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Hotel check: The Ritz-Carlton

Published: 02/09/2014 - Filed under: Home » Archive » 2014 » September 2014 » Tried and Tested » Home » Tried & Tested » Hotels » Home » Tried & Tested » Hotels » China » Home » Archive » 2014 » September 2014 »

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TESTED BY Jerome Greer Chandler

HOW MANY ROOMS? 353 rooms and suites

ROOM HIGHLIGHTS Bodacious bathrooms, amply-sized rooms

PRICE The average room rate is an amazing (for a property of this caliber) $240. Add $100 for a Club Floor Room.  

CONTACT The Ritz-Carlton Chengdu, 269 Shuncheng Ave., Qingyang District, Chengdu, Sichuan 610017 China. Tel +86 28 8358 8888

VERDICT The fundamental friendliness of Chengdu people is striking. With some 600 staff serving 353 rooms and suites, the ratio is right. Beyond the marbled magnificence of this Ritz-Carton, it’s the cadre of concerned employees that makes the difference. 

BACKGROUND Opened in October 2013 The Ritz-Carlton Chengdu is among the hotelier’s first forays into so-called “secondary cities” in China – if you can call a megalopolis of some 14 million souls secondary. The southwestern Chinese city is the capital of Sichuan Province.  Famous for the nearby Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, it possesses a more commercial side too. Chengdu produces a full 80 percent of the world’s iPads and is the site for a slew of Fortune 500 companies. Just so you get the point, it lays claim to printing the planet’s first paper money back in 1007. United Airlines just inaugurated nonstop Boeing 787 Dreamliner to the place from San Francisco, rendering it all the more accessible. 

WHAT’S IT LIKE? While the interior is chic and stylish, the exterior of the hotel is comparatively unobstrusive. The Ritz-Carlton is on the 23rd through 41st floors of the R&F Center. You enter through a ground floor lobby and take the elevator to the reception floor. Marble and glass and good art abound. The ambience is understated and pleasantly tasteful.

WHERE IS IT? In the Qingyang District, near the soccer stadium and not far from the city’s best shopping. It’s within walking distance of Tianfu Square, the prime public gathering place. Chengdu residents are relaxed, and approachable – at least in comparison to the inhabitants of Beijing. Chengdu is to Beijing as Munich is to Berlin. Still, Chengdu somewhat shares with the Chinese capital smudgy skies – a condition all but endemic to many Chinese cities. The Ritz-Carlton is a 30-minute taxi ride from the airport. 

ROOM FACILITIES Bed and bath define a room. My Club Floor bed was near perfect, a nice duvet topping it off. Lighting, and curtains are controlled from bedside panels. But it’s the bath that shines. It’s a marble affair, dominated by a capacious soaking tub replete with TV. The shower sports a pair of showerheads. Position one laterally, the other overhead for a cross-hatch effect. The toilet is discreetly tucked away. Open the door to the stall and the seat springs to attention. After your morning ritual don the terrycloth robe and slippers the hotel provides, brew a cup of tea from the mini-bar, peruse a copy of China Daily and order room service. The in-room WiFi is gratis, as is the convenient overnight shoeshine.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS There are four of them. Take a traditional English Afternoon Tea in the Lobby Lounge. Choose a cuisine – Italian, Japanese, Chinese or South Asian – at SPICES, an all-day restaurant. Dive head first into a local Sichuanese creation at one of the best restaurants in town, Li Xuan. It’s woven with sequestered dining rooms, the better to savor the sinus-clearing fare with friends. Crave cutting-edge cocktails? Try FLAIR. The nighttime views from the outdoor terraces are impressive.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES A 9,688-square-foot ballroom is designed to attract sizeable, but not mega, meetings. There’s a smaller, “junior” ballroom.  Seven meeting rooms range in size from 215 to 861 square feet. In all, there are more than 18,000 square feet of meeting space to fill a variety of needs. 

LEISURE FACILITIES The infinity pool is suffused with underwater music; the fitness center stocked with cardio gear and an assortment of free weights. The latter is open 24/7. The spa is a world unto itself: secluded, quiet and elementally relaxing. 

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