That grand old dame of Hong Kong hospitality, the Mandarin Oriental, closes its doors at 1pm today after a farewell toast among staff. Over the next eight months the building will undergo a US$140 million renovation. The hotel has served its fair share of stars and famous guests since 1963. The many long-serving employees have more stories than we could ever fit into this column, but here are a few favourites: Giovanni Valenti Chief concierge; at the hotel for 26 years 'We once had a request from a guest who wanted to order 999 yellow roses and have them placed in the suite before arrival to surprise his wife for their honeymoon. When the couple arrived, we didn't just place yellow roses in the room but arranged for a bunch of staff, each holding a single rose, to be lined up from the lift lobby to the entrance of the suite. When they came out of the elevator, one by one, we handed the roses to the lady. She was so thrilled. Then, once she opened the door of the suite and saw all the yellow roses, she screamed and jumped into the arms of her new husband. The happiness was contagious!' Yves Matthey Head pastry chef; at the hotel for 25 years 'One of the nicest things I was ever asked to do was place a diamond engagement ring inside a chocolate so that a guest could propose to his fiance. I wrapped the diamond in tissue paper, covered it in chocolate cream and placed it inside the chocolate. I was so afraid that the diamond would break her teeth, but luckily she bit the tissue and found the ring before any damage could be done.' Danny Lai Executive assistant manager; at the hotel for 32 years 'The Queen of Denmark often comes to stay and she is constantly escorted by police and bodyguards. When we serve these high-profile guests, I have to wait on them 24 hours a day from a tiny room near their suite; everything comes through me. On one of her stays, the queen tried to escape her police escort and ran into one of the lifts. She must have wanted to get away and experience the city on her own. I saw her leave and ran after her across the road. Soon we were both being chased by a team of police ... In the end, she just wanted to go over to The Landmark to shop. 'Also recently, we had a local guest book suite 1818. Apparently, 26 years ago he had his wedding here and booked the same room as their bridal suite because 1818 is a lucky Chinese number. When he learned we were closing, he booked the same suite again for this year's wedding anniversary and a trip down memory lane. He also booked the harbour-view room next door for their daughter, who they told on arrival in the suite 'this is the room you were made in'!' Peter French General manager 'I think my favourite Mandarin Oriental memory has yet to take place. It will be autumn 2006 when we reopen this grand dame that we all love, restored and rejuvenated. The best part will be seeing the faces of my team, because this is not just my project, it is theirs too. They have inspired extraordinary trust and loyalty from our guests over the past 42 years with their irreplaceable personalities, creating moments and memories of delight. It is all 820 of them that will create the Mandarin Oriental memories of the future.'