Story and photos by Sharon King Hoge

Shangri-La Guangzhou Exterior Duskview

Shangri-La Guangzhou

Strolling through acres of gardens and lounging beside the meandering outdoor  swimming pool just steps from the lush riverbank, it is hard to believe  you are in the midst of one of China's most chaotic cities and walking  distance from one of the biggest convention centers in the world. But  that is the case for fortunate guests at the Shangri-La in China's third largest city, Guangzhou.

Twice a year during the mammoth Canton Fair, the hotel teems with activity as the most convenient location for businesspeople who come from all over  the world to buy and sell wares. Tourists are best to avoid those April  and October events. But the rest of the year this urban resort  stretched out along the picturesque Pearl River is an ideal urban  retreat for visitors seeking relief from the chaotic bustle of the  central city and the skyscraper global chain hotels that dominate the  newly emerging business district.

Shangri-La Guangzhou Lobby lounge overlooks the park

Giant crystal chandeliers overhang the spacious central lobby which houses  reception desks and the cozy plush club chairs of the Lobby Bar. From  the efficient reception desk, guests are ushered upstairs to rooms with  floor to ceiling windows overlooking the river and gardens below.  Facing the king size bed, is a wall with ledges for storage and desk  space. There are facilities for ironing and for making coffee and tea, a fully stocked mini-bar and refrigerator, electronic safe, comfortable  robe and slippers. Wi-fi is complimentary, there are 40 channels on  the 15" flat screen TV.

Shangri-La Guangzhou room with tea service basket

Totally done up in marble the bathroom has a separate shower and tub, a  spacious console, and amenities which thoughtfully include a handy  elastic hair band. Women's amenities are attractively presented in a  folding white satin case.

Horizon Club guests on the 31-36 floors are granted private check in and out  and complimentary buffet breakfast, tea, and evening cocktails in the  extensive lounge where efficient staff members provide secretarial,  concierge, and translating services. Additionally Horizon Club guests  are entitled to free international newspapers and fruits delivered to  their rooms. Shoeshine and one suit pressing is also free of charge.   pix: view from Horizon Club

Shangri-La Guangzhou View from window of riverside pool and park

Outdoors in the garden, guests swim in the landscaped outdoor pool, jog along  the riverside, or try the two rooftop outdoor tennis courts. Indoors  there is a 100-foot swimming pool, its glass ceiling enabling swimmers  to watch the sun and clouds drifting by.

World class facilities in the Health Club include the 24-hour gym with 18  types of Life Fitness equipment. Yoga, balance, and pilates group  sessions are scheduled, and private trainers are available. Locker  rooms are fully outfitted with sauna and steam rooms and a jacuzzi that  works at the push of a button. In special spray showers, guests can  chose between warm orange or chilled mint splashes.

Shangri-La Guangzhou Entrance to Chi Spa

Based on restoring the essential life force chi, Shangri-La's signature Chi spas balance aesthetics and harmony with  beauty treatments based on traditional Asian healing philosophies.  Guests are escorted to treatment rooms on a path over a serene pool.  Single and double spa suites each include herbal steam and shower,  relaxation lounge, and changing/vanity areas. Derived from a method  said to have been used by Qing Empress Ci'xi the spa's exclusive  Oriental Pearl Radiance Facial incorporates the therapeutic qualities of actual powdered pearl.

In-room dining is available 24 hours, but guests are tempted to try out the  hotel's many options: Japanese cuisine in Nadaman, fusion seafood in  S.E.Asia Kitchen & Bar, traditional Chinese specialties in the  elegant Summer Palace which includes 18 luxurious private dining rooms. Daily meals are served in theatrical WOK TOO on the main floor with the sumptuous breakfast buffet, all day service, and a final candy "bar"  where departing guests fill a little bag of with M&M's,  marshmallows, and gummy bears to take along.

Shangri-La Guangzhou Peking Duck Pizza in Ribs II

Homesick Westerners can treat Asian guests to a "down home" meal at RIBS where  the menu features classic North Carolina Baby Back Ribs, bacon bourbon  cocktails, and Peking Duck pizza, which is delicious! Piece de  resistance is the dessert Bomb, a hollow globe of chocolate which melts  revealing a brownie and ice cream inside.

On occasional weekends, guest can mingle with locals at special hotel  events -- music concerts -- classical, jazz, the Vienna Boys Choir --  are held in the garden and at Easter there's a mammoth hunt for eggs.  Across the street, every 15 minutes a tidy tram charges about 35 cents  to take guests along the Pearl River bank  In one direction the  destination is a traditional fishing wharf with food shacks and local  color, the other way leads to the clubs and cafés of the Party Pier and  on to terminate at the iconic Canton Tower which can be climbed for  views out over the city -- and a look back at the Shangri-La, named for  "paradise" and in this case offering not only that but the best of both  worlds -- business and pleasure.




© July 2015 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.


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