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Archive for May, 2012

China World Hotel Beijing–excellent Shangri-La hotel May 21

IMG_2571I stayed at China World Hotel in Beijing in May 2012 for a few days. I booked the room online on a Norwegian travel agent and I chose the hotel as the location seemed pretty good, I got a good rate and I am a Golden Circle member and like staying at Shangri-La/Traders hotels.  I travel a bit for work and pleasure and I have stayed at various 4 and 5 star hotels around the world just to give you an idea about the background for this hotel review – so in some ways I guess you can say I have been spoiled by staying at very nice hotels with great service.

IMG_2489I took a taxi from the airport to the hotel and it was about 140 Yuan. The hotel has a great lobby as you often see at Shangri-La hotels and when I tried to check in I was informed that as I had a club room (or Horizon room) I would be checked in at the Horizon lounge on level 20. Check in was fast and I got room 1844 located at the very end of the hall on level 18. The only thing that I found a bit strange with the reception at the hotel was that no one came to take my suitcase. Normally at 5 star Asian hotels the suitcase it brought to your room so that you don’t have to drag it around while checking in.

IMG_2500The room was larger than expected when I walked in.  The curved hallway leads to the room itself and it had yellowish/cream color carpet while the walls were in neutral colors. To start with there was a wardrobe in dark wood with a number of hangers. It also included a couple of robes and slippers together with an iron and ironing board. There were also a number of drawers and a mini safe – I’m not sure there was a plug inside the safe for charging a laptop but it seemed large enough to store one at least.

IMG_2497The bathroom was to the left after the entrance and it was very well laid out with a combination of white marble tiles and beige wall paper. There were both a bathtub (which I personally think is a waste of space) and a great, large proper shower corner – excellent. Shangri-La also knows their amenities and here you will find everything that you need…shampoo, shower gel etc but also toothbrush, shave kit etc. I do like their L’Occitane bathroom amenities and it is nice to not have to bring your own shampoo etc.

IMG_2492The room itself was quite large with a huge king-size bed. The bed was a bit too firm for my liking but it was still comfortable. And it came with a proper duvet and 4 huge pillows. There was a bench to put the suitcase on but I had to look around to finally discover that this bench also included a drawer with the laundry bag.  Apart from that there was a TV bench which included the mini bar and amenities related to that and also a work desk with a chair. There was also a chair with a small table by the window and it provided a pretty good view of the city looking south.

IMG_2490Breakfast was served at the 20th floor in the Horizon lounge and it provided more or less the same view as from the room. The lounge seemed to be a bit small so there was also a section on the 19th floor but it got pretty crowded at breakfast and during evening cocktails. The breakfast was great for me…it included some granola, fresh bananas, a great red berry smoothie and fruit. But there were also eggs to order, bread etc but if you want a huge selection you should go to the main breakfast restaurant on the lobby level. During evening cocktails it was possible to get wine, beer etc but also a nice selection of small dishes.

IMG_2498Location of the hotel is not bad at all. It is right by the Guamao metro station and metro line 1 will take you straight to the Forbidden Palace and Tianamen square in just a few stops. The hotel is also linked to the huge China World complex which includes three other Shangri-La hotels and a large mall with lots of well known brands including Louis Vuitton etc. But traffic is bad around the hotel so taking a taxi around town can take some time depending on what time of the day you go of course.

IMG_2499So what was not that great about the hotel?  Being at room 1844 I was at the very end of the hallway and hence the wifi was pretty weak. That created a bit of frustration but I also had the option of plugging directly into the wall to get broadband. And thank you Shangri-La for understanding that internet is important these days and it should be free of charge!

Communicating with hotel staff was a bit of a challenge. The main hotel staff all knew English of course but it was still a bit tricky to talk to them to ask them about stuff. I had a long conversation with the laundry department to ask when my shirts would be ready pressed and I had a hard time explaining that I had already handed in my shirts and I was just wondering when they would be done. But all in all the staff is great and did our best to help us out whenever we requested any help.

IMG_2491But apart from that…Shangri-La China World Hotel was a great hotel. The staff was great, the room was very nice and the location is quite good for sightseeing the main attractions of Beijing. There are restaurants nearby (including Aria in the hotel itself) that are rated high on e.g. TripAdvisor but do note that they are pretty upscale (like Grill on 79 (Summit Wing), China Grill (Park Hyatt) etc. But I would not mind staying at this hotel again if I had the chance and I would not hesitate to recommend it to others.

Regards
Gard
gardkarlsen.com – trip reports and pictures

 

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May 17th–Constitution day in Norway May 06

Norwegian_flagIf you come to Norway in May and you happen to be there on May 17th, you will notice that there is something special going on. There will be parades, there are people wearing strange outfits, teenagers running around in blue and red overalls etc. 17th of May if Norway’s Constitution Day and it is one of the most important holidays. The special outfits that people are wearing on this day is called Bunad and it is a traditional Norwegian dress and it comes in different versions depending on where in the country you are from. Stavanger Expats has written this article about May 17th and the “russ” – the “russ” are the kids running around in red and blue overalls and this marks the end of 13 years of schooling.  You can also find an article here about the history, the outfits, the parades etc.

Regards
Gard
gardkarlsen.com – trip reports and pictures

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