A quiet escape in buzzing Guangzhou
Shangri-La Hotel, Guangzhou is a huge luxury hotel in southern China with more than 700 rooms. It’s located in a quiet neighborhood popular with those looking to stay away from the sometimes hectic downtown traffic. With its verdant grounds, enormous outdoor pool, and leisure facilities (hello putting green and tennis courts), the Shangri-La is far more resort than city hotel. And with free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel and well-appointed work stations in each room, it’s a popular spot for business travelers, especially those visiting the nearby exhibition center. It’s also about a four-minute walk to the metro station and a 15-minute drive to downtown.
The décor scheme at the luxury hotel is regal with an Asian flair, on par with other Shangri-La hotels. Rooms, which start at 452 square feet, feature polished dark wood furniture and plush cream-colored carpeting with a light floral print that coordinates with the silken bedspreads and delicate paintings hanging above. In the white marble bathrooms are glass-enclosed shower stalls and separate soaking tubs. Rooms have Shangri-La branded bath products while suites are stocked with goods from French brand L'Occitane.
The Guangzhou hotel has five eateries serving Thai, Italian, Japanese and Chinese food, plus the Poolside Bar and Grill catering to those lounging about outdoors. At Nadaman, which is popular with business diners, executive chef Joji Umezawa’s menu includes sushi and sashimi alongside dishes like barbecued eel. Weekend mornings see a hive of activity at Summer Palace, where Hong Kong chef Jacky Chan Kwok Hung presides over a kitchen from which dishes pour out. It’s here that the Shangri-La’s culinary team really shines, serving beautifully plated Chinese classics like buttery egg tarts and tender shrimp sautéed in longjing tea.
The mammoth outdoor pool is lined in greenery and looks more like a Hawaii escape than it does an urban one. Open April through October, the pool is especially popular with families who use the separate children’s pool. Two tennis courts are available for play until 11 p.m. for late-nighters, and the putting green is open daily, too. In a city that can be smog-choked and crowded, Shangri-La Guangzhou’s outdoor swimming and sports areas are a real treat.
The Spa and Gym
With its floor-to-ceiling windows, the gym overlooks the surrounding cityscape. The spacious fitness center has a large indoor pool, a slew of treadmills, bikes, elliptical machines, lifting equipment, and an aerobics room in which travelers can schedule workouts. At CHI, The Spa, warm low lighting and plush chairs in red hues invite you to sit down with a steaming cup of tea and peruse the treatment menu. The fourth-floor spa has 11 treatment rooms and luxe steam shower facilities. Unique to Shangri-La spas are the CHI Journeys, two-hour-plus treatments designed to massage and scrub you into utter relaxation.