I stay in alot of Shangri-La hotels, and I must say that I experienced some of the nicest service ever in this hotel. The young ladies from Guest services make the impossible happen on a routine basis. English speaking ski instructor at Yabuli? No problem. English speaking swimming coach for your kid? Done. Private car now? Ready when you are. The rest of the staff is friendly, warm, welcoming and gracious. The elevator dude is a riot.
Cars are 200RMB per hour with a 3 hour minimum, but to go to Yabuli they double the price for some insane reason, so for a 10 hour day, in excess of $500. Outrageous. I belong to Golden Circle, so when I check into a Shangri-La I usually get a note from the manager welcoming me. No note at this hotel, so I never complained to the manager, if there is one. You can hire taxis for 70 RMB an hour, but you are on your own, so good luck with that. Taxi drivers smoke cigarettes while you are in the cab. Do not attempt to compete with Chinese people for the attention of a cab driver. You can try bribes and Yankee aggression: you will lose every time. This becomes a very high-yield topic when the temperature drops below -20C. One very smart reviewer recommends taking a hotel car to the Ice Festival. You would be out of your mind not to.
Breakfast is pretty good. The venue has seen better days. Dinner gets a marginal pass, but if you don't feel like going out in the freezing night, you are more or less stuck. The support staff are unbelievably nice. There are 2 local places within walking distance, even in the cold, on Shanghai Street. The first is a "zhou" (rice porridge) place with OK food, beer and good wine; no english. The second (Eastern Dumpling at 9-10 Shanghai Street) has very good dumplings and pot-stickers with many other excellent dishes, and beer; an english menu is available. I love that place, and so do the locals. Very reasonable with a clean, contemporary interior.
The cocktail lounge upholstery has cigarette burns. Service is pleasent but slow. The lounge act consists of two baked out teenagers with a guitar. Check out the ice bar and hot pot ice house restaurant and make your own decision.
I stayed in the Horizon Club. The view is over the Songhua River, and you will probably not do any better in Harbin. In the winter you overlook the Ice Festival in the distance and it is very pretty.
I've seen nicer bathrooms in Motel 6. An undersized, dingy porcelain bathtub had a plastic shower curtain. In the room, recessed lighting fixtures popped out of the cieling. Cheesy plastic flower arrangements sat on a wooden desk with big gouges taken out. Three hundred bucks a night for a tiny room in a section of Harbin that is largely abandoned commercial buildings.
Take home: service as good or better than any Shangri-La, right up there with Bangkok or my personal favorite, Chengdu, and that takes some serious effort. The hotel building needs an extensive renovation. Get with it, Corporate. You certainly are not bashful about charging.
- 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