When I first visited Ningbo more than ten years ago, this hotel was already there in the city centre. The hotel's description is apt, as it is indeed in the centre of Ningbo on Tian Yi Square and that perhaps is its biggest USP. Over the years, I have seen it getting tired and more drab than ever, as I tried other newer hotels in this beautiful sea-side city.
It was thus by sheer luck that I stayed in this hotel; I was attending a conference and was put up there. There was no choice, so to speak. I was given an older room during my week-long stay, and was told that the cost was no more than RMB 500 per night before taxes. This is considered cheap in Ningbo, although corporate rates at the nearby Westin and Shangri-la seem to be able to get even better rates. Never mind that; we know that the charges aren't exorbitant.
So the expectations were not high either. But to my pleasant surprise, the good-sized room was relatively well-maintained and it seems some renovations have been carried out in earlier years to install a tiny, separate shower stall complete with rain shower, and addition of WiFi hotspots and a flat-screen 32" LCD TV set. The carpets must have been changed 1-2 years ago just as they are relatively clean and still look somewhat new. I am pleased indeed, and even though the overall look and feel of the room still seem trapped in the late 1980s or early 1990s style (I can sense the music of Whitney Houston playing in the background and commercial pre-selling the sitcom Growing Pains as I switch on the TV using the antiquated remote control) and that feeling is weird, especially for a middle-age person like me.
I went to have a look at their restaurants, which are nothing to shout about. The conference organisers had several meals at the hotel itself and I must say the cuisine was nothing to write home about. Breakfast was adequate but not particularly tasty, and service is pass-able except for some horrendous internal staff quibbles right before my eyes at the reception desk when I checked out. Anything extra which you require usually draw blanks from the staff from the cafeteria to the concierge and finally to the banquet hall staff. They are trained to be so, and do not stress them out by expecting extras and specials beyond their normal duties and intelligence.
Which is not surprising, at the end of the day. You get what you pay for, and since the amount charged was nowhere near an arm and a leg, let's not try to split hairs here and expect these boys -- and girls -- to go beyond the call of duty. Nice, neat and to the point. No nonsense, no specials and no nothing either. That, in a nutshell, is what you should expect from this lacklustre but still adequate outfit on Ningbo's hospitality map.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated across from the Cathedral and Tian Yi Square, Crowne Plaza City Center Ningbo is located in the city s financial, commercial, cultural and leisure center area, and just walking distance to City God s Temple, Tian Yi Pavilion, and Moon Lake. Being just 2 KM to the Railway Station, 20 KM to Ningbo Airport, and with its two levels of underground parking lot, the hotel can offer convenient transport for travelers. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Crowne Plaza City Center Ningbo Hotel Ningbo
- Crowne Plaza Ningbo
- Ningbo Crowne Plaza