘bringing art to life and life to art [   ]. These products are creating a new lifestyle and have improved people’s quality of life”. He gives the example of Xintiandi on Shanghai blending history and culture and offering a place of nostalgia for the elderly and fashion for the young.

In tourism Li Wuwei recognizes a “shift from the era of mass tourism to the era of mass leisure and now to the era of personal experience”.


For me the biggest impact of creativity is on culture. Going back to Richard Florida’s point, the challenge of China as a leading nation is the attractiveness of its image and culture, what Li Wuwei refers to as soft power. He recognizes that cultural resources are underutilized and creativity is meant to leverage them.

Starting with cities, culture contributes to their competitive advantage by providing them with uniqueness, personality and charm. Then Li Wuwei adds “And China is more powerfully placed as a rising power because of the many fledgling creative cities”.

So here is what I take from this reading: China needs to retain its creative talents with increasing creative communities and a new urban lifestyle (personal note: this explains the obsession with cultural entertainment in real estate developments) to leverage its culture and further develop its soft power therefore consolidating its leadership.