The first leg of our China trip started with the W Guangzhou, which is the first property of the brand in Mainland China. A look at the glass building from the outside and the two things that came to mind were ‘futuristic and stylish’ and this summed up some amazing customer service is exactly what the W Guangzhou is all about.
First impressions –
After being greeted by a ‘Good Afternoon’ mat, I stepped into what is one of the most unconventional and stylish hotel lobby I had ever seen. The foyer had a waterfall running from the high ceiling to the floor and projected on it were some images specially created by WET design and; complementing the soothing sound of the water was a lingering fresh aquatic fragrance. Needless to say, the lobby captivated all our senses. Incidentally, the waterfall as a backdrop is very popular with the guests for selfies. Soft techno music filled the air as we entered the main lobby area; the tall pillars depict bookcases which were surrounded by some bronze benches and other quirky sitting areas.
All the elements in the hotel are designed with a youthful appeal.
On the right was, the signature bar found in most W hotels. On the left were the check-in and concierge desks, which were a bit busy for a Saturday morning, we completed the check in swiftly after a 10 minute wait and were given the keys to the Fantastic Suite on the 24th floor. The elevator art had a large circular screen with an eye blinking, weirdly intriguing if you ask me.
Rooms / Accomodation
The 1023 square feet (95 sq/m) Fantastic suite begins with a dark-lit foyer with doors to the left and the right, which led to the living room and the bedroom, respectively. The living room was huge, beautifully designed with wooden flooring, floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city block and decorated ‘W style’ with a 3-D painting and art pieces scattered across the suite. Waiting for us on the desk was a tray with a variety of Macaroons, chocolates and other sweet treats. A well-stocked mini bar was accompanied with a Nespresso coffee machine. Coming to the electronics the living room had a 50-inch Sony 3D LED connected to a Blu-Ray player and a 5.1 channel Bose surround system with provisions to hook up your iPhone / iPad, USB device, or laptop from the plethora of connectors tucked away neatly in the desk. Unfortunately, we were not given a room tour to explain the facilities and features which would have been greatly useful, especially as the TV menu and remote controls were in Chinese. Moving on, the bedroom was equally spacious and thoughtfully designed with two signature W queen beds, separate lighting controls beside the beds and a 40-inch Sony 3D LED TV. Being situated in an upcoming CBD our room was facing two under-construction skyscrapers, but the glazed windows did an effective job of muting the construction noise. The walk-in wardrobe was the only area with some traditional Chinese art in the form of fans which was again merged with some modern colorful paintings and gold-and-black prints of crosscut trees.
The bathroom was stocked with W’s signature Bliss amenities which are truly refreshing with their fruity smells. The soaking tub had at its disposal a control panel for the mood lighting, telephone, and the TV which is built into the mirror facing the tub. Be sure to ask the hotel on using the music-sensing mood light feature; if you are not a morning person like me, then the rain shower and the changing lights are sure to wake you up.
Scattered across the suite are intelligent illuminated switches with built-in sensors that illuminate the window controls and switches on touch. From the walk-in-wardrobe to the living room to the foyer the suite has a good amount of dark hues but lighting them up effectively are power-saving LED lights connected to an array of motion sensors.
Something I was really excited to see was the fully automatic Toto Neorest toilet, and the suite had two of them at the guest and the master half bathroom, respectively. Equipped with a sensor and nightlight, the remote-controlled toilet automatically pops up as you enter the room.
Our suite had access to the hotel’s club, which serves rotating light refreshments and beverages throughout the day, along with select liquor during happy hours. In the afternoon, the lounge had a thin spread of breads, salads, mini fish burgers, fruits, and pastries. With lights depicting hanging jewelry, an attentive staff, engrossing decor, and fashion coffee table books scattered across the lounge is a wonderful place to spend time throughout the day.
Food and drink
The hotel’s main restaurant, ‘The Open Kitchen’ serves a fabulous breakfast spread with something to suit everyones palate, from a wide variety of fresh seafood, to BBQ, to Dimsums, to a plethora of fresh fruits, soups, cereals, yogurts, bread, meats, pastries, to juices placed in funky bottles you will be spoilt for choice. For those planning to cut back on calories, there were water jugs with lemon and vegetables, a granola and muesli station, and an energetic, sugar-free mocktail of the day. When we were asking our waiter for some vegetarian recommendations, the restaurant’s chef intervened and quickly made us some delectable cheese sandwiches and preparation of stirred fried vegetables with olive oil. The next morning Chef Pearl greeted us and specially made for us some salad and pancakes.
In the evening, we tried out the Woobar, the brand’s signature bar in the lobby. Adopting a very casual sitting style it has a large curvy bar table illuminated with a golden under light in the center, accompanied by hollow disk-shaped stools. There is a more secluded smoking area for nicotine lovers and a suspended balcony that has an elephant to sit on for some interesting photo memories. Being an early evening, the bar was empty so we sat downstairs next to the lobby and sipped on some cocktails and Belgian beer as the DJ played house music in a purple-lit stand with a Disney cartoon playing behind him.
Serving Cantonese cuisine is the hotel’s Yan Yu restaurant; the signature dish is the Dim Sums; while they were delicious, we were in awe of the Tofu with pan-tossed vegetables which was topped up with a delectable Mango cheesecake.
Japanese cuisine is incredibly popular in China, and to satisfy your craving for Sushi, Tempura, and everything in the middle is the ‘I by Inagiku’ restaurant headed by the renowned chef Eiji Nakamura.
The hotel is also home to one of the city’s popular nightclubs ‘Fei’, spread across three levels of glass, glowing cocktail tables, and strands of fiber optic lighting. The club tends to get packed on weekends by 11.00 pm. If the EDM and the cocktails don’t get you high, the design and the ultra-futuristic colorful design will surely do.
Located on the 29th floor is the gym, it’s well equipped and offers good views of the city. For fitness buffs there is a separate training and yoga room with a fitness coach available on request.
Located across the gym is the pool, or as W likes to call it, WET. The indoor heated pool is very popular with the guests and locals alike and we could see why. High ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows covered the whole length providing beautiful views overlooking the city. At the same time, a “Green Wall” mimicked an oasis in the middle of the urban jungle and to rest were some fancy seats and Ottomans placed around the pool. I headed to the WETBAR next to the pool to grab a refreshing cocktail and some light snacks after a swim.
I must say a day at the pool bought a much-needed sense of tranquility.
A level below is the AWAY Spa, spread across 1500 square meters it offers a variety of signature treatments and massages. After 10 hours of traveling I tried out the Freedom massage and to say the least it was effective, all the stiffness in my neck and shoulders was gone, and I felt completely refreshed the next morning.
The hotel building is a sight to behold in the evenings as jumping lights transform the facade into a giant Tetris screen.
There are plenty of options if you venture out; just a 5 minute drive away is the renowned Guangdong Museum, Guangzhou library, the beautiful Zaha Hadid-designed Guangzhou opera and the sky-kissing IFC tower.
Guangzhou does have steep communication barriers; during our two-night stay, we did not see a single non-Asian guest at the property. However, it was smooth sailing at the hotel except for two occasions; but the staff immediately called up their superiors or English-speaking colleagues and assisted us with a smile.
The concierge staff was extremely helpful, from sightseeing recommendations to booking high-speed train tickets. Here is an incident I would want to share – We had a connecting flight from Chengdu where our checked-in luggage was misplaced; we shared the lost report details with the concierge who did a brilliant job of regularly following up with the local airport authorities, updating us with the status and finally delivering the lost luggage in our room the next morning.
Be it the bar, the restaurant, the lounge, the Spa, the gym, and most importantly, the rooms/suites; you will surely be in awe of their functional design.
In a nutshell, the W Guangzhou is a near-perfect fusion of luxury and style.
Disclaimer – We were provided complimentary accommodation and services. But the opinions expressed herein are my own.
26 Xian Cun Road,
Pearl River New Town,
510623 – China
Phone: (86)(20) 6628 6628