Quanzhou is a small city today, but at one point in history, the city used to be one of China’s biggest ports and have played host to Marco Polo. This city is also where my ancestors came from before they migrated to Indonesia. There is definitely a certain symbolic meaning to return to one’s roots. In this instance, a distant relative helped us reserve a hotel in the city and he certainly booked us in one of the top hotel – the Quanzhou Hotel. The first glance at the exterior is that it was perhaps built in the early 1990s when it was fashionable in Asia to follow European palace design and decor. Well it does sure look gaudy even though it looks imposing due to the large scale of the building compared to its smaller neighbours. The hotel is located in the older part of the city but it is centrally located and close to the main tourist attractions. In addition, guests staying at the hotel can find some grocery and convenience stores around the hotel which makes it convenient to purchase snacks, fruits and beverages if necessary.
The hotel is comprised of up to 3 wings or sections and we were booked into the ‘Nan Xin Building’ section, which is supposedly one of the newer buildings. Our 2 rooms have been pre-assigned and is located on the same floor with just one room separating us. The rooms were similar in size and decor, being fitted with wooden beds with intricate European style design. There was an armchair by the window and guests were provided with a welcome amenity of a fruit platter. There is also a large work desk and chair that is on par with western hotels.
During the stay, I had a peek into the rooms in the older Dong Hui Building which is decorated in a more sparse manner but still comfortable nonetheless. The bathroom is fitted with white marble and also features a separate bathtub and walk-in shower. As far as I was concerned the room was clean and was nicely furnished. One of the more interesting amenity was a Chinese porcelain tea-set and I thought it fit the city since Fujian province is known to be one of the prime producers of tea in the world.
As we were situated on one of the higher floors, the view from the room was also pretty good. We were able to enjoy the sunset over the city during the stay as there was not much tall buildings in the vicinity blocking the view.
During our stay, we ate 2 of our dinner meals in the Thai Restaurant and they do serve some really tasty dishes though I would say some of their dishes are more Chinese-oriented than Thai. But they do have coconut juice and some Thai desserts too like mango with sticky rice that was good! The rate for the room also includes breakfast and like always it was buffet style with a good variety of dishes that did not really lose to the one we had in Le Méridien Xiamen. Though the better part of the breakfast buffet caters more to the Chinese palate and it includes some traditional Fujian dishes like rice vermicelli in soup and some Fujian pastries.
Given that I did not have high expectations for the hotel from the start, it was refreshing to experience a Chinese-run hotel. It was well managed with the rooms kept clean and tidy while service at both the front desk and the restaurant was up to standard. It goes once again to show that some hotels do get it right even when not managed by an international chain.