Well, what can I say, it’s brand new, only been open for a couple of months and it shows. Despite a steady inflow of tourists it still suffers teething problems, most of them are staff related, some of them are build quality related.
There are only a couple of flights to Changbaishan, so besides the occasional bus, the flight arrivals should be known and predictable. Our flight was delayed by 4 hours and we arrived at the hotel close to 2AM. The hotel shuttle bus was waiting at the airport so that’s fine, but the front desk had forgotten about the bus load of passengers, resulting in 30 odd weary travellers and 1 half asleep front desk employee who had no clue. Not a pretty sight.
Rooms: The rooms are good. All you need for a skiing vacation. Bathtub, warm water, big bed, and a view of…the lobby entrance on the back of the building. Which I don’t really mind, just having a room at the far end of the hallway also seems to mean shoddy wifi reception, time outs, disconnects, etc. There is an internet cable that works fine, but for a brand new hotel, with hotel wide wifi, this is annoying.
Build quality, the hotel has been open a couple of months and already there are cracks in the ceilings, the towel rack in the bathroom is already sagging, the maintenance hatch to the bathtub doesn’t stay closed properly. The swimming pool staircase handrail is loose. The first chipped tiles can be seen in the pool.
Silicone kit has been applied generously everywhere, including to the bathroom curtain. All typical for Chinese build standards and not a disaster, though I feel for Holiday Inn because in 3 years from now this place will be roadkill.
Amenities: The pool is awesome. If you miss out on the pool you’ve wasted an opportunity. The water is nicely warm and a good soak after a day of swimming really helps. That said….why do we have to wear swimming caps? Come on, you’re supposed to be a new 5 star hotel. Finally the gym is missing all the weights, and your choices are limited to 2 treadmills, a bicycle and a skippy ball. The kids activity rooms were “temporary closed”.
Food: Edible, definitely geared towards a Chinese crowd. Breakfast was good enough. Though I don’t understand why the fruit and juices consist mostly out of grapefruit? Haven’t seen an orange or orangejuice my entire stay, did see graprefruit , grape juice, mango juice, any other juice. Staff also don’t know what “sunny side up” means. They only know eggs fried on both sides. Room service was a hit and miss. Burger was ok, Nasi Goreng was mildly warm to cold on arrival. Onion soup seemed like water with onions added and then cooked for a little while.
Staff: this is the one that really gets to me. We didn’t bring the swimming caps so we bought some in the hotel…tried charging it to the room, which created administrative havoc. Health club staff insisted on taking my wife to the front desk to “verify the room and signature”, upon which the employee also handed in a pile of receipts from other forgetful guests who had paid cash. The front desk then proceeded to process the cash receipts one by one while my wife stood there waiting for the room verification….bring cash to the gym…it will save you 15 min of your life. When my wife asked to do hers first, since she was actually waiting on them, the front desk replied: but these are all from the gym right, so I need to do them all. Yes, but only 1 sheet has a guest actually standing in front of you waiting….. The front desk didn’t see the point in not making guests wait and proceeded with the other paperwork anyway.
At another time we had a question about the bill settlement at the end of the stay and staff was nowhere to be found. There was 1 staff processing tons of paperwork from a travel agent. The reason: oh, it’s dinner break, all the staff are gone for food.
When ordering room service the room service phone was not answered for 10 minutes. Calling the front desk or the “guest service center” just resulted in being patched through to a phone that nobody picks up.
Conclusion: In comparison to other Chinese ski resorts like Yabuli this is already miles in the right direction. It’s definitely stayable. You can find good deals online (in Chinese) through their “Wanda prepaid card” and Spring SSS also has packages that include this hotel. I would be ok with recommending it for a ski resort hotel in China.
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