Story and photos by Sharon King Hoge
HILTON GUANGZHOU TIANHE
There are urban resorts along the river and international hotel towers in the emerging commercial center, but travelers to Gaungzhou whose priority is location, location, location head toward Tianhe, the central business district and check into the soothing and elegant Hilton Guangzhou Tianhe. Withing walking distance from the major Guangzhou East Railway Station and Metro stops and surrounded by familiar outlets -- IKEA, H&M, Pizza Hut, Uniquo it's a convenient up market refuge in the heart of town. Situated behind a reflecting pool stretching nearly the length of its facade -- lit bright blue at night, the Hilton is not only beautifully situated, but beautifully designed with a full range of amenities and services.
At the west end of the expansive multi-story marble lobby efficient receptionists check you in and send you up to rooms that are excellent examples of Hilton's characteristic sense of layout, providing every comfort in a compact space. A club chair and table perch beside the floor-to-ceiling cityscape windows beside the king size bed and convenient desk. Plush silvery curtains can be pulled open or closed for darkness.
A translucent wall partially separates the bedroom from the marble bathroom stocked with Peter Thomas Roth signature amenities, a lighted mirror and floor scale. Notable are the contemporary plumbing fixtures, squarely geometric chrome with fully six nozzles in the shower. A black enamel box holds toothbrushes, combs, and cotton swabs in a slide out drawer. Accessories can be placed on top so it doesn't diminish the counter space.
When it's time to eat, room service is available 24 hours a day, but there are several venues for those who prefer to dine out. With a full array of juices, cereals and pancakes, cheeses and cold cuts, Chinese and Japanese options, Executive Chef Francesco Rizzo's breakfast buffet stretches so far through Cafe at 2 that we teased you'd work up an appetite just making your way from one end to the other. If that's not enough, each day the Cafe serves an additional special "passed" treat -- on Monday and Tuesday it's blends of healthy juices -- carrot and ginger, celery and honey; Wednesday and Thursday guests are offered baked goods (I had a delicious custard roll - a Chinese bun filled with creamy custard); and on weekends they serve poached eggs on muffins.
For lunch and dinner, Sui Xuan serves dim sum and Cantonese specialties, and includes 13 private dining suites and while Italian fare is served up from the open kitchen at Il Ponte. There's causal snacking in the lobby T Lounge and Bar with tea and coffee, pastries and sweets. Outside on the terrace, diners sample tapas and snacks under the umbrellas at Alfresco, and after dark guests congregate in Bar One off the lobby to enjoy cocktails and live entertainment.
Cardiovascular and strength training devices are by Precor. The gym overlooks the famous Tianhe sports arena where you can pedal or pump away on PRECOR cardiovascular and strength training devices while watching morning football practice and matches in the stadium across the street.
But the piece de resistance is the outdoor (!) pool -- overlooking the nearby skyscrapers with lounge chairs, tables, and umbrellas for those who want to sun bask in the city unaware of the frenetic commercial activity outside.
The signature eforea: spa is a haven on the sixth floor with an ice fountain, Vichy shower room, Swiss shower jets, and reflexology treatments. Its Thermal Lounge provides a range of hot and cold therapies. Next door to eforea, the Momo salon by Hergert Ng can be booked for perms, touch-ups, eyelash extensions.
Every half hour a free shuttle bus takes guests on ventures to other parts of the city. A rare and valuable amenity is the hotel's concierge desk where Andy, Jack, and their colleagues are not only familiar with the locality but unusually fluent in English and translation, happy to book dinner cruises on the Pearl River, visits to Zaha Hadid's monumental riverfront opera house, tours to the former Colonial outpost at Shamian Island and other nearby local sites.
Twice a year in April and October Guangzhou hosts the two mammoth Canton Trade Fairs. Tourists may want to avoid that time in the city or at any rate, book ahead. At any time advance rates may be considerably lower and rooms at the Hilton may be found in the $100-$150 range.
215 Linhe West Cross Road, Tianhe, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
© August 2015 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.