The gardens around the Pan Pacific Hotel in Suzhou are quite beautiful, and the front desk surprised me with a nice upgrade to a superior room with a garden view. I stayed here for only one night in mid-May 2012. My purpose in coming to Suzhou was tourism, and this hotel provided an excellent location with reasonable proximity to Suzhou's noted gardens, canals and other attractions.
Upon arrival, I was somewhat amazed at the size of the hotel and its facade; it looks like an ancient Chinese fortress from the street. The hotel is a sprawling complex, and I had a little trouble finding my way around the place. The entire property is a little overwhelming in size and scope. I would not describe this as a cozy property at all. It's more like a castle. The arrangement of floors and elevators in different wings was a little confusing for me, but I eventually found my way around.
With an arriving guest coming by taxi, the taxi driver is welcome to drive up the long ramp that takes you way above street level to the lobby driveway. And the hotel will call taxis for you, upon which they are allowed to proceed up the driveway. However, if you want to hail your own taxi in an impromptu way, you usually need to walk down to street level by taking a central stairway, and walk out to the street curb to hail your own taxi. So, when I had a taxi bring me back to the hotel from the Tiger Hill Pagoda area on my day of departure, I held him there at the lobby driveway while I ran inside the hotel to reclaim my luggage out of temporary storage at the concierge desk, and then had him drive me on to the train station.
The Pan Pacific lobby is fairly small and is on a completely different level than the restaurants. There is a concierge desk, and I found the multi-lingual employees there very helpful with directions and other matters. The reception desk staff were efficient and friendly, and they will change currency for you.
My assigned guest room was very nice and had all of the furnishings and amenities promised on the hotel's website. The air conditioning worked well; there was plenty of hot water for the shower, and the in-room safe worked fine. The in-room internet service was excellent.
I did enjoy the breakfast buffet, but it was not included with the room. Although I felt it was slightly expensive, the buffet offerings are of high quality. I think I was looking for a little more variety.
I was not expecting Suzhou to be as spread out as it is, geographically. It takes quite awhile to get from one of the famous gardens to another, or to the museums, etc. I really enjoyed the Silk Museum, where I saw live silkworms and could handle them carefully and take photos. The Pan Pacific is just about as centrally located to everything as you can be, but the taxi trips to various places will still take you 20-30 minutes per tourist attraction. Budget your time accordingly.
For the night-time canal boat ride, the Pan Pacific is in a good location. You just cross the nearby bridge over the canal, cross over to the other side of the road, walk along the canal a short distance, and there you will find the canal boat docks. For me, it was an easy and safe walk from the hotel.
If you can afford the Pan Pacific, I recommend it as a place to stay in Suzhou. I would stay here again.
- Also Known As:
- Pan Pacific Suzhou Hotel Suzhou
- Pan Pacific Suzhou Hotel
- Sheraton Suzhou Hotel
- Sheraton Suzhou
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