I stayed here for two nights (January 6 - 7, 2010) to attend the opening of the Winter Ice Festival in Harbin. The ice festival is the cities largest event of the year and is a sight not to be missed. During this period all hotels in town tend to run very high levels of occupancy. Due to my airline using other Intercontinental properties (the parent company of Holiday Inn) I was able to get a travel industry rate of RMB385 or about USD60 per night nett and included ABF—a very good deal considering the high season/special events period.
Harbin is the largest city in the northern region and is the capital seat of the Heilongjiang Province. Due to the history you’ll notice a fairly strong Russian influence and even today there is a large number of Russian restaurants, bars and businesses.
The Holiday Inn (HI) is located at a fairly busy five-way intersection and is at one end of the famous Zhongyang Dajie, or Center Street. This is more than mile long stretch of cobblestone-lined street that is pedestrian-only access. There are several streets that intersect it and allow crossing vehicle traffic, but Center Street itself is a pedestrian-only street. There are a number of large shopping centers, small and medium sized restaurants and shops, several commercial banks, a Wal-mart and the Harbin branch of Parkson Department Store- the largest department store operator in China.
Lobby / Check-in: This hotel is a smaller property, and shows minor signs of its age. The check-in area is small but was efficiently run. I was given the choice of a “larger” room, but on a lower floor, or a “smaller” room on a higher floor—I chose the higher floor room.
Room: My room was on the 11th floor and faced north with a nice view of Center street and the Songhua River in the background. The bed was a twin sized and was firm. The sheets were standard thread count and there was an extra-think duvet and extra top blanket provided- I was sufficiently warm at night. The windows to the room were double insulated to help keep out the bitter Harbin winter cold which can easily drop to -25°F or worse. My room also had a small desk with old-style tube TV with multiple Chinese and Russian language channels and a limited number of English options. There was internet access capability for additional charge. There was a hot water heater with tea set provided and a mini-bar with limited stock. The room temperature could be controlled within a pre-set range. The ability to increase the heat was nice as it’s bitterly cold during the winter months.
Bathroom: Like the bedroom, the bathroom was small and showing its age. There was a stand-up shower and the water ran quite hot and with decent water pressure. HI-branded basic toiletries were provided. There was no hair dryer or bath robe.
Despite the age of the room, everything was well cleaned and was in proper working order.
Hotel facilities and Amenities: The HI has one traditional sit-down in-house restaurant that serves Western/International as well as Chinese food and is open for all three sittings. They do feature buffet dining as well as ala carte ordering. A limited-menu room service is available during most hours. There is also a small lobby bar where drinks and light food can be ordered. There are a few western dining locations as well as a KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) and McDonald’s within a short walk from the hotel. Center street has many other dining options as well (Chinese, Russian, Thai, etc.)
The business center can arrange for basic business services such as copy/print/fax as well as Chinese translation services, and is also a state-approved foreign exchange location. The front desk can arrange for local transportation, car hire and airport transfers.
SUMMARY: If you can get a discounted rate this hotel can be a very good value for reliable western accommodations. It’s not a 5-star property by any measure, but isn’t priced like one either. It does have an excellent location and many of Harbin’s major attractions are within easy walking distance. The property looks to be from the mid to late ‘80’s and is in need of a general ‘face-lift’ but isn’t in disrepair. The staff is helpful and did their best to assist me as necessary.
PROS: Dependable western accommodations in town that doesn’t have many. Good centralized location. Good restaurant that features a nice small dinner buffet. Overall, reasonably priced for mid-tier western-style accommodations.
CONS: An older property that doesn’t have lots of the amenities that newer hotels have and is showing signs of its age and needs a general “face lift”.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang Province, situated in the Northeastern part of China, is world renowned for its Ice-carving Festival in winter. Amidst the mushrooming of many modern looking buildings, this city still retains many of its old-style houses greatly influenced by the Russian and renaissance architecture. The charm and hospitality of the Harbinese makes one feel warmer inspite of the coldness during winter! Holiday Inn City Centre Harbin is centrally located in the main business and leisure Areas of Daoli District just off Central Street, offering the discerning travelers easy access to business, shopping and entertainment centres. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn City Centre Harbin Hotel Harbin
- Holiday Inn Harbin
- Harbin Holiday Inn