We spent the last night of our trip in Sichuan at the Crowne Plaza Riverside hotel in Chongqing, which is not located right in the city center but near the South bank of the Yangtzi River. This is -- quite exceptionally for this part of China -- a low rise construction (only 8 floors) in a relatively quiet area. There are a few downsides: the image on the website is rather misleading, because it suggests that the hotel is surrounded by pools and rolling green hills, while actually the pools are not part of the hotel and the green hills are further away; and, contrary to the Sheraton, it has no real riverside location. But our room at one of the Executive floors was brilliant, with all usual amenities and much more -- even gas masks for two (maybe useful in this Chinese Smog City?)
There are far more spectacular hotel lobbies to be found elsewhere, but we liked the atrium with freely flying birds. There are more elaborate buffet breakfasts and dinners to be had elsewhere, but overall we couldn't fault theirs. And what puts this place really apart is the warm sense of hospitality which we enjoyed throughout: almost everybody speaks reasonably good English and seems always ready and available to help you -- especially Lee Li at the reception desk. An easy stroll down to the riverside reveals nice panoramic views; and a short ride by bus or taxi brings you to the city center, first through a lively commercial area;h and then crossing the Yangtzi River over one of the many bridges, which offer lovely sights especially after sunset.
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