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“Everything was good until.....”
Review of Junhua Haiyi Hotel

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Junhua Haiyi Hotel
Ranked #4 of 199 Hotels in Shantou
Reviewed 10 November 2012

Stayed here for 2 nights as we had a free weekend before going to Guangzhou for a business trip.

Firstly, check in was smooth and the rooms was clean & nicely furnished. The hotel staff was friendly and recommended some places for us to have dinner. We walked around in the evening but did not find anything we liked. Instead we ended up having dinner at the Chinese restaurant within the hotel (Peach Garden). The food here is really good!!! The braised goose is one of the best I ever had and there are lots of local Teochew dishes available. Will highly recommend this restaurants for those who want to have authentic Teochew food but not comfortable eating at the local restaurants.

Everything was great until the check-out. As we had booked and paid for the room through an online company, I thought we just had to hand over the room keys and everything should be fine. Instead, we were told to pay for the room charges and the following occurred.....:
1) The front staff insisted that we did not mention that we had internet reservations and they had given us another room. Hence I had to pay for the room while my internet reservation is treated as a "no-show
2) When I pointed out that I had given the reservation details upon check-in, the staff denied this. And it was a joke as she was holding my printout which she had clipped on with the rest of my documents ......
3) When the staff realized this, she insisted that the printout was for my room "cancellation". Huh??!!?? When I took a look at what she meant by cancellation, she was pointing to the word "cancel"that appeared in the printout under cancellation policy of the internet reservation. When I explain that cancellation policy is a standard term on any internet reservation, she started to get frustrated and asked her senior staff/ manager to talk to me.
4) As I had to go to the airport, I told them to please sort things out and let me know the outcome. The hotel staff agreed but me to give them a credit deposit which I felt was reasonable. However, they took my card and swiped for a RMB3,000 deposit when my total rooms charges was only about RMB1,500! This is ridiculous!!!! Why should I put a deposit for double the amount in dispute? After telling them firmly "no", I gave only RMB1,5000 as my deposit and left the hotel.
5) when I landed in Guangzhou, I received a call from the senior hotel staff. He told me that they had found my internet reservation but they had make a mistake and gave me another room. He told me that he will go ahead with charging me for the room and I should ask for a refund from the internet reservation company? This is getting crazy!!! Why should I go and get a refund from someone else when its their mistake?? After arguing for 30 mins over the phone, which was an international call for me, I told that staff that my phone bill is going to be as high as the room charges if we keep talking. Instead, I asked him to give me a call when I'm back in my home country.

2 weeks had passed and that staff still had not call me. I had not checked my credit bill yet but I'm pretty sure they had charged me for the room.....

I saw that there were some negative reviews that were posted previously and most of the reviewers mentioned that it might be due to the language barrier. However, I am a Chinese and can speak Mandarin fluently. Even if they don't understand Mandarin, I can speak Teochew which is the local dialect. Hence I can assure you that its not the language problem but more of a service attitude problem. The staff just did not try to understand the issue and was focused on pushing blame....

I am a very frequent traveler and usually do not complain. However, this is definitely one of my worst experience in all my years of travel! There are a few more hotels coming up in the Shantou region and will not recommend this hotel even if you see it ranked number 1 here....

  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank ErWei001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rodney_Khoo, General Manager at Junhua Haiyi Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 27 November 2012

Meritus Shantou China, General Manager , responded to this review
Nov 28 2012
Dear Mr. Quek

We thank you for giving us the opportunity to clarify the unfortunate incident which you encountered during your recent stay with us

We are glad that you have accepted our explanation and would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Your understanding on the above matter is very much appreciated and we look forward to welcome you back to Meritus Shantou

Regards

Rodney Khoo
Hotel General Manager
Meritus Shantou China

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Reviewed 25 October 2012

This is a typical 31/2star establishment in China that tries to pass itself off as 5 star. If you're not Chinese, don't expect Western standards to apply and you wont become frustrated. My biggest gripe is that there are only 4 non-smoking rooms per floor and smoking is freely allowed in the lobby, restaurant and even the indoor pool area. If you're like me and don't want to sleep in a nicotine environment, book a non-smoking room early. China is still a long way behind in regards the health implications of passive smoking. If you request a non-smoking table at breakfast, the one next to you will most probably be full of smoking locals!

Then there's the food. Tryng to get a hot cup of coffee at breakfast is almost impossible. Actually, trying to get any type of western food that isn't bordering on cold is a miracle. I know they say "when in Rome.." but the Chiu chow style of food indiginous to this area is unfamiliar and not easy to order if only used to Cantonese style Chinese cuisine. This hotel is frequented by many westerners in the toy industry as Shantou/Chenghai is famous for the manufacture of cheap plastics. Because of this, breakfast-time can be quite busy. If you order a freshly fried egg or omelette, be sure to stand your ground as the cooks often can't differentiate western faces and there have been many instances when I've lost my egg to some-one else who came along at the right time! The toast machine is another hassle - I had to put my bread through 4 times before it even got a colour up. After complaining, the next day they brought in a regular household toaster but again with China's unreliable electricity supply, my toast took forever (thus resulting in another lost egg). The staff try very hard and many want to practise their English but misunderstandings can occur: My partner ordered fried eggs, but was served five eggs............

The buffet dinner has some western style dishes but the bain-marie lids are left open and the food is usually luke warm and congealed. This is one time I would strongly recommend to try the freshly cooked bowl of soup noodles.

Fresh milk is another rarity. We always bring a small carton with us from Hong Kong so that we can have a cup of tea first thing in the morning. Tea making facilities are available in the room which is of a decent size. The bathroom is the star attraction as it is spacious and well appointed, with marble tiling and a walk-in shower / bath area. Water pressure is great and the towels nice and fluffy.

Each room has a large flat screen TV with about 100 channels but we were so tired each night that we hardly turned it on. Wi-fi is available at a cost of 30rmb per day (approx $6) which I thought expensive in comparison to other hotels in China. All in all, if you're coming here for business, the Meritus is probably the best option (for the moment anyway) as its location is good and the staff very obliging.

Room Tip: KTV (Karaoke bar) is on the 8th floor so for a quiet night's sleep, book as high as you can. The...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled on business
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2  Thank gqueen8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rodney_Khoo, General Manager at Junhua Haiyi Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 15 November 2012

Dear gQueen8

We thank you for your comments and would take the necessary steps to better our services. Please note that we do have two non smokin floors on level 16th and 18th. All other floors have a non smoking section guest rooms.
We have allocated the upper area of the dining room as non smoking area in addition to a small section in the front.
We look forward to have the opportunity to serve you again and thank you for your valuable feedback

Rodney Khoo
Hotel General Manager
Meritus Shantou China

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 August 2012

Shantou, unlike some of her SEZ peers, did not shine due to corruption. As a result, good quality hotels of international standards are not in abundance. However, Meritus still maintains her timeless elegance with timeless and expensive marble finishing and large rooms. I will dispense with the photos as most of the photos posted by TA travelers are representative of my own experience.

A group of us were visiting Shantou for a foodie weekend and booked their Deluxe Twin Rooms. The location of the hotel is about 3 blocks away from the Jinsha Night market (not a very short walk). Alternatively, take a cab for RMB15.00. The standard is usually RMB10.00 but the distance is so short anyway. Have pity on the cab driver.

At main entrance coming out from the hotel, if you turn right and turn right again the first road ....it will lead to a local market, as well as many awesome local food stalls. Your gauge of how good the food stall...is the number of patrons queuing up :)

RECEPTION + WELCOME
*Grand for her age
*Free wifi in lobby area
*Check-in was fast & efficient
*Some of us tried changing the twin room to double but hotel is stickler on pricing for Twins & Double rooms.

BEDROOM
It has everything I need for my weekend stay. The housekeeping standards in this hotel is super high. One of my group members got a delayed check-in because the room has to be inspected by the supervisor AND the manager.

I borrowed a face towel from the room, for a day outing because it was raining. When I got back, there was an inventory note informing me that the face towel was missing. Super impressed how well housekeeping prevents pilferage.

*Spacious
*Carpeted
*Bedroom Slippers provided
*Bathrobes provided
*Towels - Thick Flurry White
*No wifi in room but LAN is available. Do bring your own travel router.
*Flat screen TV with multiple channel but we never have time to watch.
*Beds: Spring Beds. It is OK, way better than the hard beds in China but I was really hoping for Westin's equivalent of Heavenly Beds.
*Hot water jug with Tea bags provided.
*Electricity: Surprising it uses the british 3-pin plug! Not the standard for China!
*View: We had a great view of the city.

BATHROOM
For an "old" hotel, the bathtub and shower are spaciously bundled together. I wish I had brought my aromatherapy oil and candles. Or even bath salts! The marbled washbasin and good quality toiletries makes the hotel feels 5-star. Worthy of a Meritus.

HOTEL FACILITIES
There is a decent gym and a lap pool on the 4th floor. There is even a sauna.
You are required to wear your swimming cap. It is for sale if you forgot.
Goggles, swimwear, swimming cap are all available for purchase.

The only dinghy aspect of this hotel is apparently the "Spa", a complaint lodge by my male friend in the group.....offering him extra services. However, karaoke is supposed good !

BUSINESS CENTER
The business center is very efficient. Call ahead if you want them to help you pre-booked any tickets. It worth paying a small handling fee of RMB10.

BREAKFAST
We researched before arriving and decided to ditch the hotel breakfast (not so great reviews) for authentic local Kway Chap breakfast. Or take a walk around the hotel for local breakfast. We had no regrets at all ! Adventure pays! Awesome!
If you are a Caucasian not accustomed to local food, PLEASE eat western at the hotel. When in Rome, we tend to do what the Romans do...oops, I mean Shantou.

CONCLUSION
Meritus is my hotel of choice in Shantou.
For sightseeing, I personally prefer the Chaozhou (1 hour away from Shantou) but it seems that hotels are better Shantou. And the braised duck is supposedly much tastier in Shantou than Chaozhou.,

I suspect there are a lot more places to visit & see but we were pretty much engrossed in eating....literally. Before we finished a meal, we already strategising for the next meal. And we get distracted whenever we sight interesting food.

Oops, I forgot to mention that we hired a driver bringing us all over ....what else? To eat.
Remember to bring lots of anti-bacterial wet tissues along......

Room Tip: Remember to ask for non-smoking!! This is China!
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  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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1  Thank MouMou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jin P, General Manager at Junhua Haiyi Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 19 August 2012

Dear Moumou,

As the GM of Meritus Shantou, I am very glad to get this value feedback from you and your friends, the comments you make, I have been noted and will do necessary action to improve our service and production, by the way WIFI service now are available in all of our rooms and public area. And we are also planning to upgrade our room facilities and amenities in the future.

I do hope that we will have the opportunity to have u to be with us again in nearest future.


Many thanks and best regards,

Jin Peng
Hotel General Manager
Meritus Shantou China

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Reviewed 8 August 2012

Good location, good service. Gym facilites adequate but slightly better air conditioning in the gym itself would have been good. Food ok, but not great. Avoid the western options at all costs - the local cuisine is much better prepared and tastier.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
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Thank golfcaddie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jin P, General Manager at Junhua Haiyi Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 12 August 2012

Meritus Shantou China, General Manager , responded to this review
Aug 10 2012
Dear Golfcaddle,

Thank you for your valuable comments on our overall products and services.

I do hope that we will have the opportunity to have u to be with us again in nearest future.

Many thanks and best regards,

Jin Peng
Hotel General Manager
Meritus Shantou China

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 August 2012

This trip is purely last minute and leisure.
And i searched tripadvisor and found this hotel to be the best in Shantou.
And there I go for my one night stay in Shantou.
Its a four hour ride from Shenzhen taking coach to Shantou from Louhu.
The hotel is neat and tidy in general.
The Concierge staff/Eddy was very kind to introduce me a few places to visit and dine local food while I am here. Map was given and he patiently brief me.
The bell was far polite than I could expect. Very courteous in telling me the directions to wonder around the hotel.
The room was clean, the bathroom was larger than I could expect. Of course, i did not expect any welcome amenities set in room for such a hotel and special promotion rate which i bought from their website.
Lifts has a smell I dislike which I presume this is a special perfume loaded by the hotel.
Bed was comfortable, the bathrobe is in good quality and very clean too. If only internet or wifi could be complimentary for such a rate we choose to pay here.
Housekeeping staff opened the door almost immediately after pressing the door bell and was not too polite; no greetings from them when meeting them on the floor too.
I guess one cannot expect too much from here...
At checkout, I was not given the hotel receipt automatically. Instead I have to ask for it. But it was quickly given. I think it is only right for the receptionist to give the hotel bill and don't assume we would not want one.
We ask on our departure day how to get to the airport and was told the trip by taxi cost CNY 200, and hotel car cost CNY 250. I still feel this is a bit too expensive for a 3rd tier city in China and decided to take a walk to the airport express coach where i can take a coach to the airport this evening.

Nearby the hotel, there were plenty delicious local food at night and even at day.
The fish balls noodles, the fried oysters, the steamed rice papers selling at road side stalls are delicious only if you dare to try. I ate them all.

I leave the city for now, and wishing happiness and prosperity to the people here in Shantou....

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Ultraman78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jin P, General Manager at Junhua Haiyi Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 12 August 2012

Meritus Shantou China, General Manager , responded to this review
Aug 10 2012
Dear Ultraman78,

Thank you for your valuable comments on our overall products and services, special on our bellman Eddy’s service.

I do hope that we will have the opportunity to have u to be with us again in nearest future.

Many thanks and best regards,

Jin Peng
Hotel General Manager
Meritus Shantou China

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 July 2012

The Meritus Shantou is very conveniently located in Jinsha East Road (金砂东路) and there are many public buses nearby that can get you to places around town. Taxis are also readily available.

One of the things that struck me was how quiet the hotel was, and that made it an oasis in a city that is still filled every day with the noise of honking cars, buses, trucks and motorcycles. It was always a relaxing place to return to.

The decor might look a bit dated, but the facilities are well maintained, and it has a nice swimming pool and gym on the 4th floor for a workout.

Service staff were friendly and I had no complaints about the quality of the service and facilities provided. Definitely worth the money, especially if you book your room off-peak. I booked a double room for around SGD 100 for a night via Zuji.

  • Stayed: July 2012
    • Value
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Thank newhollandtours
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jin P, General Manager at Junhua Haiyi Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 16 July 2012

Meritus Shantou China, General Manager , responded to this review
July 17 2012
Dear newhollandtours

Thank you for your valuable comments on our overall products and services.

I do hope that we will have the opportunity to have you to be with us again in nearest future.

Many thanks and best regards,

Jin Peng
Hotel General Manager
Meritus Shantou China

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 June 2012

nice, large, relatively cheap hotel room. Very clean. good service

When we asked the front desk for advice on where to eat, they were astounded that we wanted to eat outside of the hotel when we didn't know any of the language (which I thought showed how sheltered they kindof are). We ventured out anyway and found the best food and worked it all out by pointing.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Kim T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jin P, General Manager at Junhua Haiyi Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 18 June 2012

Meritus Shantou China, General Manager , responded to this review
June 15 2012
Dear Kim T

Thank you for your valuable comments on our overall products and services.

I do hope that we will have the opportunity to have u to be with us again in nearest future.

Many thanks and best regards,

Jin Peng
Hotel General Manager
Meritus Shantou China

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Junhua Haiyi Hotel

Address: No.97 Jinsha East Road, Shantou 515041, China
Region: China > Guangdong > Shantou
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 199 Hotels in Shantou
Price Range: £41 - £204 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Junhua Haiyi Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 318
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Meritus Shantou China Hotel Shantou

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