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“Good location”

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Shangri-La Hotel Harbin
Ranked #3 of 1,135 Hotels in Harbin
Certificate of Excellence
new york
Level 6 Contributor
176 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
“Good location”
Reviewed July 2, 2012

Rated the best hotel in Harbin. The room is smaller than expected but othewise is all good.
Behind the hotel is Songhua River, you can have a leisure walk along the esplanade in the morning since daylight starts at 4am.
Excellent buffet breakfast.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank CDEMOM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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874 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (67)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Sydney, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
Reviewed June 30, 2012

I have no doubt that this is probably the best place to stay in Harbin (which is why we booked it), but do make sure to adjust your expectations! This is an un-refurbished, unattractive 1970s style version of any other Shangri La I have stayed at anywhere. The room decor is extremely drab and depressing. Anyway, we got over that quite quickly, because after all we were on a winter adventure in remote Harbin!

What we couldn't get over is the heat in the room. Even though there is a thermostat in the room, giving you the impression that you have some influence over the temperature, it is utterly centrally controlled. With some initial trepidation (it was minus 20 C degrees outside!) I set the room thermostat temperature to zero upon arrival, but it never made any difference. Next, I turned off the thermostat altogether, also to no avail.

We have never been so hot in a room anywhere, and it certainly was the last thing we expected in Harbin in January! It must have been at least 35 degrees Celsius in the room non-stop. We could barley sleep, wearing nothing on top of the sheets, dripping...

The funniest thing is that the front desk staff acted completely and utterly surprised when we discussed the heat issue with them...an Oscar winning performance...

On the positive side, the hotel is centrally located for the three main reasons why you are there: the ice park, the snow sculptures and the Tiger park. It is a bit further removed from the main town, but it is easy to take a taxi there. Less easy to get a taxi going back, but do-able once you know where to stand on the main road going back.

Also, the staff are super nice. Their English is limited (our Mandarin non-existent...), but they try so hard. There is one surly concierge, just avoid him, the other concierge staff are very helpful. The breakfast buffet is amazing and huge, from local Chinese specialties to Western to Japanese, it's all there. We really enjoyed it.

TIP #1: Arrange a car and driver through the hotel, to go to the ice park at night. While more expensive than a taxi, it is still so cheap. It saves you all the stress of getting stuck at the park at night in minus 25 degrees, with not a return taxi in sight. There is no taxi rank whatsoever (hard to believe, but true), and there are guards at the entry/exit of the park who won't allow taxis to stop to pick up passengers! We were so glad we had our driver picking us up, especially after 1 1/2 hours in the freezing cold in the park!

TIP #2: We found that restaurants in town would refuse us entry, even though they were almost empty. At first we didn't understand why, but then we realised it was because they were panicked about being ale to provide us proper service since they don't speak a word of English. We persisted, and had great experiences. Persist to get in, in a friendly way, then to order just walk around and point at the food that the locals are eating. Try the local Harbin specialty of "pancakes" (they are savory, not sweet) filled with your choice of chilli cabbage, stir-fried pork, etc.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank alixz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Connecticut
Level 5 Contributor
72 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed June 20, 2012

Good hotel, good service. I like the location on the river. The restaurant was good and everyone was super friendly. The breakfast was great and so many choices for us picky western eaters.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank lmartini1974
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beijing, China
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed June 17, 2012

The room of this hotel is nice, as usual, and the location of the hotel is OK. But when I had breakfast at 7:30am in the morning, the cafeteria is so crowded that I had to wait for a seat for 30 minutes. Finally the hotel opened the lobby area to accommodate the unpatient guests. Understand the Harbin trade fair was held during that period, as the fair is the yearly event, the hotel should plan in advance to respond such situation.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank dana925
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canberra
Level 6 Contributor
131 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 111 helpful votes
Reviewed June 11, 2012

It is a really good hotel, and most staff do try hard to live up to the Shangri-La brand. But you do have to remember it’s Harbin, and not Hong Kong. Be prepared for an unsophisticated tourist industry and do some planning before you arrive, and you’ll have a fantastic time.

We were originally booked into the Soffotel, but upon reflection after a few TripAdvisor reviews, decided to switch to the Shangri-La closer into town and the main attractions. Central Reservations were typically good, booking us in for two nights in a package deal that included airport transfers, breakfast and laundry service for around $250 per night.

We were met at baggage claim and whisked outside to the waiting car for the half hour or so drive to the hotel. Floor vents just inside the door blasted us with warm air, taking away the -20 degree chill of the outdoors. The literally warm welcome continued as Crystal from Customer Relations led us straight upstairs and checked us in in our room.

The room itself was alright, but a far cry from the Shangri-La in Kuala Lumpur. After we had a chance to catch our breath, we noticed the prominent smell of gas coming from the heater. We tried to settle ourselves with the thought that it was normal and everything would be fine, but the discovery of gas masks in the wardrobe and instructions of what to do in an emergency freaked us right out. We called down to reception for a room change, and Hanson was upstairs in a flash to show us some other options. He spoke excellent English and patiently escorted us to some other rooms. The next standard room also smelt of gas, which only left a smoking Horizon Club suite. Unfortunately Hanson was immovable on the price of the upgrade from a standard room to a suite, even though our original rate included most of the Horizon extras, so the additional $100 a night was a little hard to swallow.

However, the suite was immaculately clean and we couldn’t smell gas or cigarettes, and Hanson made the point of telling the housekeeper we passed in the corridor to take extra effort to deal with the smell. It was nice and big, with separate sitting room, two huge flat panel TVs with a decent selection of English channels, and a much larger bathroom than the standard rooms. My only criticism of the room, beyond the ‘80s Russian chic décor, was that the bathroom was by the front door, making the late night old man shuffles to the toilet a bit of a long journey through the sitting room.

The concierge was the villain of our stay, and had us desperately wishing for the abrupt disinterest of his counterpart at the Shanghai Soffotel. We emailed before we left, asking about tours of the Ice and Snow Festival, and were told to organise it with the concierge when we arrived. With the worst English of any of the staff we encountered, the concierge arrogantly leaned against the counter and chewed his face as he said tours would be impossible to arrange. He instead suggested that if we could find another couple, we could hire a taxi to take us to the major attractions, and have it wait out the front until we were done (because the taxis wouldn’t do it for just one fare). I know my wife and I are far from intrepid, but the fear of being left for dead out the front of some remote park in -18 to -33 degree temperatures didn’t really appeal to us.

We took up Crystal’s offer of “if there’s anything you need…”, and after being politely admonished for not arranging tours before we arrived, she promptly organised a private tour guide and driver for the evening. Peter was just lovely, picking us up from the lobby and taking us through the illuminated ice sculptures at Zhaolin Park, a freezing stroll down Central Street, and an obligatory stop at the Russian market. It was incredible!

Crystal was off the next day, so we did our best with the out of date guide book in the room and found Eric Lau from the Heilongjiang Overseas Tourist Corporation. Unfortunately Crystal’s Customer Relations colleagues made a bit of a scene when Eric picked us up, warning us that they didn’t know him, but I think it was more to do with his company falling out of favour with the hotel rather than any genuine safety concerns. But Eric was brilliant, handling the situation with real grace and class. He escorted us around the Sun Island snow sculptures, which felt like walking through C S Lewis’ Narnia, and then took us to the Winter Wonderland, complete with ice slide and KFC. Eric was invaluable and there’s no way we could have seen, and would have enjoyed what we did without him. He even recommended a great dumpling restaurant about 100 metres down from the hotel to the left.

The tour guides are all cash, but there’s a Bank of China ATM in the lobby, which links in with the international network, so you’ll be covered if you’re credit card reliant and a bit short.

The food at the Shangri-La was pretty good and diverse, from hamburgers and steak sandwiches to steamed bullfrog. Upon noticing I was vision impaired, the head chef, Lau, gave us a guided tour of the breakfast buffet and put his staff to work on made to order omelettes. The Horizon Club too was good, albeit looking like the bad guys’ lair on Miami Vice. The canapés were limited, but tasty, and the Harbin Beer they served was fantastic. The ice bar is certainly worth a look if you haven’t seen one before, but it was deserted when we went down for a peek.

Harbin is amazing in winter, and well worth a visit. We’ll definitely be back with our kids, and we’ll be happy to stay at the Shangri-La too. But we will be better prepared.

Room Tip: Always upgrade to the Horizon Club with Shangri-La.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank captain_beetroot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level 6 Contributor
103 reviews
70 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed April 7, 2012

Good location between the old Russion downtown section and the Ice and Snow Festivals. The dinner buffet was by far the best meal I had in Harbin. Breakfast was very good, including the service. Rooms are small, but any issue you have is addressed quickly and the staff can help you arrange anything you want to do in Harbin.

Room Tip: Higher floors have a good view fo the river, parks and Ice Festival at night
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank rs88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dalian, China
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed April 5, 2012 via mobile

The rooms r clean and neatly planned but small. But this is definitely the best hotel in harbin. The food is very cheap if ordered from room. Room service was good, checkin takes some time.
Overall a good experience.

Stayed February 2012
Helpful?
Thank Ckumarshankar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Shangri-La Hotel Harbin

Property: Shangri-La Hotel Harbin
Address: No.555 Youyi Road, Daoli District, Harbin 150018, China
Location: China > Heilongjiang > Harbin
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Luxury Hotel in Harbin
#9 Best Value Hotel in Harbin
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Shangri-La Hotel Harbin 4.5*
Number of rooms: 404
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A best business hotel in Harbin. It boasts a picturesque window view of the Songhua River. It is a 15-minute drive from an over-a-century Central Street featuring the Continental architecture, and from the Sun Island rated as a National 5-A Tourist Attraction. It is a 45-munite ride from the city’s international airport and 20 minutes from the railway station.The Hotel has 404 rooms with a spectacular view out of the river-facing windows, especially in icy and snowy winters. The rooms are finely decorated and fully equipped with free broadband internet access. The rooms are extremely clean and well maintained. The Hotel is well-known for its market-leading cuisines in its Chinese and Western restaurants. The Chinese restaurant serves Cantonese and local foods. The Coffee Garden caters international buffets, à la cart foods and beverages. In-room dining runs 24 hours. A vegetarian menu is available in all the outlets. Singing is performed in the Lobby Lounge every night. The hotel is really proud of its unparalleled catering services as well as its excellent banquet and conference facilities in the city. The hotel has a health and fitness centre, a business centre and a sundry shop. It also provides services like massage, air ticketing, laundry and limousine transport and parking. A waterfront park which stretches about 2-km is a few steps from the hotel. There you can enjoy a pleasant walk as well as a morning workout. An internationally acclaimed brand, professional service and hospitality philosophy will be an assurance of a high-end business traveler. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Shangri La Hotel Harbin
Shangri La Harbin

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