I should preface my remarks by saying 'when in Rome'. The first thing to understand is that this is Xining; its not Shanghai or Beijing. The government has had a policy in place for some years of developing the east coast of China before the western regions. Fair enough; you have to start somewhere.
What makes a hotel 5 star, apart from the property itself, is the level of service. There really isn't any service to speak of at this hotel. Accordingly, it ought to be promoted as 2 or 3 star , although the building is good compared to what is around as alternatives.
So my rating of poor relates to its competition with other self styled 5 star hotels generally. It is not to say that it is a poor hotel compared to other hotels around town. Were it promoted as 2 or 3 star, I would have given it a higher rating, but not on value - as the price is pitched at 5 star level.
The hotel gives you a sense of what it must have been like in the cultural revolution, when anybody who had an education, experience or knowledge of how to do something was considered bourgeois and sent out in the fields to slave away while the inexperienced youth were injected into the important roles within the economy. I don't think I saw anybody who was old enough to shave either their facial hair if male, or their legs if female. So in a perverse sort of a way, its kind of interesting from that historical perspective.
Consequently, the service was either non-existent or incompetent. And no English, French or Spanish - so be aware of the language gap, but that it likely inevitable in this part of the world as you will probably have worked out by now. Not that that is a problem particularly, as travel is about broadening the mind as much as anything else.
There is no scope for asking that a personal need or desire be met by the staff. You can't have a meal from the restaurant brought up to your room - you have to eat at the restaurant, not at the bar or anywhere else. There was no room service when I was there, which let's face it, is really one of the things that 5 star hotels are supposed to do.
I don't know this for a fact, but here I had the definite feeling - probably just paranoia - that your web searching and email and phone traffic would be monitored by the local branch of the intelligence service if you were a foreign businessman. Its probably safe to assume that in China generally if you are a traveling businessman from abroad.
If you don't speak Chinese, you will basically be unable to have anything happen which is dependent on communication. Be aware of that, and just be ready to bunker down in your room.
The air in Xining is among the worst polluted of anything you will come across around the world, and when you aren't used to it, you like to escape into the comfort of a 5 star - like in Delhi or Beijing say, but make sure your expectations are set very low for 5 star in this town, and in this hotel.
Other than that, the room is comfortable, the bed is fine, and its peaceful. There was some English language programs on TV, but I was watching local things and just read a book.
The food in the restaurant is OK, but as you might gather, its not haute cuisine- but it doesn't need to be. When you are out here in this part of the country, as long as its fresh and edible it passes the test in my book.
The price is too expensive for what you get, but if you are on business expenses, it doesn't grate as much as would do if it was coming out of your own pocket.
The location is good and it is placed to make it convenient to where your appointments are likely to be.
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