Our mid-size US tour group of 27 adults departed Shanghai & this was our first overnight SZ stay after a busy multi-day schedule, checking in after dinner with a long bus ride - not the original hotel booked but an equivalent, NOT really. The concensus of the group while en route on the bus is that this is a 2 star quality hotel, not a 3 star+ and it's far below the Holiday Inns or Howard Johnsons that we've stayed at.
The exterior of the hotel appeared nice, bright & well lite at night, at the edge of old town and walking distance to nearby shops, stores & restaurants in the late evening - we're too tired to go out. The lobby & interior seemed okay, bellboys were fast & quickly unloaded luggage & transferred them to our rooms once we're group checked-in by our tour leader. Included breakfast buffet was in the cafe, organized & food quality were average with variety of western & Chinese choices, coffee, juice, congee, bread, fruits, meats & eggs (sticked with fried eggs, those scrambled eggs looked funny & not sure how they made them) - toaster provided use (not always available at other CN hotels) Everyone managed to find something good enough to eat before our tour depart & checkout in the morning.
We shared a triple room and it was already setup, with a rollaway bed (with a too soft mattress) whereas the twin beds were "hard" or firm to sleep on (fine for DH & sister-in-law) and overweighted comforter (temperature around 22 deg. C at night or 75 deg. F) /clean white sheets & fresh pillow cases. Like most hotel roooms in CN, the magnetic keycard needed to be inserted/active to run the electricity and AC unit in the room, and the room seemed damp with saturated humidity in the air, even the toilet tissues seemed wet - has a mouldy & damp smell in all 3 rooms that our 7-member group're assigned to on 2/F. We knew of other tour members asking for a change of rooms due to water leaks or other housekeeping/plumbing problems.
Our main problem with the room, while it was relatively spacious & clean was that the old/well used electric water kettle's heating element was oxidized/rusted and not safe to boil the included bottled water in to make coffee/tea for drinking. There's a small micro-refrigerator but we didn't use it for our 10 hours stay. The main problem is that the air conditioner never did cool the room enough - all night long - despite our adjustments & dialing it down to around 18 degree C (range of dial to as low as 10 deg C) and all of us actually woke up in the middle of the night sweating as the temperature rose to 23.5 degree as we sleep on the provided heavy covered comforter (no seperate bed sheets)
Lightening in the room was good enough, with a good-sized work desk and RJ-45 or Ethernet connection port (cable provided) for internet connection - it's not free, $60 RMB for 24 hour usage (so, no thanks - especially when it's subject to government filtering & censoring, i.e. no access to CNN website or Goggle news. Old style boxed TV had many local Chinese stations but no international channels to watch so we felt out of touch with global news - fine for the mostly Chinese hotel guests staying but not for oversea visitors trapped as a tour group.
Bathroom was roomy, but very basic & no frills, moldings/wall tiles/floor & ceiling tiles, bath tubs are all in need of fresh silicone caulkings and touchup - applicanes are at least 10 or 15 years behind time compared to other similar tourist class hotels throughout major CN cities - thus, our below average to average star rankings or scores. According to hotel's written guest manual/guide, front desk is supposed to make small exchange of major foreign currencies into RMY for guests - NOT, it won't even exchange a US $20 bill for about $130 RMB - "sorry, we cannot" and no further explaination given.
Checkout was slower than usual as it's customary for front desk to call up someone to check the room for extra/unpaid charges or maybe damages or items taken (like astrays, remotes or towels, etc.) so we had to wait a few minutes before we're good to leave, even though it's already pre-paid. Hotels always requiring our US passports and making a copy as part of the registration/check-in process but not requiring a credit card or cash deposit to cover charges.
There are plenty of newer & better hotels if you are traveling to Suzhou areas for non-group sightseeing and our opinion is to look elsewhere & avoid this hotel, which I would compare to your typical Motel 6, Econo Lodge or Red Roof Inn in the US, except that this is 200+ rooms property with dining/restaurant & lobby/lounge. Spend a little more if you have to and book a higher category - unless, you're on a group tour & you have no final choice or say in whether to stay or not.
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- Also Known As:
- Gloria Plaza Suzhou