At 20 years old, this is the matriarch of Xiamen’s international luxury hotels, and it has built a loyal following over time – even staff from competing hotels talk of it with fondness and respect. It underwent renovation from 2008 to 2010.
WHERE IS IT?
In one of the best locations on Xiamen island, in the southwest downtown district just across the road from Yundang Lake on a quiet street, although only a short stroll from busy Hubin Beilu and the main government offices. It’s a 30-minute drive (in good traffic) from the airport in the north of the island.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
A relatively low-rise eight storeys high, this 300-room hotel has a more traditional atmosphere than its current competitors, although that seems to work in its favour. On the ground floor is a high-end shopping arcade, and the understated marbled entrance opens on to a slightly raised, expansive lobby lounge that sits under an atrium reaching to the top of the building where a glass roof allows natural light to flood in. On the far wall a huge stone mural of Marco Polo’s travels is a good conversation starter.
More than ten room types are split between lake view and city view, suites, Club Premier and deluxe rooms. Floors seven and eight are Club floors, with commensurate privileges including butler services (note that the seventh floor is a smoking floor). I was in a Premier King, a new room type dating to the renovation. Normal room size is 30 sqm but Premiers are an almost suite-like 60 sqm. A short entrance corridor leads into the large lounge and bed area, with an expanse of windows and buckets of natural light. A large, curving dark-wood desk dominates the “living room” area. The heavy chair and desk are excellent, with plenty of space and a large angle lamp – my only complaint was that there was just one universal electric socket in the wall, and it was so far away from the natural placement of my laptop that I had to move everything slightly and face the TV rather than the window for the cable to
reach – a minor irritation.
The bed was firm and extremely comfortable; an iPod dock and digital clock was on the nightstand but no sockets or USB ports for electric devices. An attractive silk screen graced the wall behind the headboard, and the whole room was decorated in neutral greys and browns. The flatscreen TV was a long way from the bed – they are at opposite ends of the room – and the remote control was entirely in Chinese, causing me some trouble before I could access the TV channels. The bathroom was large, in white marble with a deep stand-alone bathtub, walk-in shower and toilet stall, plus double sinks.
A total of ten function rooms are located on the second floor, and include a 425 sqm grand ballroom. The Silk rooms can be configured in
a variety of ways to suit varying numbers for events (from 40 to 120 people). The business centre is also on this floor, as is a flight travel centre.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
There are five F&B offerings: on the eighth floor is the Continental Club Lounge, which offers the usual breakfast, afternoon tea and cocktail periods for Club floor guests. The second floor is home to Shogun – a beautifully designed, award-winning Japanese restaurant with teppanyaki and sushi stations and plenty of private rooms. Lotus Court serves up Fujianese and Cantonese cuisine in a very traditional setting. Round the corner towards the function rooms is Café Marco, the relaxed all-day dining restaurant with a variety of open kitchen stations, and the expansive Lobby Lounge rounds off the eating and drinking options.
On the third floor is an outdoor swimming pool (open 7am-10pm) with views over the lake, surrounded by chaises longues (there are nine “Cabana” rooms with direct French window access to this area). The 24-hour gym and yoga room is also here, plus a relaxation lounge with a pool table. A spa and salon is on the first (ground) floor.
A classy hotel whose location is among the city’s best. The Premier room offering is a quality product – spacious, practical and comfortable – and the dining options are another strong point.
- PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in October start from RMB1,269 (US$191) for a Premier King room.
- CONTACT 8 Jianye Road, Hubin Bei, Xiamen 361012;
tel +86 592 509 1888; marcopolohotels.com