Niccolo is the new luxury brand from Marco Polo Hotels group, which is being introduced to the Chinese market before expanding internationally. Billed as a “contemporary urban chic hotel”, the brand is targeted towards “global explorers” who enjoy the taste of luxury. The flagship Chengdu property opened its doors in April, with further Niccolo by Marco Polo hotels under development in Chongqing, Changsha and Suzhou.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
A breath of fresh air. The modern glass-fronted lobby lounge sets the tone for contemporary, stylish luxury that echoes throughout the property. Helpful, English-speaking staff and a new breed of concierge – Niccolo’s “City Insiders”, were on hand to answer queries and suggest places to go. The smell of ‘newness’ still permeated the corridors during my visit in June.
WHERE IS IT?
Location-wise, it doesn’t get much better. Adjoined to the giant International Finance Square (IFS) shopping centre and across the road from the new Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li development, it’s in the heart of the Jinjiang commercial and business district. Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport is just a 25-minute drive away and the subway network is within walking distance. The only downside I found was that the relative newness of the property did cause some confusion for taxi drivers.
Most of the 230 rooms are comprised of either the N1 Deluxe or N2 Grand Deluxe variety – essentially the same, with the latter enjoying better views of either the IFS Sculpture Garden of Daci Temple and Taikoo Li. There are also N3 Executive rooms and a selection of suites for an upgraded experience.
At 45 sqm, the N2 Grand Deluxe guest room felt very spacious and the “fashion-inspired”, décor was very neutral, clean and modern.
A large kingsize bed took centre stage, while a separate lounge-like area was set up by the windows, complete with a sofa, armchair and TV. This was great for relaxing, however it made it slightly awkward to watch TV from the bed.
Meanwhile a large desk, complete with a universal socket and complimentary stationary, was propped against the wall at the foot of the bed. If I could have chosen, I’d have swapped the position of the TV and the desk. A Nespresso coffee making machine and tea making facilities were welcome, along with a range of snacks in the minibar.
The marble-clad bathroom was separated by sliding doors and also very spacious, with a freestanding bath tub and a rain shower. The large vanity area came with a full-sized hairdryer, close-up mirror and ample lighting, plus a range of Italian Lorrenzo amenities.
Complimentary “high-speed” internet was promised, and while there were waves of signal coming through, even my new laptop struggled to maintain a connection.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
Niccolo kitchen on the first floor is an all-day dining venue serving up a variety of international cuisines, from pizza and premium Australian beef steak, to yakitori chicken and salmon sashimi. The international buffet breakfast (served from 6am) was great, with Italian coffee whipped up at the barista station and chefs ready to prepare your eggs any way you want.
For a more local flavour, Yue Hin on the second floor specialises in Cantonese, Sichuan and Huaiyang cuisines for lunch and dinner. Seven private dining rooms are available for business or social gatherings.
Cocktails, snacks and other premium tipples can be found in The Bar on the third floor, a lively area open in the evenings until 1am.
For a quintessential Chengdu tea experience, head to the elegant Tea Lounge. Natural light floods in through the floor-to-ceiling windows, glistening off the aquatic sculpture suspended from the ceiling and highlighting the serene teal, gold and silver colour scheme. A dedicated tea sommelier will help you to choose your infusions from around the world and perform a calming tea ritual.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES
While there is no executive lounge or club floor, there are a range of meeting rooms that can be used by business travellers. There is also a large ballroom on the seventh floor, which can cater for up to 1,000, plus The Conservatory on the eighth floor – an unusual oval glass venue surrounded by the sculpture garden, which has already been snapped up by international MICE groups.
A small gym and 20-metre indoor pool with dry saunas are available on the sixth floor, but, given the hotel’s location, arguably the best form of cardio is to shop till you drop!
Subtle rather than in-your-face luxury, a team of friendly, helpful staff and a fantastic location make Niccolo Chengdu a very pleasant stay.
HOW MANY ROOMS 230 rooms in five categories: N1 Deluxe (45sqm), N2 Grand Deluxe (45 sqm) N3 Executive (60 sqm) Explorer Suite (110 sqm) and Tiara Suite (85 sqm).
HIGHLIGHTS Fantastic location, international breakfast buffet with perfect Eggs Benedict, beautiful Tea Lounge for relaxing.
PRICE Internet rates for N2 Grand Deluxe Room in April start from RMB1,101 (US$162).
CONTACT Tower 3, Chengdu IFS, No.1, Section 3, Hongxing Road, Jinjiang District, Chengdu, Sichuan 610021; Tel: (86 28) 8220-8888; marcopolohotels.com/en/niccolo