Somewhere to unwind in Beijing? Here are the top spa hotels.
If you’re looking for the most amazing hotels in Shanghai, then look no more. Here are the most stunning, highest rated, five-star hotels in central Shanghai.
These are my picks for the best of the best. This list is shared with GoShopShanghai.com here the top five-star hotels in Shanghai.
The Peninsula Shanghai
Area: Downtown Shanghai, Shanghai
Located near Huangpu Park and the river of the same name it offers a fantastic position central to major attractions of the Bund, Pudong, and Nanjing Road. The hotel itself consistently recieves the highest reviews and the hotel is famous for its spectacular roo-top bar. It also features everything you’d expect in a world-class five star hotel.
Xi’an was one of my favorite destinations and I place I highly recommend to anyone touring China. You can read more about my journey here. These are top rated hotels in Xi’an that are also convenient to all the major attractions such as the Drum and Bell Towers, the Mosque, City Wall and so on, also they are highly suitable for foreign visitors. For the Terracotta Warriors, no matter which hotel, you’ll need to organise transport, for which the concierge at these hotels will be able to assist.
The first time in China can be an entrancing experience, put together the mysticism of Asian culture, the buzz of the staggeringly large number of people, the sheer size and scale of everything, and you’ll probably be on a starry-eyed traveler high for a while. But, undoubtedly at some point you’ll have to come back to earth, this a guide to help you to not come crashing back!
A different kind of manners – the west and east has a different style of domestication, learn to live with it, because you’re not going to change the social norms of 1 billion+ people. There’s almost an every man for themselves attitude whilst not rocking the boat approach, for example, it’s oddly OK to push in front of someone else as long as it’s done peacefully and respectfully. This lack of orderliness and queue jumping can really infuriate western travelers, particularly tired ones who I have often seen dish out a piece of their mind, and it’s for sure got to me on occasions. Just roll with it, or stand aside and offer the way to person in a rush, likely they probably smile back and offer you the way in return. So, golden rule, it’s every man for themselves, whilst, maintaining harmony, but as a foreigner it’s best to err on the side of graciousness and offer them the way. Although, if you are in the circle of family or friends, or you are seen as an ATM, you’ll probably be shown a very high level of courtesy.
Initially, I’d only booked two nights at the Pousada Marina Infante Hotel and when I got around to asking to extend for another night, the price had doubled, bugger. So it was onto the online accommodation sites again and this time cTrip had the best deal.
The Ole London Hotel was the cheapest option listed and looked reasonable, its located on the main part of Macau and very close to Macau’s Historic area.
All the taxi drivers know the place by its English name too, which is handy, and the place is right next door to the Best Western Sun Sun. The hotel is a bit of a walk to the major casinos like Lisboa, Wynn or the MGM Grand, but it’s only about 17HKD in a taxi (less than $3 aud). There’s also a bus stop nearby.
Accommodation in Macau is nowhere near as cheap as the mainland, and can even be on par with western hotel prices during busy periods. After searching Hotel Club, eLong and Ctrip to find the cheapest, most reasonable hotel in Macau, at the time, Hotel Club ended up having the best deal and I stayed at the Pousada Marina Infante Hotel Macau. Accommodation in Macau is a little like Hong Kong in that you need to book in advance to get really good deals.
The hotel is located on Taipa Island so its a little way from central Macau and the casinos like the Grand Lisboa, Wynn, Sands or MGM, but it’s close to the Venetian, The Plaza and the City of Dreams or what’s often referred to as the Cotai Strip.
Formerly known as the Dorsett Olympic Hotel, the place has 141 rooms and is located on Anchor St at the northern end of Kowloon in the area known as Tai Kok Tsui. It’s well back from the main attraction of the Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour but close to Mong Kok which will please shoppers.
To their credit, they run a free shuttle bus at regular intervals from morning through into the night. The shuttle bus is a modern 21 seater that stops off at the nearby MTR station, it also runs through to the Dorsett Seaview Hotel and to the airport.
I found and booked this place via the cTrip website and it seemed to be a reasonable compromise between price and comfort at just under 200RMB ($31AUD) and still in the Nanshan District of Shenzhen. I stayed here just before heading over to Hong Kong.
The place isn’t really close to anything, but at the same time it’s not too expensive to get a taxi to anywhere you need to go. If you after reasonable budget accommodation in Nanshan it’s probably worth checking the rates.
The place is starting to show its age but for a budget price it passes ok. The rooms are kept clean, but the carpets in the room I had graced a few stains. Otherwise everything works, the shower is clean, plenty of pressure and hot water and free toiletries included (toothbrush, soap, comb, etc.).
The Holiday Inn is an American hotel chain, so, it’s guaranteed that the prices are going to be higher than your run of the mill Chinese hotel. But what do you get for the extra cost?
For a start, the Holiday Inn Donghua in Nanshan District is clean, like, western style clean and has western style service with attention to detail, and all the staff seemed to speak some level of English. Don’t get me wrong, I love roughing it in China, but sometimes the sense of familiarity is comforting.
Shenzhen is an interesting city as it is another city that tells a story about the Chinas economic transformation. Shenzhen was not much more than a fishing village until about thirty years ago when a man named Deng Xiaoping had taken the reins as China’s leader from Mao Zedong in 1978.
Deng Xiaoping had a very different view of macroeconomics from his predecessor and introduced the concepts of free market theory and capitalism, gathered from his visits to the west, that is the foundation of Chinas current success.
I booked the New Asia Hotel through HotelClub and at the time it was pretty cheap, and for the location, it was far cheaper than anything that was close to the Bund, Nanjing Rd and so on.
So I wasn’t expecting much, not for the price, but I was surprised to find that this was a quality hotel, it’s not new by any means, but it has English speaking staff, it’s clean and tasteful.
The hotel also features a bar and a restaurant on the ground floor and another restaurant which serves a buffet breakfast. I ate at the ground floor restaurant twice and enjoyed a tasty meal of fried eel and dumpling soup, on another occasion I ate a simple fried rice, both were good. The buffet breakfast is great value and comes with some real friendly and welcoming staff.
The first thing that struck me about the Redwall Hotel was the incredible service provided by the concierge team. As soon as I put my foot on the steps of the hotel there was someone bounding out the front door to help with my luggage and escort me to the reception to check in.
Oddly, and to my benefit, the concierge even helped out in securing the best rate possible and matching the Ctrip price which initially the reception desk was unable to do.
The hotel is starting to show some age, the rooms are kept very clean and are well maintained with everything working as it should. Unfortunately, the same cant be said about the restaurant, it’s rubbish, the food is average and the place looks like it hasn’t had a decent clean in years, it really lets the rest of the hotel down. The breakfast is acceptable though, and reasonably priced by Beijing standards, but I’m sure better could be found if you were prepared to travel away from the hotel.
Stupidly, I hadn’t booked a hotel when I went to Xi’an and by the time I got on the bus from the airport I was starting to get a little nervous. Fortunately, as I got off the bus in the center of Xi’an it stops right out the front of the Melody Hotel. I walked straight in and booked a room, probably paying twice what I would have had I booked via the net….
The hotel is quite conveniently located right in the center of the city and it’s straight across the road from the Drum Tower, walking distance to the Mosque and the markets, walking distance to the Bell Tower and much more. Whilst it’s not sparkling new by any means, the rooms are comfortable, clean and many have great views towards the Drum Tower.
The Traffic Hotel is located south of central Chengdu alongside the Nanhe River. Right next door to the hotel is the Xinnanmen Bus Station (Tourism Passenger Transport Centre) which is the Chengdu’s main bus station with services to many long distance destinations like Emei, Leshan, Jiuzhaigou and many more places in Sichuan Province.
The Traffic Hotel/Inn (previously the Communications Hotel?) sits somewhere between being a hotel and a backpackers hostel. Some rooms feature shower and toilet and other rooms just have a toilet. Common use showers are available on each floor. The rooms are basic but clean.
Booking over the phone with Ctrip
I hadn’t sighted the hotel prior to booking but at the time there wasn’t much choice as there was a major conference on in town and accommodation was hard to find. That’s where Ctrip, the China-based travel booking service, saved the day once again.
You can book accommodation, flights and more travel services with Ctrip either via the Internet or via phone. As I found out later they do have an English booking service over the phone too, but in this case, my kind new friend Ran had done the hard work and saved the day by arranging a place to stay.
When I came to Chengdu it really was a blessing to find this place. Let alone being my first time in Chengdu, it was my first time in China too. So I was really keen to find somewhere safe, friendly and hopefully with someone who speaks English to help this dumb foreigner!
When I made it there and walked up towards the door for the first time the concierge lept forward from inside swinging the doors open and greeting me with a big ‘hello, sir’, which was kinda comforting, as I walked through the door I thought, wow, this place is pretty neat. The lobby floor looks like polished marble, the timber work is exquisite and there is a massive piece of what looks like hand-sewn artwork behind the reception desk.