Inside the gallery of White Swan Hotel hung a picture taken when Queen Elizabeth picked White Swan as her accommodation during her visit to Guangzhou. I can only think of two possible reasons behind the queen’s choice. It is either because there was no good hotel in Guangzhou at that time so the queen could only choose the slightly less terrible one, or because it was the good old day. I will write this review in a descending order, from the most satisfying aspect of the hotel to the most intolerable. The best experience I had was, without a doubt, to have the honor of meeting Ben at the reception desk. I believe there is a dilemma before all male hotel professionals in East Asia: if they serve so softly, some guests, referring to the conventional gender stereotype, may find them so girly and weird. However, some guests may easily find them rude if they serve so masculinely (masculine according to the conventional gender stereotype). It is a very hard balance to find. Therefore, if I use this conventional stereotype to review a reception desk, which is common in East Asia, I would say I have only encountered three gentlemen who managed to serve elegantly. One is from Morpheus Macau, another is from Four Seasons Guangzhou, both the top hotel in their respective cities. The last one I have encountered is Ben. Ben is a polite and warm gentleman, who manages to get the difficult balance to the right point. I believe Ben is not only a role model for hotel people but also a definition of a gentleman. Thank you so much, Ben! Ben is fantastic, so is the landscape inside the lobby. Many years have passed, but the waterfall and the little garden at the center of the lobby still remain impressive. A beautiful, astonishing, and refreshing Chinese-style lobby indeed. Unfortunately, I do not find this beautiful lobby, which is supposed to be a pleasant place to stay, a pleasant place to stay. This is because it is always so crowded. The crowdedness is severe to the extent that it turns the lovely garden into something like a people's park. So many people shouting around and so many people laying indecently on the lobby sofa. Such a setting makes it impossible for one to calm down to appreciate the sound of the waterfall. This is a shame to such an adorable interior design. The lobby is beautiful but not somewhere to stay, nor is the room. I stayed in two rooms throughout my room (there is a terrible story behind, as I will reveal later). The first one is the deluxe room. I only spent three hours there, so I cannot remember its details, but I can still clearly recall that its interior design is so old-school. Consequently, that room suffers from being highly depressing, a common problem among hotels with an outdated design. That room is just like a bigger and cleaner room in a four-star hotel. The second room I stayed at was the club deluxe room, which is less depressing but too hard. I use the word "hard" since coziness is never a thing there. The room made me feel so bounded instead. A potential reason is that the room basically does not have any soft materials, like carpet; everything is bamboo, wood, or marble. It is hard to relax in a place decorated all with these materials. The sleeping quality at White Swan is thus the worst among all the premium hotels I have visited. However, the two problems I have mentioned so far are still trivial or, I would say, within an acceptable range. What comes next is the intolerable bit. The first issue is that the hotel was well informed about my room preferences but just disregarded them. I told my travel agency to notify the hotel of five points of room preference of mine one day before my arrival. Shockingly, when I checked in, I was told that the hotel was only aware of two out of the five points. I was mad not because I could not get the room I preferred but because I thought my travel agency did not do its job to forward my message to the hotel. I immediately contacted my travel agency about that once I arrived at my room. After a very efficient investigation by my travel agency, they told me that they were 100% sure they had already notified all my five points to White Swan. They were so sure because they recorded down every conversation they had with any hotel. Only then did I realize I was blaming the wrong person: it was not my travel agency not doing its job; it was someone in White Swan whom my travel agency communicated to omitted over half of my preferences by not entering them into the system! This is exasperating: why did he/she do that? I can only think of two explanations. Firstly, he/she just forgot to enter my preferences. This is unacceptable as it means he/she could not fulfill his/her duty even if what he/she was asked to do was just to type a few simple lines into the computer. If it is the case, given that the staff at White Swan failed to do even such a simple job, there is no reason for any guest to believe we can rely on the hotel on anything. The second possible explanation is that he/she personally thought more than half of my preferences were silly. Hence, he/she made the decision to ignore them. This is even more problematic. It implies that White Swan would only do what it thought essential and would ignore all other things even if they were important for the guests. This is arrogant and rude. If it is the case, then it means the White Swan philosophy is more like a military school one than a hotel one: do what I think is good for you, instead of what you think is good for you! I do not believe that one can enjoy a comfortable stay in such a hotel. However, this is not the end of the story. Once my travel agency identified the problem, they immediately contacted the hotel about that. They did it in such a hurry because I told them that I had a meeting in the afternoon and had not even had my lunch yet (at 3 PM!). Nearly three hours had passed but, still, the hotel never got back to my travel agency, despite my travel agency continuously contacting the hotel. Given that the hotel was so disrespectful to guests' time, it is no surprise that no one called me throughout these three good hours to take care of me or just ask me what had happened. Finally, at around 6 PM, my travel agency told me that the hotel was willing to give me another room that matched my room preferences. Interestingly, my travel agency was also very excited, perhaps even they found this waiting journey unreasonably long. However, another very shocking thing happened: no one from the hotel called me to offer the slightest apology, be it for irritatingly omitting my room preferences or for wasting my entire afternoon. Very rude, isn't it?! What was even ruder was that my travel agency told me, "I am really sorry, but the hotel asked you to go down with your luggage to hand them back the old key and pick up the new key." Seriously, White Swan Hotel?! You made such a mistake and wasted my entire afternoon, and then you asked me to go down to pick up your late-coming solution?! I am sorry, but I was, and still am, unconvinced that the hotel was sincerely apologizing, despite how problematic and carking the problems were! It was nearly 6 PM, but I still had not got my lunch. Therefore, I started to feel dizzy and did not even have the energy to talk with my travel agency. I needed to immediately order the ugly-cooked in-room dining to literally continue my life. Then I called the hotel and requested to speak to the duty manager. It was the first time I had a direct conservation with the hotel. Very weird: it was the victim initiating the conversation instead of the wrongdoer, even after three good hours. He promised me that he would send someone to give me the key and would investigate into the issues, which I am not sure whether he did as I still have not got any response from the hotel after nearly one month. Thank you so much, White Swan – I checked in at 3 PM and could eventually settle down at 6 PM. By the time I left my room, the hotel restaurant was already setting up for dinner. I forgot to mention that I needed to cancel my meeting that afternoon to wait for the hotel to give me a new room, which, again, took them three good hours from 3 PM to 6 PM. The last problem is the most problematic one – what’s wrong with your promotion video, White Swan? Let me describe a few scenes in the video before pointing out what is wrong with that: (1) An old white couple taking pictures in front of the lobby waterfall with the Chinese manager of the hotel. (2) The white lady receiving some flowers from her white husband, which a Chinese staff prepared. (3) TWO Chinese staff standing and waiting to hand a towel to ONE white man after the white man finishes exercises. (4) A white man holding his phone in a super cool fashion while leaving White Swan via a yacht. Every scene inside White Swan’s promotion video features high-end white guests and a bunch of Chinese serving them in an extremely inferior gesture, except for one four-second scene in which a Chinese man proposes to his girlfriend. I do not understand why the hotel can be so careless about racial issues. I tried to convince myself that perhaps it is because the hotel is trying to target the international market. However, I fail: if it targeted the international market, where are the Japanese, Indian, African, Arab, Thai, as well as many other races? Why would the promotion video only feature white people? Such a promotion video is ugly and controversial. I understand that the hotel does not do that intentionally. Still, I am very worried that some international guests may just get the wrong meaning and conclude that the hotel, or even China, is racist. The impact of this promotion video can be particularly far-reaching, given many international travelers may still be inclined to stay at White Swan Hotel because of its big name of being full of Chinese characteristics. After staying at White Swan Hotel for one night, here is what I believe White Swan Hotel still has after the glorious years: an amazing Ben, a pretty lobby ruined by the crowd, a not-so-comfortable room, an irritating problem in which the hotel, accidentally at best and intentionally at worst, neglected guests’ preferences, an even more irritating problem in which the hotel wastes the entire afternoon of a guest and shows no intention to apologize for any of the mistakes it made, as well as an unacceptable promotion video. I am worried that I need to say the following: I am sorry I could not experience the true White Swan before it disappears on earth forever.…
I was there to see my friend in the beginning, but I am surprised that this hotel is not as old as I thought. Very nice view and great food provided. I love the atmosphere in the hotel, as well as the fountain in the lobby. I always stayed downtown perhaps I will visit when I am on vacation. 我起初是在那儿见朋友的，但是令我感到惊讶的是，这家酒店没有我想像的那么古老。 非常漂亮的景色和美味的食物。 我喜欢酒店的氛围以及大堂的喷泉。 我一直呆在市中心，也许我度假时会去。
This is classic hotel on the historic Shamian island in Guangzhou’s Yuexiu district. The ‘island’ is actually a tip of land at a ‘Y’ intersection of the famous Pearl river made an island in the past by digging a man made canal to separate it from the ‘mainland’. Famous for its past history of serving as home for British and French export businesses, banks and foreign embassies in the 19 century, It is unique in Guangzhou. Old European architecture is preserved throughout the less than one square mile area. The hotel itself is comfortable and elegant in an informal way. The lobby is dominated by a garden koi pond and large indoor waterfall, with beautiful views of the pearl river. The staff are excellent and most speak English fluently, the rooms are comfortable,clean and quiet. The River view rooms are fantastic. If you can upgrade to the deluxe ‘club floor’ rooms you are offered a complementary ‘ high tea’2:30-4:30 and a happy hr 5:30-7:30 Daily on a private comfortable third floor lounge daily. This includes well prepared hors d’oeuvres and beverages ( alcohol wine beer champagne). I really enjoyed this feature and it wasn’t made known to me when I booked the room online( I just wanted a larger room) it was a nice surprise and made the upgrade worth the extra money... The hotel has Three or maybe four Restaurants, two of them are Michelin star I believe. I didn’t eat in them but I’m certain they are top notch. I did eat at the well appointed breakfast buffet, nice selection and preparation. All in all I really enjoyed this hotel and the location as well, it’s near many of the most interesting areas in Guangzhou. If your just visiting Guangzhou for a few days it’s a top choice rather than the more modern and glittery ‘Zhujiang new town’ area which is also fun but much like any other big city destination. Free parking too..…
The sunflower chicken is one of the signature dishes in this spectacular landmark hotel in Guangzhou. I can not describe how delicious it was. You just have to order it and taste it. It’s so special, so fantastic and therefore unforgettable.
This is a good hotel, located on the Pearl River in Guangzhou, China. Room and food was very good. The drawback is that this hotel is at one far end of the Pearl, and you cannot have a view of Canton Tower or the main buildings lit at night.
The place is guaranteed to provide service and comfort. Every staff was friendly, the room was really spectacular, like someone really sat down and made sure every detail was the nicest they could design it. The room was really impressive and comfortable, I can recommend this hotel without hestitation.
We had the privilege of spending a few nights at this splendid luxury hotel in a deluxe suite. Room was massive as was the king size bed! All the luxurious touches and gizmos including fast VIP wifi that get you uninhibited internet, WhatsApp, Google etc. Fantastic city views. Huge variety of food at breakfast lounge where I had the best shrimp wonton ever. Took me 3 big breakfasts to sample everything on offer! If you want to spoil yourself to a special holiday treat, this hotel is highly recommended.
It's decades old, but it just gets better all the time. Perfect tourist location for Guangzhou. Most hotels are way out in the business area, of little interest to tourists. Out the back door is Shamian Island, a real oasis to walk around. River views are stunning. I recommend the extra money for the club rooms, where you get an amazing breakfast, amazing afternoon tea, and a decent dinner buffet. For 2 people, it's an even better value. Staff are all polite and friendly... English skills are acceptable. The mini suite I had, club level, was huge and the bathroom is just breathtaking. I consider this hotel a great value.
My first business trip in Guangzhou. The white Swan Hotel has been, rightfully, recommended for me and my colleagues. Best location in town! In middle of the old concession - Shamian - brings you back early century. Very nice area to visit, eat and run along the river. The hotel is immense with waterfall inside! From very professional reception staff - just make sure you ask and get nonsmoking room, they still have smoking rooms that could be smelly. Room clean and well equipped and cleaned. The gym is well equipped and open 24/7. If you run, you go along the river, even early, lights every where. I have taken only the breakfast at the hotel. Complete buffet with East and West food well represented and nice river view. Very good stay, I will definitely go back again
This is the second time my wife and I stayed in White Swan, the last time being in 1991 when we tour China for the first time. Of course, this time, we were greeting with a “new and renovated” version of this historical hotel. We were not disappointed: the hotel was bright and clean, and the staff was extremely helpful. Our four-day stay was in a standard room. While there is no extraordinary features to brag about, we were pleasantly surprised that everything worked as designed and expected, which was not common in other hotels in different Chinese cities during our two weeks plus travel prior to arriving in Guangzhou. The room was well maintained with good housekeeping, a testimonial of attentive management. Our resting time in the room was comfortable, and we actually look forward to return to our room after long days of city ventures. We did not use any restaurant or amenities at this hotel since we were too busy sightseeing the city and vicinity. There were too many fantastic Cantonese style restaurants outside of the hotel to choose from that we did not even thinking about eating on the premises. The staff were always helpful and polite, making any guest felt welcome. With the exception of a few employees, most of the staff spoke both Cantonese and limited English in addition to Mandarin, making communications easy. We also met Ms Bonnie Ho and her assistant, Mr Neear Leung at the Concierges Desk. Both went out of their ways to be helpful, trying to solve any little problem and provided much needed services including the purchase of sim card and confirmation with airlines, etc., creating a worry free environment for visitors like us to enjoy our stay in Guangzhou. This hotel stay was one of the highlights of our three week travel in China, and would definitely recommend to friends and relatives if they ask for advice for staying in Guangzhou.…