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Reviewed November 8, 2014 via mobile

We stayed at the Royal Victoria Hotel and Motai 168 when we were in Xiamen in Apr 2012, though they have a 5-star and 3-star hotel rating respectively, the latter gave us a good impression as a conveniently-located (very near Xiamen train station, 2 new and modern shopping malls, and 2 megamarts), newly-renovated, modern hotel. Thus, we gave Motai 168 Jie Fang Bei (解放碑)(JFB) a shot in Oct 2014, thinking its standard should be similar, if not the same.

Oh dear! Algae steps leading to the first storey entrance greeted us when we arrived in a cab from the airport and the entrance made it look like an abandoned building. We did not realize the main entrance which was more inviting was located on the 9th storey which was up on the hill where the proper vehicular access was to be found too.

The good points of Motai 168 Jiefangbei are : 1) near 2 tube stations, namely Xiao Shi Zi 小什子and Lin Jiang Men 临江门, 2) next to Hong Ya Dong 洪崖洞 , 3) near Chao Tian Men Pier 朝天门码头 where one takes the Three Gorges Cruise or Yangtze River Cruise (about 5-min cab-ride away, 10-15-min, if there is a traffic jam) , 4) near Jie Fang Bei 解放碑 where shopping malls, branded boutiques and mid-price range shops filled the square (10-15 min walk) 5) near famous food street 好吃街 (15-min walk away), 6) near Carrefour supermarket (3-min walk away) and 7) many restaurants and eateries in close proximity. The STRONGEST selling point of Motai 168, JFB is its convenient location.

The negative points now:- we booked a family room (which was higher in room rate) as Agoda charged the same price for a standard twin room, with or without windows, so we thought if we were to pay 25% more for our family room, we would be guaranteed, at least, a room with good river view, new and spacious. Oh my God! The skirting along the corridor leading to our family room (room number 8857) was with chipped tiles, no water from the sink tap in our family room's bathroom, after a few tries, the tap fell off, only the bathroom had a good view of the Jia Ling river 嘉陵江 while the family room's two windows had a slanted view of the river and retaining wall view respectively. There was a hole in the bedsheet too. (Note that the fabric of the sofa at the reception was tearing apart too, the sponge could be seen). Once we were outside of our room door, one could peek into a public balcony which had been locked up with a chain. It was the most filthy balcony we have seen in our lives! Had other parts of the hotel floor not been renovated which we only found out that they had been later, the entire floor would have looked creepy!

We did not like the room and decided to ask for a downgrade though we have paid for a more expensive family room. The front desk staff was nice enough to allow us to see 8803 and 8809 before we decided on 8809 ( the lady staff who checked us in earlier was NOT as friendly). The 8801 to 8810 stretch was much newer and definitely more pleasant to look at. Even the skirting of the corridor leading to the rooms was newly tiled with steel trimmings. Additionally, the room doors were interspersed with the golden-framed recessed wall with vases of flowers on the tables. A garden effect was also created with the plants in the glass "houses" which injected much-needed greenery in this old building.

Now the room 8809: it boasted a fantastic unblocked view of Jia Ling River through its full glass window. However, the window was so dirty that it looked as if it had not been cleaned for a decade. The window handle was no where to be found as it had been broken. The night view from 8809 was spectacular, we could see the illuminated Chongqing Theatre, the Science Centre, the brightly-lit-up ferries that offered night river cruises and also buildings with dotted lights that formed the shape of a yacht on our right. However, the light in the bathroom was dim for its size and there was no light above the shower cubicle which made us feel uneasy when showering in the night, especially when the building looked old. We were not used to such a dimly-lit bathroom. We did not need fanciful downlights, just a simple fluorescent lamp above the shower cubicle was good enough. It is perhaps due to the over zealous energy conservation campaign in China that has resulted in such poor lighting system as the apartment block sharing the same building as Motai 168 had bubble lifts without lights at night (unsure if both bubble lifts had faulty lights at the as time that night) . We saw it from across the road while taking a stroll along the river at night and we were shocked, the dark lift opened up on an upper floor, light from the high floor lobby streamed into the dark bubble lift and the resident stepped out of the lift. This is exactly how haunted movies are being filmed <dropped-jaw expression>.

Moreover, the card-key door lock system was faulty, we kept having to return to the reception to "reprogramme" our cards. We found it extremely inconvenient especially after a full day's tour, returned to the hotel at 10pm, all exhausted and we had to walk down, up and down again (recep on 9th sty and hotel room on 8th sty) before we could get into our room.

Motai 168 JFB cannot fulfil our most basic need of a clean and bright environment. We left the second night after one night's stay even though we paid for three nights. It has its strength, but for us, we will not return to this hotel again as its weakness outweigh its strength, at least for us.

But we will not give up on Motai 168 chain as our subsequent trip to Wuhan and Yichang, and our earlier trips to other parts of China confirmed that Chongqing is a city that is not only cluttered due to the absence of green "lungs", its building maintenance programme urgently needs attention (most buildings are not painted, most buildings with glass claddings are not cleaned) as many other parts of China have much cleaner buildings and environment in general. Wuhan has vehicles washing the public roads with water and the entire road is wet after the washing whereas in Singapore, we have only seen vehicles washing the sides of the road, near the pavement.

Not only will we give Motai 168 JFB Chongqing a miss, we may also give Chongqing a miss in our future trips, only if we have no choice and have to use Chongqing as a city to branch into other parts of China or to see the completed new CBD, 江北嘴 (Jiang Bei Zui) or to taste the delicious food served at 婆子妈@观音桥步行街 (Pozima Restaurant at Guanyin Qiao Shopping Street) will we return. Chongqing is a city that is gorgeous at night with its successful lightings and its mountainous terrain but it is far from nice in the day. Note that one to-be-completed office tower@江北嘴CBD has "planted" Singapore's Gardens by the Bay's supertrees at its compound and it was only@江北嘴that we saw a park. Once the new vehicular/tube/pedestrian double-decker bridge right next to Motai 168 JFB is opened (residents said it would open end 2014), then guests from Motai 168 JFB can take a 20-min walk (our estimation) to reach Chongqing Theatre and Science Centre and 江北嘴CBD Park (25-30min walk). The tube station at 江北嘴Jiang Bei Zui is NOT in operation yet,once in use, just catch the tube and no need to walk. Cab ride will even be quicker, that is if you can find one. While we were there, the road right outside Motai 168 has a perpetual jam and we tried getting a cab from JFB area to Chao Tian Men Pier for 15 mins and we failed. Happy finding one when the new double-deck bridge is in operation, who knows, the traffic condition may improve then.

Stayed: October 2014, traveled as a couple
4  Thank Jedai79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 14, 2014

I stayed at the Motel for one night only, but I slept well!
We had a room for 3 people, the size was okay, everything was clean. The standard was quite high if you see both the price (109 kuai per night each) and the fact that it is china ;)
three things I did not like: you can see through a window from the room into the bathroom, the personnal did not really speak english and on the next morning the whole motel was without electricity. But still, I was okay with my stay there!

  • Stayed: October 2014, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Franzi_Berlin24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 18, 2014

The Motel168 is the least expensive hotel I've stayed in for a very, very long time. At about $20/night including breakfast and wi-fi that's quite a deal. The hotel is a little used looking, especially in the hallways. But the rooms are clean and spacious. My room had a hard queen bed that was comfortable and made softer by folding over the quilt so that half was under me and half on top, sleeping bag style. No complaints about the room. There are paper drinking cups and a kettle but no tea, green or otherwise. They provide a small bar of soap and shampoo and body wash are in the shower. There's no closet and no safe in the room. Wi-fi is adequate: slow and I couldn't send any attachments.

Although the breakfast starts at 7AM the buffet does not begin until 8AM. The 7-8 fare is hard-boiled eggs with dumplings and rice porridge. The buffet is a standard Chinese breakfast buffet: stir-fried veggies, dumplings, porridge, toast. Drink the water — not the tea or heavily sweetened coffee from the Nescafe machine.

Do not get a room overlooking the street—drivers in Chongquin love to honk their horn (driving seems quite rule free here) and I have little doubt that a room over the road would be really loud.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled on business
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2  Thank Eugene S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 4, 2012

I stayed one night in October, the rooms were spacious and clean. The location of the property is convenient for exploring the main shipping area in town. The lifts can be a challenge, as other members of my group were stranded on their floors and had an extremely difficult time navigating their way out of the hotel.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank Chicag0_Paul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 13, 2012

Even the staffs always busy and barely understand our English, they still trying to helpful with any our requests and you can ask them to use Google translate if things went to difficult to communicate. (Write in English and point out to their computer screen) or easier, speck Chinese to them!
Room is nice, we have the room without window and turn out to be lost track of time cause the bed is quite comfort compare with the room cost we paid.
The facilities in on track, nothing broke or non factional and they have everything we need in the room.
Location also nice, 10 mins walk to CRT. 5 mins walk to supermarket and 3 mins walk to "Hong Ya Dong" tourist attraction area.
Overall stay is great, we booked this hotel only the first night cause we would like to check the other hotel and found out, with their room price we paid, no other hotel better than this!

Room Tip: Room is cheap here so if you can effort, choose the room with the winder or river view. Don't forget to download translate application English-Chinese to you smartphone (if you have smartphone)
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank alwaysdelay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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