China’s trading capital, formerly known as Canton attracts a mix of business travellers, city-break connoisseurs and was the home to the Asian Games in 2010. The buzzing contemporary districts popping up around the River Pearl offer modern innovation alongside an abundance of quiet, calm and zen. Here’s the pick of the best places to stay while you’re in town.
Langham Place Guangzhou
Perfectly placed for those visiting on business, Langham Place is found in the new Haizhu district, not far from the river. Its architecture, by Aedas International, is remarkable and makes up a part of the Nanfung Commercial Hospitality and Exhibition Complex. The hotel offers 500 rooms with floor to ceiling windows spread over twenty-three floors and is part of the famed London Langham Group. Enjoy that quintessentially British tradition of formal afternoon tea (with Wedgewood). Dine alfresco, in the open-plan buffet, or at its Michelin Plate restaurant, Ming Court, then relax over drinks on the Sky Bar’s chic and glitzy outdoor terrace with breathtaking views.
Mandarin Oriental Guangzhou
If space is at the top of your wishlist, book one of the Mandarin Oriental’s 293 rooms and suites. Its largest offers two bedrooms, a dining room, study, walk-in wardrobe, dressing chamber, epic views and round the clock butler service. The interiors by Tony Chi are sophisticated, contemporary and glamorous, with a mixture of deep rich colours and soothing neutrals. Chef Fei creates traditional Cantonese cuisine at Jiang, while fresh grilled seafood takes centre stage at Ebony. Situated in the vibrant downtown area of Tian He and with a renowned wellness centre and stunning outdoor pool, it’s possible to combine relaxation with excitement at this well-known five-star chain.
Shangri La Guangzhou
Next to the Canton Fair Complex and beside the Pearl River, is Shangri La. Set in 5,800 square metres of magical landscaped gardens with Koi Carp filled lotus ponds, the hotel houses 704 rooms and 26 serviced apartments. It’s ideal for those planning an extended stay with children, providing a huge outdoor pool, upscale play areas and seasonal family events. There’s also tennis courts, a fitness centre, an indoor pool, and Chi, a spa with 11 treatment rooms. Two of its six restaurants and bars, Summer Palace and Ribs, have won Michelin Plate Awards, while Wok Too Café offers 16 theatre-style interactive and international food stations. Head to the lobby bar after dinner for elegant live music and refined cocktails.
East meets west at this British institution nestled in the heart of New Zhujiang Town. Elegant Rococo interiors mark The Ritz-Carlton out as one of the more unusual properties in the otherwise very modern Guangzhou. Many of the 351 rooms and 91 fully serviced private residences offer river views. Those acquainted with the hotel brand (this was The Ritz-Carlton’s 72nd property) will enjoy a sense of familiarity and internationalism here. But charming accents of Chinese culture and history are found throughout the private and public areas. The cuisine is a mixture of Cantonese, Italian and Western, and The Churchill Bar boasts the city’s largest single-malt whiskey collection. Pamper yourself with Tea at the Ritz, served daily in the Pearl Lounge, accompanied by live music and a trip to the spa or heated outdoor pool.
Stay in Guangzhou’s tallest building, known as the ‘Mansion in the Sky’. Taking the top 39 floors of the 108-story CTF Finance Centre designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, the Rosewood reaches a height of 530 metres. The interiors, by Toronto-based Yabu Pushelberg, are deeply stylish, featuring innovative installations by Chinese artists. The country’s ancient crafts are reflected with vermillion-red lacquered doors in the lobby, silkscreens in the Patina Living Room, wood-and-bronze etched mirrors and gold-leaf walls in the Grand Ballroom, lanterns by the pool, terracotta tiled exteriors and tea sets in the 251 rooms and 355 residences. The hotel also houses the region’s largest two-floor spa and fitness centre, has seven terraces, a courtyard, expansive gardens, a spa, and five places to eat and drink (including Chinese comfort food and a hibachi grill).
Marriott’s funky W hotels are popular with younger travellers, seeking trendy luxury with a fun vibe. Interiors are glamorous, with bold colourful accents. 317 rooms at W Guangzhou are spread over 30 floors, with flat-screen TVs and minibars. The top-end suites are true party pads with Bose sound systems, karaoke rooms, wine cellars, balconies and whirlpool tubs. There are two great bars for late-night libation, a bistro, a restaurant offering gourmet Asian cuisine. W also has a fantastic spa, gym and an indoor pool – a hotel highlight – with a green living wall and city views.
Four Seasons Guangzhou
The welcome at Four Seasons is an impressive one. As you enter the striking glass lobby with a birds’ eye view in this hotel’s skyscraper home, you know you’re in the presence of greatness. Situated close to the Canton Tower and Guangdong Museum. There are seven stylish restaurants and lounges including the Michelin-starred Yu Yue Heen, Catch, a seafood restaurant on the 100th floor and Kumoi for sushi, yakitori and teppanyaki. Meeting facilities and a business centre are available, as well as function suites for special events. And be sure to take a swim in the clouds at the hotel’s beautiful infinity pool.
Park Hyatt Guangzhou
Found in Zhujiang New Town, the Park Hyatt showcases Lingnan culture and cuisine and also happens to be one of China’s tallest buildings – those who prefer western food will enjoy the Mediterranean restaurant or snacks in the rooftop bar. Spacious rooms have a mid-century-meets-contemporary feel and many offer views of the Zhujiang River. Pay a visit to the wellness centre and you can enjoy an indoor swim with a phenomenal outlook. Business services are provided at the Park Hyatt – a longstanding favourite brand for international business people – making it a smart choice if visiting the city for work.