Niccolo opened in Chengdu in April 2015, the first of the “contemporary urban chic” luxury brand from Marco Polo Hotels. Two further Niccolo hotels will open next year in Chongqing and Hong Kong (The Murray), while future locations include Suzhou and Changsha.
WHERE IS IT?
In the downtown Jinjiang shopping district, the hotel occupies the first 25 floors of one tower of the huge International Finance Square (IFS) shopping mall complex. Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport is half an hour’s drive away, and line 2 of the subway system is within a few minutes’ walk – there’s an entrance in the shopping mall.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
This is a modish property. A huge glass-fronted entrance area at street level offers lifts to the third-floor lobby, with a car drop-off area on the third floor level too. The lobby has a raft of interesting and beautiful modern artworks such as a 3,888-piece metal sculpture like a flock of birds.
There are 230 guestrooms in five categories: N1 Deluxe (45 sqm), N2 Grand Deluxe (also 45 sqm, but located on higher floors), N3 Executive (60 sqm), Tiara suite (85 sqm) and Explorer suite (110 sqm).
My Executive room felt very spacious, the huge windows offering unobstructed views over Tai Koo Li low-rise shopping area. The décor also helped – a classy combination of light wood walls and flooring, with light-grey marble in the corridor and bathroom.
The king-size bed is very comfortable with 500-threadcount linen and the work desk is practical, with all the requisite stationery and power outlets, including a USB multi-device charging cable. The free wifi connected immediately, but I was frustrated by varying download speed and accessibility.
The bathroom is well designed, with two entrances through sliding panel doors, twin sinks, a powerful walk-in shower and stand-alone bathtub next to a glass partition into the main room.
A nice touch is the yoga mat in the wardrobe – the space in the main room allowed me to do a Pilates workout without having to move any furniture around.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
On one side of the lobby (3/F) is The Tea Lounge, a light-filled room with a high ceiling and a conservatory feel. Breakfast is served here and afternoon tea is popular. On the other side is The Bar, a darkly furnished lounge-like drinking spot with live music and two outdoor balcony areas.
On the second floor is Yue Hin, which offers a choice of Sichuanese and Cantonese cuisine and has seven plush private rooms, whilst on the ground floor Niccolo Kitchen is a stylish international all-day dining restaurant. All of the hotel’s F&B options are à la carte, including breakfast, whose menu offered a range of “Bento” Japanese, Chinese or Western meals.
Niccolo boasts 19 function rooms from small VIP meeting rooms to the Niccolo Ballroom (750 sqm). On the eighth floor is the Conservatory, a beautiful oval glass venue surrounded by a landscaped garden for special events.
There is no Club lounge, but guests in Executive rooms and suites receive extra benefits including free non-alcoholic drinks from the minibar, wake-up call with coffee or tea, late checkout till 4pm, and complimentary laundry and pressing services.
On the sixth floor is a narrow, 20-metre indoor swimming pool (good for laps,) dry saunas and a large 24-hour gym.
This is a refreshingly modern hotel with stylish aesthetics in a city that until recently was thought parochial and behind the times. As Chengdu has grown, the competition has heated up considerably, but with its combination of spacious, comfortable rooms, smooth service and a great location, Niccolo remains a favoured accommodation option.
Internet rates for an N3 Executive room in mid-February start from RMB1,546 (US$225) including taxes and surcharges.
Tower 3, IFS No 1, Section 3, Hongxing Road, Jinjiang District, Chengdu, Sichuan 610021; tel +86 28 8220 8888