Opened in October last year the Ritz Carlton Chengdu is a 45 minute drive away from the airport. It was my first visit to this ancient city and looking out of the car window I could see that Chengdu is on the cusp of transforming itself from a traditional city to a modern metropolis. Ritz Carlton made Chengdu its home in a shiny new skyscraper which overlooks the famous Tianfu square and is right at the center of downtown.
First impressions –
The hotel occupies 25th to the 40th floor and features 353 guest rooms including 55 suites. Perched on the 25th floor the contemporary lobby exudes grandeur with its large ceilings, marble floorings and large windows which overlooks the central business district.
Rooms / Accomodation –
We were provided the Premier Suite which came with club level access and a more personalized and comfortable in-room check in. However before being escorted to our suite we were asked to be seated in one of the compact seating areas in the lobby to experience the ancient culture of Kung Fu tea pouring. Using a combination of martial art and dancing skills a young gentleman wooed us by pouring some fresh Herbal tea from a modified teapot with an extraordinarily long stout.
Perched on the 41st floor the Premier Suite was spread across 883 square feet (88 sq/m) in one of the most exemplary combinations of comfort and style.
The Ritz Carlton Chengdu is the first Ritz Carlton to offer a complimentary 24 hour butler service.
The butler service is limited to the suites only, but it is interesting to see the Ritz Carlton finally offer this service which has been synonymous with its closest rival ‘St Regis’.
Our competent butler spoke fluent English and gave us a tour of the suite and briefed on the hotels facilities. The suite was immaculately designed using the choicest of woods, metals, marble and the trade route’s namesake silk which was further complemented by the latest in modern gadgets. Behind the electronic drapes and curtains the floor to ceiling windows offered breathtaking views of downtown Chengdu. A telescope further enhanced the view from one of the highest guestrooms in the city.
Waiting for us on the table were some traditional dry sweets, a welcome note and personalized stationery. Who would not love to have their name in gold on a sheet of handmade paper?
Coming to the tech, one feature that we absolutely loved was the separate temperature zones. Setting up different temperature zones for the bedroom and living room is not new, but the Ritz Carlton Chengdu goes the extra step with individual temperature settings for the bathroom as well. Nothing is more welcoming than a warm bathroom for a long bubble bath. Both the rooms had 46 inch LED televisions, the living room had a Blu-Ray player and a home theater system. The hotel offers free broadband, but like the rest of the country it is behind the Great Chinese firewall which blocks out Google (all websites), Facebook, Twitter and even Flipboard. On the side table next to the couch in the living room was an iPad displaying a personalized greetings, a really sweet gesture by the Ritz Carlton. With just a few swipes and taps on the preloaded Ritz Carlton app we ordered for room service and even requested for butler service.
in marble and exquisite wood the highlight of the spacious bedroom was the 800 thread count bed.
While I could not stop swearing on the comfort offered by the industry standard 600-count bed, this bed was in a league of its own.
It was just apt and had the right amount of firmness which lets you sink in and yet offer a sleep which would challenge the best alarm clocks. Either side of the bed had controls for lighting and drapes.Stocked with refreshing Asprey toiletries the bathroom was embellished in brown marble and like the rest of the suite even the bathroom beautifully embraces grandeur and technology. Huge windows adorned the shower enclosure and the sinking tub making it one of the most scenic bathrooms in Chengdu. Adding to the modern touch was a Toto Neorest toilet seat, a remote controlled toilet which came with a plethora of useful settings and a presence sensor which operated the seat.
Along with the club lounge, Club level guests have access to a host of facilities and privileges. A 24 hour butler service, complimentary clothes pressing (upto 3 per day), free use of the business center meeting room and our favorite – complimentary use of the limousine service to travel anywhere in the first ring of Chengdu.
I have travelled extensively and this is my fifth stay at a Ritz Carlton property, I must say that this has to be the best Club Lounge so far. All the members at the lounge greeted us by our name and literally went out of their way to make us feel special. Being vegetarians who do not consume eggs it was always a tricky to get food matching our diet at lounges in China. But it was not the case at the Ritz Carlton Chengdu as in a matter of 30 minutes, the chefs made us green salad and fresh eggless bread . Throughout our stay the chefs prepared special vegetarian dishes just for us.
It was our 15th day in China and we were craving for some Indian tea. On knowing this the chef looked up the recipe on the Internet, procured the special spices and made for us the perfect cup of tea the next morning. When we arrived for breakfast, he said I have a surprise for you and boy, did seeing the cup of tea light up our faces.
The staff makes the guest requests their top priority this is what make a stay at the Ritz Carlton Chengdu a truly memorable one.
The lounge serves breakfast, round the clock beverages, evening cocktails and canapes. Though a bit expensive a club level room or suite is worth every penny the difference.
Recognized as UNESCO’s city of gastronomy, Chengdu is known for it fiery Sichuan cuisine and teahouses. The Ritz Carlton Chengdu has dining venues,, unfortunately we could not try them as were short on time. But we did take a tour of these magnificent dining options. I was particularly impressed by the entrance of Li Xuan which serves Cantonese and Sichuan cuisine. With traditional illustrations and lanterns it aims to recreate Chengdu in the yesteryears. Next is Spices a multi cuisine restaurant which has live stations serving Japanese, South East Asian, Italian and Chinese creations. For the younger audiences there is Flair a lounge which serves sushi, tapas and innovative cocktails in a chic indoor lounge built around a spacious outdoor patio. The afternoon tea was really popular at the lobby lounge which offers round the clock refreshments and finger food. We tried out the Ritz Carlton from its long list of cocktails, a smoky and spicy concoction of whiskey, rum and spices.
The hotel has a well equipped 24 hours gym and an indoor pool with its own underwater music system. Yes, you heard that right, the heated pool with soothing music offers an extremely relaxing and recharging experience.
The Ritz Carlton spa along with the gym occupies an entire floor. It has 10 treatment rooms and makes use of renowned Biologique Recherche products along with fresh locally sourced tea and herbs to offer a variety of rejuvenating and innovative treatments. We would recommend trying out ‘ Harmonic Healing’ a 75 minute treatment which makes use of vibrations of sacred bowls made of seven different metals. Each bowl’s vibration achieves a frequency which permeates the water in the body to soothe the nerves and invoke deep relaxation.
We absolutely enjoyed at the Ritz Carlton Chengdu, its a beautifully designed luxury hotel at the heart of the city which offers impeccable service. The rooms are very thoughtfully designed, ooze class and offer unparalleled views. However what tops up the entire experience are the well trained and helpful staff. Communication can be a huge barrier in China, but of the nine hotels in four cities the Ritz Carlton Chengdu was the only hotel in China where all the staffers could talk and understand basic English.
Did I tell you that the concierge department specially packed water bottles and cookies for our trip to the Panda sanctuary. Its the extra touch that each of them added which made our stay a truly memorable one.
Note – The Club Premier suite costs 5500 + CNY ($ 900) per night. We were provided complimentary accommodation and services. But the opinions expressed herein are my own.
The Ritz-Carlton – Chengdu,
No. 269 Shuncheng Avenue,
Chengdu, Sichuan Province,
Phone: +86 28 8358 8888