There is no Crowne Plaza in central Tianjin and the opening of the new Hotel Indigo is apparently delayed, so I opted for the Holiday Inn, Riverside. This hotel has an enviable position on the banks of the Haihe River, where a stroll in the very clement weather proved an interesting diversion, watching boys catch turtles, whilst others, paid to return them to the river. I was told, in an effort to cleanse their souls, whilst someone chanted a Buddhist creed. The Tianjin Eye is just a short walk from the hotel and worth a visit, if the persistent smog is not in evidence and you don’t suffer from vertigo! A friend, who went on the eye when it was smoggy, said "It was much like the London Eye but in London, there is something to see!"
This Holiday Inn is modern and smart, occupying a glass tower; my room, which was a corner club room, was excellent, a large bright space with an excellent modern bathroom with plenty of room for two. The desk and seating area was super and the Wi-Fi fast and efficient, with no annoying signing-in and no dropped connections. The bed was comfortable and my only question is: why the hideous carpet? However, excellent rooms apart, this is a highly impersonal hotel where almost no one speaks any English, they appeared muddled over everything, my booking was muddled, my check-in was muddled and my check-out was a farce of errors and incompetence. My reception was frosty and the check in process took an age. On leaving, my bill was wrong and I had to fight for a late check-out, despite being entitled to one, as a Platinum card holder and the hotel was virtually empty, so no excuse there.
There is a pleasant Club lounge with an excellent view, some of the staff were helpful and spoke a little English but others were totally useless, unable to provide eggs or even toast efficiently, from a toaster which appeared to be held together with sticky tape. The breakfast is not suitable for foreign visitors, mostly Chinese, with congee (rice porridge) greasy noodles, deep fried batter sticks and dumplings filled with pork and sweet bean paste, not everyone’s choice of breakfast! No sugar free cereal, when I asked for corn flakes I was given Frosties.
The complimentary cocktails, which are provided in all IHG Club Lounges, are always welcome but unfortunately in this one, there was only a little ice, almost melted in the bucket and when I asked for lemon for my Gin & Tonic, I was told that they didn’t have any. In a huge hotel with several restaurants and bars? I find this difficult to believe, in fact there is little doubt that I was being lied to, a trait which is only too evident in modern China.
There are horrible, smelly lavatories, hardly any better than the disgusting public ones but this is in the club lounge of a five star hotel! In the ladies there is a most unpleasant unlined bin with no lid and full to the brim with used sanitary products and soiled loo roll. According to my female companion, this bin remained un-emptied for the whole of our three day stay.
Come on IHG! Get it together, your hotels are amongst the best in the world, don’t let your properties in China let the side down, you need staff training and hospitality management, good cleaning and excellent honest service, or you will undoubtedly, lose your faithful adherents and loyal members.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Holiday Inn Tianjin Riverside is the best mid-scale business hotel in Tianjin, conveniently located with easy access to the business areas and development Zones, as well as easy link to Beijing via rail and highway systems. The hotel offers spacious accomodation, modern and high quality restaurants, and a good combination of meeting facilities, making it a preferred choice for meetings and business travelers. It is also close to the major tourist attractions, making it a perfect weekend getaway. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn Tianjin Riverside Hotel Tianjin