“Sadly not up to Shangri-La standards. And really, no wi-fi in suite??”
We really wanted to love our experience. We had just recently come from the Shangri-La in KL and URBN Hotel in Shanghai so had a high level of expectation.
It truly is depressing. We arrived at the East gate and check-in, and inmediately felt everything looked a bit dated but nothing terrible. We checked in and were upgraded to a villa suite, which sounded promising. Wow, no.
The path to the villa just depressed us -- gravel, construction/cleaning supplies, not lush ShangriLa grounds -- to be greeted by the world's most dismal lobby upon entering the villa -- a solitary faded couch shrouded in darkness -- and shown our suite on the top floor that we suspect was doubling as the storage room. No joke -- the "living room furniture" was huge, old and strewn about the room without arrangement. One of the wardrobes smelled like something -- many things -- have died in there, and the suite overall just seemed unfinished -- little art, etc.
We agreed to deal with it later as we were starving and wanted to walk around the lake a bit before bed.
In a hurry, we popped down to the hotel's Italian restaurant for a quick bite -- arancini, pasta and pizza, all very good though over-priced even for a hotel like this. We forgot our umbrella so ran back up to the villa ... And were locked out of our room. None of our keys worked. The re-programmed keys didn't work. The front desk or master keys didn't work. So they showed us into the suite below ours to wait -- and surprise, this suite actually had matching furniture that was arranged, usable wardrobes, more light and decor ... A little closer to what you'd expect. We waited an hour (and still are not sure why we had to wait there) for them to get into the room and bring down our luggage, then were able to squeeze in a few minutes of exploring.
The other major flaw is NO WI FI in this villa. We were shocked. A "luxury hotel" in this day and age? There was wired .... But that doesn't help our iPhones and MacBook Air. So anytime we wanted Internet we had to schlep down to the main lobby.
Beds are very comfortable. Bathroom was really old -- like, small tub shower with shower curtain and liner.
A plus: the business center took care of our return train tickets for a very small service fee.
After that, we really didn't spend a ton of time in the hotel. HZ is lovely -- get out and explore.
Do NOT rent the hotel bikes -- they are 25RMB/hr compared with the city bike rental system which is easy to figure out and CHEAP -- at the end of three days of biking, our total rental fee came to 3RMB each. Really.
Things to do: bike around the lake, stopping at whatever looks interesting; eat at Green Tea restaurant; early morning bike to tea fields (Longjing, near Tea Museum, was easy to get to); hike up to Baochu Pagoda and keep going into the mountains (path is paved and safe); avoid the causeways (crowded and not really that interesting. If you want to get that middle-of-the-lake view, rent one of the small boats for an hour); eat at the Hyatt restaurant (forgetting the name but very good and fun to try some of the locally inspired dishes); get off touristy roads into some of the smaller streets, sample the street food; freely take taxis (they are cheap).
In all, we loved HZ but would not recommend Shangri La. There are other parts of the hotel that looked newer but everything should be up to par at a place like the Shang. Next time, we'll stay at the Hyatt (lovely and excellent location on east side of lake) or check out boutique hotels. Friends like Four Seasons too.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC