Qiao Dewei used the lights of an entire building to spell out “I (heart) U” to his wife on Valentine’s Day. PHOTO: WEIBO

An octogenarian in China surprised his wife with a message of love on the facade of a Hangzhou hotel on Valentine’s Day on Sunday (Feb 14).

The facade of The New Century Hotel in Hangzhou, China, while it was being lit up with Qiao’s message. PHOTO: Weibo

Images of the couple kissing in front of the 47-storey hotel went viral on Chinese microblogging service Weibo on Sunday.

According to an article on the Daily Mail, the couple said that they’ve “never done anything romantic, or said ‘I love you'”. PHOTO: Weibo

Initial reports claimed that Mr Qiao Dewei, 84, booked about two hundred hotel rooms to make this extravagant gesture.

He told his wife Liu Shixiu, 82, that he loved her as they took photos in front of the hotel in wedding attire.

The hotel room was dressed up with red bedsheets (an auspicious colour for Chinese weddings) and petals, to celebrate the couple’s diamond anniversary. PHOTO: Weibo

It was the first time she had donned a wedding gown and the first time he professed his love in public.

Later, a report by Chongqing Wanbao clarified that the romantic light-up was sponsored by the hotel, which kept its 220 rooms vacant, so Qiao’s message could be screened.

It was arranged by their grandson, a branding executive, and cost nothing, the report said.

He hit upon the idea with the hotel manager, who thought it was a creative way to promote the hotel while helping the couple celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Friends chipped in with the bridal gown and tuxedo, and the photography.

Owing to the age of the couple, the whole shoot took only 30 minutes, the report said.

The couple, who have been married for 67 years, did not have a wedding ceremony.

This story was first featured in The Straits Times on February 16, 2016.