Maggie's room at the top
FINDING a room in which to sleep in the wee hours of July 1, 1997, after a night of heady celebrations will prove impossible for many, given that some top hotels are as vulnerable to demolition and extinction as certain species of expatriates. We are reliably informed that only one person has been guaranteed a bed at the Mandarin on that special night. Margaret Thatcher has a reservation for a $22,000 a night suite on the top floor.
Everyone else is on a growing waiting list because hotel chiefs are awaiting Beijing's answer on the number of Chinese officials who will also be staying. Whether Deng Xiaoping achieves his longtime wish to lead the ceremonies will depend on his health. Given that the territory's fate was sealed by Mrs Thatcher signing the Joint Declaration with Mr Deng in 1984, a reunion in the Mandarin would seem fitting. Or would it?