This hotel is minutes from the Suzhou train station, but the walk is somewhat difficult. The five star rating represents the quality of this hotel given its value.
Before we booked this hotel, my wife and I had read that the Green Tree organization was the fastest growing budget hotel chain in China, and the Chinese reviews for this hotel were extremely positive. We can see why. We paid 99.8 Yuan ($17 Canadian dollars) to stay at this hotel. We had booked the room for double this price, but they had a half price deal to entice new customers. They gave us the discount without us asking.
We booked this hotel online. The front desk staff was very professional and easily confirmed our reservation by phone a week before we landed. They processed our passports quickly, and we were in our room within minutes. My wife speaks Mandarin (and I survival mandarin), so I am not sure if they speak English. To be safe, I would recommend that patrons be booked by a mandarin speaking person (somebody you know back home or somebody you are meeting in Suzhou.) However, there are plenty of seasoned travellers used to dealing communication barriers, and this is about the friendliest group of hotels workers we have dealt with in China.
The hotel lobby is small, and the hallways are very clean. Our room was very clean by Chinese hotel standards (more on this later.) Our room was on the second floor, street level, so I was worried about noise. However, it turned out that the room was fairly quiet, and the air conditioning unit (which looked brand new) cooled the room perfectly. The sleeping area was small with enough room for a double bed, furniture and a small walkway. The bathroom area was very large, and looked exactly like the pictures in the tripadvisor photos. The hotel provides two bottles of complimentary water, and the room had a drop for cat5 (cabled) computer access. I am not sure if internet access is extra, or if there is wireless service.
Don't consider this hotel if you are (for lack of a better term) a clean freak. I struggle to comment on the cleanliness of this room here because the room was surprisingly clean, modern and tidy given the price we paid, but it was certainly well below the quality of a mid-range hotel in North America.
Another problem was very little shower pressure, and the water was not very hot. It was good enough for getting clean, but it could be a sore spot for picky travellers. That said, I have stayed in high end hotels in China with equally bad water pressure. The water issue may not be the hotel’s fault, but a matter of geography. Many cities are not well served in terms of water.
Also, Suzhou is mosquito country, so many hotels provide electric mosquito zappers. Like many Chinese hotels, the bed was relatively hard, but it appeared to be a good quality mattress. There is a fine line between sleeping on a good quality hard mattress and sleeping on cheap mattress that feels like it was lined with rock. The former appears to the case in this hotel.
All in all, this was a wonderful hotel for the price. I would stay with this chain again without hesitation.
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