Following the opening of a Mercure, Ibis Styles and two Ibis properties in Suzhou, Accorhotels has now introduced its midscale Novotel product here. The Novotel Suzhou SIP opened in March this year.
WHERE IS IT?
The hotel is located in the Suzhou Industry Park (SIP), overlooking the famous Jinji Lake and Moon Harbour. Suzhou SIP Railway Station is about 3km away, while Suzhou Railway Station (the largest of the three railway stations in the city) is about 20 minutes by car. It takes roughly 45 minutes driving from Wuxi Airport, or one and two hours’ drive from Hongqiao and Pudong Airport in Shanghai, respectively. It is within walking distance of popular sites such as the Suzhou Culture and Arts Centre. As the hotel is still very new to the area, my taxi driver was not familiar with the property, so I had to stay alert to see the hotel sign.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
This four-star hotel is connected to the Jinji Lake International Convention Centre, which also opened in March this year. Entering the hotel, I was first struck by the soaring ceilings and pillarless lobby, but then my attention was drawn to the contemporary lounge area: the entire far wall has been turned into a decorative bookshelf, while a selection of sofas, armchairs and abstract seating create a stylish, sociable area complete with a bar – a welcoming first impression.
The hotel has 307 rooms and suites. Smoking and non-smoking floors alternate from levels 3 to 8. My Deluxe King room, with a comfortable king-size bed, was located on level 6 – a non-smoking floor.
The room was quite compact but had a smart design that maximised the space, with the wardrobe and safe neatly concealed behind wall compartments.
An interesting feature of the room was an indoor balcony area behind a glass partition, letting in natural light and providing pleasant views over the park and lake. Having said that, overall I found the room to be a bit dim – it could have done with some more ambient lighting.
The work desk is located near the balcony and universal sockets are available. Given the room size, it was never going to be a large desk, but there was space enough for a laptop, telephone and documents. It was a shame there wasn’t a telephone located next to the bed, however, as this would have been more convenient when answering my morning wake-up call.
Despite being located above busy Suzhou Avenue East, the room was quiet and peaceful – the double-glazed balcony windows muting the traffic sounds below. I also appreciated the free shoe-shining service that is available for all guests. The bathroom was a standard size, with a large mirror and its own Novotel-branded bath kits.
BARS AND RESTAURANTS
All-day dining is available at The Square, which offers an international buffet with live cooking stations. Bo Ya Xuan specialises in Jiangsu and Cantonese cuisine, such as dim sum and BBQ dishes, and offers seven private dining rooms. Times Garden is an outdoor bar with a western BBQ restaurant set up in the garden – although this is only open from May to October. Finally, the Lobby Lounge offers a range of beverages, as well as daily afternoon tea and a happy hour.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILTIES
There is a pillarless ballroom and five modern meeting rooms ranging from 36 sqm to 440 sqm, all located on the hotel’s ground floor.
The hotel offers an indoor heated swimming pool, fitness centre and a spa that focuses on Chinese therapies. These can be found on level B1.
A hotel that already meets high standards just two months after opening. A good location close to the CBD, train station, shopping mall and entertainment spots makes it a great option for business and events travellers.
Internet rates for a Deluxe King room in mid-December start from RMB910 (US$135) including taxes and surcharges.
688 Suzhou Avenue East, 215027, Suzhou, China; tel +86 512 6288 2800; novotel.com