REFILE-Top Paris hotels woo rich Chinese with tea, noodles

Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:52am EST

(Corrects date to Dec 14)

By Pascale Denis

PARIS Dec 14 (Reuters) - Top French hotels are offering extra touches such as dried noodles and a bigger tea selection to attract affluent Chinese tourists who prefer to stay in cheaper lodgings near the airport when they visit Paris to shop.

According to the Boston Consulting Group, wealthy Chinese visitors to the French capital use 20 percent of their trip budgets for accommodation and blow twice as much on shopping - the opposite of Americans' spending patterns.

"The priority is to return home with material signs of affluence - they're not very interested in the intangibles," said BCG associate Jean-Marc Bellaiche.

Even well-off Chinese tourists often choose to sleep in two-star hotels near Charles de Gaulle airport and travel into Paris to shop, Bellaiche said.

But the plusher Paris establishments are eyeing a bigger share of their spending, which typically amounts to 15,000-20,000 euros ($20,000-$26,000) per trip, according to Global Blue, a tax-free shopping services provider.

The five-star Plaza Athenee on Avenue Montaigne has hired a translator to assist Chinese guests with wine-tastings from the hotel's 40,000-bottle cellar.

Packets of noodles and chilli sauce have been added to minibars, Managing Director Francois Delahaye said. "It's also very important to have tea available day or night." ($1 = 0.7641 euros) (Editing by Erica Billingham)

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