First Lunar New Year at Impiana Senai

Since the Impiana Hotel opened in Senai last October, I have been back on invitation to review their food and the hotel.

Impiana Hotel Senai celebrates their first Lunar New Year
When I was invited to join them for their first Lunar New Year celebration, I looked at my schedule and saw that it was the second invite for the same time on the same day!

[I later received two more similar invitations for that same day for about the same time and guessed it must be an auspicious day on the lunar calendar!]

It’s impossible to attend all four events – unless I have a clone of myself – so I must decide on one.

The Lunar New Year calls for serious celebrations with much feasting and as I’ve had my fill of food-tasting and grand banquets with friends and family, food is usually the least important item on my list at such events.

Skillful pole-dancing 'lions' at the
front courtyard of Impiana Hotel Senai
I’m familiar with the smooth drive from Johor Baru to Senai via the Skudai Highway with a U-Turn after the town, which takes me to Senai’s first business-class hotel.

For the day’s event, the front courtyard is clear of vehicles and in its place, a row of metal poles are arranged for the auspicious lion dance performance.

A security personnel waves me in the direction of the underground carpark where I gratefully park my car in the cool shade and take the elevator to the lobby.

As I step out of the elevator, two things meet my eyes: To my left, mandarin oranges arranged on the floor in Chinese characters – it must be an auspicious phrase – and on my right, a round table set up with a giant prosperity Yee Sang platter designed with an image of a puppy.

The timing is perfect because I can hear drum beats echoing loudly in the front courtyard. I should head out there quickly but ear-shattering explosions from traditional fire crackers stop me in my tracks!

As the smoke clears, I join the crowd outside, along with guests, hotel owner, senior management and staff, the majority of whom are dressed in auspicious Red outfits.

Prosperity Yee Sang platter designed with
the image of a puppy for the Year of the Dog
The drumming continues while all eyes are on a pair of prancing ‘lions’ from the Wen-Ching Kelapa Sawit Lion Dance Troop, which skillfully scales up the poles and performs exciting acrobatic stunts to the delight of the audience.

Mesmerized by the drum beats, I watch the lions’ deft movements as they dance skillfully on the pole-tops and marvel at how these wushu artistes have trained hard to portray themselves as lions.

In the finale, we watch with bated breath as the two lions unfurl two scrolls (hung from the tops of the poles) written with Chinese couplets that announce auspicious wishes for the Lunar New Year.

The two lions then move indoors to the entrance of The Tiffin, the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant, where the platter of prosperity Yee Sang is set up for the traditional Lo Hei, salad tossing ceremony.

No, neither the chef nor the staff uttered any auspicious phrases while adding on the topping ingredients to the giant platter of Yee Sang, so we – I was among the ‘tossers’ here – contributed our wishes to Impiana Hotel Senai for a prosperous year ahead!

Group shot after tossing of the prosperity Yee Sang platter
It’s a simple but significant event where the hotel hosted their first Lunar New Year celebration with special guests from the Saleng Handicapped Children and Old Folks Home.

During the buffet lunch in The Tiffin, these special guests received hong bao or red packets from KCC Group of Companies’ executive director, Ker Soon Yong.

With key elements of the Lunar New Year like traditional firecrackers, lion dancing, Yee Sang tossing and hong bao presentations, festive cheer prevails throughout the celebration.

KCC Group's executive director, Ker Soon Yong,
presenting hong bao to the event's special guests
And not forgetting the auspicious Chinese dishes in the Lunar New Year theme prepared by Chinese Chef Tam Chi Sen that I help myself to from the buffet spread in The Tiffin!

At the dining table, I meet new friends and have fun sharing with them about how Lunar New Year celebrations in Johor do not end after the 15th day of the first lunar calendar but traditionally continues on until the 22nd day, after the Johor Chingay is over.

Happy Lunar New Year!  May this be the first of many celebrations to come at Impiana Hotel Senai!

Impiana Hotel Senai is at Jalan Impian Senai Utama 2, Taman Impian Senai, 81400 Senai, Johor. Tel: +607 – 595 8899. Visit website:

No comments:

Post a Comment