Earlier this year a business colleague and I had business in a number of major cities on the east coast of China starting in Beijing and Hangzhou was our second stop for four days.The flight from Beijing was short as Hangzhou is a major city about 150 miles south of Shanghai and two and a half hours flight from the capital.We arrived on a filthy wet and windy day,the hotel car met us and drove with pounding rain on what seemed an endless industrial estate until the outskirts of the city became visable.
Shining on the horizon was a Golden sphere which looked like a giant golf ball dwarfing everything nearby,the driver said this was our hotel.We were met on arrival by management and asked to check in on the club floor as we are both members of the Ambassador program.In the club lounge we were given hot teas before being told we would not be getting the customary upgrades as the hotel was currently occupied by the military officers conference and all the good rooms have been assigned.
After some negotiation the Assistant manager on the club floor found a junior suite for my partner and after me saying no to my room as unacceptable, a very fine suite was eventually found based on my Royal Ambassador status.However the wait was long and it was getting close to late evening.We headed for the main restaurant on the lower lobby all set beneath this amazing open atrium,the rain poured outside and visually as most of the sphere is glass ,it appears you are looking from the inside of a waterfall.We were expecting a happy stay and made our way to the bar area to wait for the evening buffet to open.The lady hostess could not understand English and it took a great deal of effort to order a bottle of champagne and eventually this was delivered by another server with a happier smile.
Shortly after five we followed an endless group of young officers in the familiar green uniforms and found no tables available and a mess hall barracks flurry to eat everything in sight.................literally.
As quick as new food arrived it was as quickly dispersed with a degree of what are you Westerners doing here we are the Army and take priority here.Eventually some member of the management found us a table and as quickly,the officers all left,leaving behind a shamble of dishes and an almost naked buffet. Fat chefs stood behind the hot dishes which when the lids were removed they were basically empty Little attempt was made to renew the food and we requested a manger.We eventually got a plate of oysters,two poor looking steaks,badly cooked and what was left of the fruit.
Breakfast was a bit better as we timed our arrival in order to meet the same manager as the night before and he came over with his boss from Food and Beverages,they listened but with deaf ears,That day we had wanted an experienced guide and car for a private city tour.One arrived in a minivan and a young lady who had a parrot voice and a well chorographed itenary but was unable to converse or answer questions.We rushed to a tourist site, walked with umberellas in the rain, she got commissions every time we bought anything and we could not find a good restaurant in the entire city. We later found out too late she had just started the job and did not know the city at all.
My colleague and I had a lousy day,we went back to the hotel hoping for a better dinner but not on this visit,so in desperation and totally depressed we advised the management we would change our tickets and were leaving two days early.We spent a little time in the club lounge and the one redeeming factor was a charming lady in senior management who had sought us out,firstly to apologise and also to try and be helpful..........................she was the best part of the hotel and if she had been able to alter all the things that had gone wrong we may have stayed. But sadly nothing improved and we left early the next morning.
Apart from the stunning architecture,the facilities and service within is poor,the senior management are having a very hard time training locals and their junior staff. I think the entire hotel can cater for the Chinese market but is certainly not ready for Western guests,the level of English spoken by the majority of staff is poor to say the least and therefore this is one hotel I do not intend going back to....................................
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 September 2011
Thank you for taking the time to convey your comments regarding your recent experience with us. I was happy to hear you were pleased with the hotel itself. I was disappointed to read that you had a poor service experience when you visited the restaurant, we will review for possible modifications so to better accommodate our guest in the future. We rely on you, our guest, to let us know how we are doing and how we can better meet your needs. I have taken note and wish to thank you for all your valuable comments and suggestions as the InterContinental Hangzhou is geared towards providing the highest level of hospitality to our guests.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC