As I mentioned before, the flight that I was re-assigned to did not take-off on the day I was due to depart and with no other flights left at the end of the day, I was resigned to staying overnight in Guangzhou. At the lounge, I was handed over to a staff member who escorted me to the bus and transport counter where China Southern was slowly placing stranded passengers onboard buses that will bring them to various hotels around the city. There is a Pullman hotel in Guangzhou but that was already full due to the scale of air traffic disruption in the airport that day. Even the buses were fairly irregular and disorganized. No one was really taking control and there was no clear indication which passengers from which flight was supposed to get on which bus. Fortunately for the staff member that escorted me, I eventually got onto a bus bringing me to the LN Dongfang Baiyun Hotel which is probably about 25-30 minutes drive from the airport, as it is still in the Baiyun district.
The hotel is part of a mega convention complex and comprises of a North and South tower. While both hotel towers were at each end of the Guangzhou Baiyun International Convention Centre and have separate lobbies, we were dropped off at the North tower but assigned rooms in the South tower. There was a staff member from the hotel who escorted us to the lobby and 2 lines formed during check-in. First impressions were good as the lobby was cavernous and looks grand with ornate chandeliers.
It was also very thoughtful of the airline/hotel to provide a supper box for each stranded passenger. It turns out that Economy class passengers were asked to share a room with another of the common sex. Fortunately as a Business class passenger, I was able to get one room to myself, though they had to check with the airlines directly. The whole check-in process for the whole group was completed in 30 minutes, which is quite efficient.
We had to take the elevator to the 3rd floor and walk across the whole Convention Centre in the middle of the night. When the lights and ventilation inside were mostly switched off, the walk was miserable since it was dark, humid and warm. In the morning, I later found out that the view from the roof deck in between the sections of the Convention Centre made it a nice spot to hang out in.
Room No: 5-354 Category: Standard Double Room
Eventually though I arrived at my room and on entering it felt comfortable. There was a slight smell but at least it was not that of cigarettes. Since I do not smoke, I always prefer a non-smoking room. The room has furniture in the dark cherry wood and on entrance the bathroom is on the left. with a closet on the right. Beside the closet there is a minibar with a shelf at the top filled with tea making utensils and a kettle to boil water. There are also some instant coffee there if I remember correctly.
Inside the bathroom, it was better than the average Sheratons with a full bathtub and separate shower cubicle. However the hotel provides bath amenities on those large refillable containers affixed onto the wall. No matter though, as the bathroom was a nice comfortable space for a shower that night before I head to bed.
Going into the room, there are 2 double beds since there are no King bedroom available. The double beds are somewhat smaller than the one in North America, and mirrors the one in Asia. It can be a squeeze for 2 people on 1 bed but they were perfectly fine for the stranded traveller needing an overnight. These beds are quite firm and not the most comfortable but it is still better than some other beds so I was again satisfied with the room provided.
Other amenities in the room includes a flat screen TV, and a work desk with adequate stationeries. My assigned room actually faces an interior courtyard so that makes it really quiet but can be dark in the afternoon as there are trees at the courtyard that blocks the sun partially. Wireless internet is available from the hotel rooms and I had no problem for surfing the web and checking the cause of the delay. In addition, I also made sure to check the available flights departing tomorrow.
The next morning, breakfast was provided by the hotel but it was served only in the North Tower. There was only one restaurant where complimentary breakfast buffet was served at. Since I was awake early, I had no problem getting a seat in the vast restaurant. The buffet spread was organized on one long table and is actually very generous with various kinds of hot dishes including sausages and potatoes along with fried doughsticks, soybean milk, fried noodles, some stir fry dishes, pork buns and dumplings.
In addition to the main buffet, there is a noodle and dumpling station that is manned by staff who will make soup dumplings and noodles to your liking. Beside the noodle station is an egg station. Thus customers really get the best of both worlds in this hotel’s breakfast.
After I had all of the above, I even got myself some fruits and juice. While my coffee throughout breakfast was not really topped up, the clean up after I left my table was really quick. Such that when I returned with my fruit bowl, the table was already occupied by someone else. Fortunately, I got another seat to sit down in.
A good night rest and a hearty filling breakfast sure made my mood better as I head to the reception to check the status of my flight as we were told to check with the front desk in the morning on our transfer back to the airport. We were told that China Southern had arranged for a later flight at 3pm, but obviously some passengers were livid since it would mean a 24 hour delay or more for them since this scheduled flight was due to depart at 3pm the day before. With some passengers insistence, the hotel arranged a smaller minibus to bring us to the airport earlier. And since there is not much to do in this area other than the huge convention centre, I took the same bus back to the airport.
For a night layover close to the airport, this is a good hotel, but I am pretty sure the Pullman hotel at the airport itself will be even better. Though if you are attending a meeting in the Convention Centre, I think this hotel is as good as it gets. Not too mention there are multiple dining establishments in both wings of the hotel so even if you are staying for a week, there should be some variety to ensure guests do not need to venture out.