Garden Hotel, which opened in 1985, is one of the first five-star luxury hotels in Guangzhou. The hotel, now managed by local hospitality group LN Hospitality, was rated as one of the only three Platinum Five-star Hotels in China in 2007, and the only one in South China – the other two being China World Hotel in Beijing and The Portman Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai.
The hotel joined the “WorldHotels Elite” collection of the independent hotel alliance Worldhotels in 2003. It was also the headquarter hotel for the 2010 Asian Games held in Guangzhou in 2010.
Where is it?
The hotel is located in Guangzhou’s Huanshidong neighbourhood. It takes roughly 40 minutes to travel from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport to the hotel by car, and about 20 minutes from Guangzhou East Railway Station. The hotel offers a complimentary one-way shuttle bus service from the hotel to Guangzhou East Railway Station.
The nearest metro station is Taojin Station on Line 5, and Exit A is just located next to the hotel entrance.
What’s it like?
The whole property consists of two towers: the higher one is the main hotel building, while the other is home to 470 offices and 150 apartments. In front of the property, there’s a large front garden with green lawns and fountains.
When I entered the lobby, my first impression was that it’s really spacious and grand. I didn’t feel crowded even though there were many people there. Then a large mural behind the reception area grabbed my attention. This 24-metre long mural, made of black marble and gold foil paper, depicts a total of 12 scenes from the classic Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber.
If you happen to raise your head, you’ll see another artwork named “Golden Dragon Frolicking with a Pearl”, which the hotel says is the largest caisson ceiling in Guangzhou.
There are also a few retail stores in the lobby, in addition to these works of art.
The hotel has 828 guestrooms and suites, divided into five categories: Premier Room, Garden 66, Executive 66, Garden Suite and Ling Nan Suite. Room sizes range from 32 to 192 sqm. This time, I was staying at Room 1102, a newly renovated Garden 66 with a king-sized bed. Here “66” means the room size is 66 sqm.
Immediately behind the door is a spacious work desk covered with a thick leather desk pad, which is separated from the door with a three-leaf semi-transparent screen. I don’t like writing on a hard surface, so I found it quite comfortable writing on the thick leather desk pad, and the large desk provided ample space as well.
The work desk is also equipped with three electric sockets, two USB plugs and a stationery kit that contains a pen, a scissor, a ruler, a sharpener, an eraser, a glue stick, a stapler and several binder clips.
The well-designed cabinet had the mini bar, which was fully stocked with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages as well as some snacks. Complimentary TWG tea bags and Nespresso coffee capsules can also be found here. On the wall next to the cabinet, there’s a piece of artwork of the traditional Cantonese-style tracery.
In front of the work desk is the living area, outfitted with a long sofa, a small Chinese style round table, a single couch chair and a wall-mounted TV.
More Cantonese elements can be found in the bedroom. There’s lacquer-style artwork above the bed that depicts a traditional Chinese garden, and two bedside lamps. The design of these lamps was inspired by a birdcage, which reflects the local tradition of taking birds to teahouses for gatherings in the past.
There’s a JBL Bluetooth sound speaker on one bedside table, and two USB plugs can be found on the other side.
Other amenities in the bedroom include one lounge bed beside the window, a second wall-mounted TV and a luggage rack beneath it. The window offered a view of the road and buildings opposite the hotel, though there are rooms overlooking the hotel’s back garden, which I guess is a better view.
What’s more, as mentioned above, the hotel’s large front garden helps maintain some distance from the busy road. So I didn’t hear any noise from the road during my stay, and with the help of the blackout curtain, I had good sleep.
The bathroom can be separated from the bedroom with a sliding door and the bathtub is just next to the bed.
Food and beverage
The hotel is home to six major dining venues, plus a bar, a lobby lounge and a patisserie.
The Cascade Cafe offers buffet breakfast (6am-10:30am on weekdays, 6am-11am on weekends and public holidays), buffet lunch (12am-2:30pm) and both buffet and à la carte dinner (6pm-10pm). It also serves Sunday brunch from 12pm to 3pm. The eatery is situated on Level 1 with views of the hotel’s man-made waterfall in the back garden as well as an open-air terrace.
The hotel has two Cantonese restaurants. Lai Wan Market on Level 2 is an all-day dining eatery for dim sum specialties (7am-12am). There are even three dining tables designed to resemble the traditional fishing boats known as “sampans” in what is known as Lychee Bay today in Guangzhou’s southwestern Liwan District.
The Peach Blossom is a Cantonese fine dining restaurant. The design and decoration of this restaurant was inspired by the classic Chinese novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The eight VIP rooms are all named after the characters in the novel. Lunch is served from 11am to 2:30pm daily, and dinner is served from 5:30pm to 10:30pm. On weekends and public holidays, the restaurant also offers breakfast from 7:30am to 11am.
For other non-Chinese cuisines, there’s the Japanese Restaurant on Level 2 open for lunch (11:30am-3pm) and dinner (6pm-11:30pm) except on Sundays. The Connoisseur on Level 3 features California and steakhouse cuisine. Business lunch is served from 12pm to 2:30pm from Monday to Friday, while it is also open for dinner from 6pm to 10:30pm from Tuesday to Saturday.
The hotel has a revolving restaurant called The Carousel on Level 30, the hotel’s highest floor. It is only open for buffet dinner (6pm-10:45pm). It takes about two hours to finish a 360-degree rotation, which offers panoramic views of Guangzhou.
There’s also Tavern Bar, an English/Irish pub offering fine wines and cigars (5pm-1am) and HSD cafe on for coffee, pastries and grab-and-go breakfast in the morning (7am-12am), both on Level 1.
The lobby lounge, also located on Level 1, offers afternoon tea and drinks in the evening (10am-1am). What makes it special is that there’s a four-metre high paper-made golden statue of “Marshal Liu”, who, in the Taoist tradition, is the commander of the celestial soldiers of the West Camp of the Camps of Five Directions. There’s also a Filipino band giving live music performance from Tuesdays to Saturdays between 7:30pm and 1:15am.
Executive lounge and business centre
Guests whose room rates include admission fees to the executive lounge can access the hotel’s executive lounge on Level 4, which is open from 6am to 12am daily.
The executive lounge has both indoor and outdoor areas: the indoor area, divided into dedicated leisure and dining areas, can accommodate around 68 guests; while the open-air garden is outfitted with four tables that can seat up to 16 people in total. The exclusive benefits include express check-in and check-out service, daily buffet breakfast, complimentary all-day non-alcoholic drinks and snacks, as well as evening cocktail.
Executive lounge guests can also enjoy a RMB200 (US$28) laundry allowance per room per night, and complimentary one-way limousine transfer per stay, which guests need to book 24 hours in advance. There’s also a meeting room that can hold 10 people that guests can book for a two-hour complimentary use daily.
A Business Centre is situated on the same level. Guests can enjoy a variety of business services including courier service, equipment rental, secretarial and translation service, and even business card printing. It is open from 8am to 10pm on weekdays, and from 9am to 6pm on weekends.
The hotel has a 10,000-sqm garden which features Lingnan (Cantonese) style garden design with greeneries, rockeries, pavilions and artistic installations. The twin man-made waterfall cascading over the rockery is 18 metres high and seven metres wide. The garden is open 24 hours, and guests need to use their room key cards to access the garden.
Other wellness facilities include a 24-hour gym, a 22-metre long outdoor swimming pool equipped with two jacuzzi (open hours: 6am-10pm), as well as an Angsana-branded spa, all situated on Level 4. There are also two tennis courts located at the back garden near a traditional Chinese pavilion.
Meeting and event facilities
The hotel has over 3,000 sqm of event and meeting space, which spans across a grand ballroom and eight multi-function rooms.
The Garden Grand Ballroom on Level 1, which measures over 1,300 sqm, is equipped with three high-definition LED walls and can accommodate 1,000 people for standing cocktails or 80 tables in a banquet setting. The size of the eight multi-function rooms ranges from 60 to 600 sqm. They can host between 50 and 500 guests.
It’s a very Cantonese hotel. It shows how local cultural elements can be incorporated into the modern hotel design. Touches of local culture can be found nearly everywhere within the hotel from lobby and public facilities to private guestrooms.
What’s more, I would say it’s also really convenient to stay at this hotel because of the extensive services available inside the property. First, the hotel has a range of dining outlets and leisure facilities. There are also stores and services that you normally would not expect when staying at a hotel, such as a florist in the lobby, a hair salon on Level 4 and even a post office located inside the other tower – the one for offices and apartments. The Guangzhou office of Thai Airways, United Airlines and Vietnam Airlines are all located inside the property – which might be useful if you happen to fly with these airlines.
- Best for… all the Cantonese elements throughout the whole property and the extensive range of facilities and services
- Don’t miss… going for a walk at the hotel’s back garden
- Price Internet rates for a Premier Suite in mid-November start from RMB1,380 (US$195), tax not included
- Contact 368 Huanshi Dong Lu, Guangzhou, 510064, China; +86 20 8333 8989; gardenhotel.com