A family of four stayed in a suite on the old side of the hotel. My understanding is that there are not suites on the newer side but the rooms may be better. The stay was satisfactory and almost a good deal at RMB1,100/night. BTW, the suite is actually a suite with a door to the bedroom.
We found the AC not working on our first morning there. It was explained to us that the building AC was turned off if it was not too hot, particularly at night. In subsequent days, we found this consistent. Although it may be cool outside, the heat generated by humans, TVs, and other appliances are likely to make the rooms uncomfortable. Apparently the management did not take this into account. It appears management does not place much faith in the power of the thermostat. It would be nice if they simply set the thermostats in the common areas to what they want and let the guests do what they will in their rooms.
The location is good and provided a good base for getting around. However, for the price paid in a less than big city (by China standards), the experience was barely satisfactory. The same price paid in Wuhan or Chengdu, for example, will yield much better service. The public areas were good too. There seems to be less smoking in public areas as it appears China is becoming less tolerant of this behaviour.
The staff spoke enough english to communicate the basics. Much more than that, nearly fluent chinese is required. The concierge was not very helpful even in chinese. In Beijing, a concierge would draw detailed instructions on a map that allowed you to navigate the public transportation to the most obscure location. In Shanghai, there would be a travel agent inside a comparable hotel. Nothing like this happened here.
The breakfast was also satisfactory for western style offerings and pretty spectacular for the Asian breakfast. The dinner buffet was not so great on either side. The Cantonese, Shanghai, Beijing restaurants are a better choice but we only did the Shanghai one as the others had high minimums and only offered private rooms. The "food court" was a lower cost alternative and also pretty good. The coffee in the morning was sometimes fresh brewed sometimes nescafe.
When getting coffee in the lobby, you might consider sticking with the brewed variety. It is more than passable. I always asked for fresh milk as I noticed that there was condensed milk sitting near the coffee in the morning. Once we ordered cappuccino - a big mistake. We pointed out that they delivered americano with whipped cream (or something like it) and this is really not too close to what most called a cappuccino. The manager was less than gratious in our polite return of the undrinkable beverage. He seemed to understand that this was not a real cappuccino and that they modified it to local taste (we were clearly not locals). Rather than simply taking it back, he seemed to think that we might like it the way it is if he just explained the difference.
Not having stayed elsewhere in Urumqi, I cannot really compare to other hotels. It is out there as Urumqi is closer to the capitals of most central asian republics than Beijing.
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