Exploring Asia Overview
Cathay Pacific B777-300ER Business Class San Francisco to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Lounge Review: The Cabin at HKG
Cathay Dragon A330-300 Business Class Hong Kong to Beijing
Lodging Review: Regent Beijing Hotel
Beijing: Dongcheng District
Beijing: The Great Wall
Beijing: Run-ze Jade Garden
Beijing: The Sacred Way of the Ming Tombs
Beijing: The Legend of Kung Fu
Beijing: Tiananmen Square
Beijing: The Forbidden City
Beijing: Hutong Tour via Rickshaw, Tea Tasting, Flying to Xi’an
Lodging Review: Hotel Shangri-La Xi’an
Xi’an: Qing Dynasty Terra Cotta Warriors
Xi’an: Tang Dynasty Dinner and Show
Xi’an Wrap-Up, Flying to Lhasa, Lhasa Home Visit
Lodging Review: Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa
Lhasa: Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Market
Lhasa: Canggu Nunnery and Sera Monastery
Lhasa: Potala Palace
Leaving Lhasa and Flying to Chongqing
Cruising the Three Gorges
Three Gorges Dam
Jingzhou City Walls Tour
Wuhan: Hubei Bells Performance and Provincial Museum
Shanghai: Shanghai Museum
Lodging Review: Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai
Shanghai: Old Shanghai and Yuyan Gardens
Lodging Review: The New Otani Tokyo Hotel
Tokyo: City Tour
Mt. Fuji and Hakone Tour Returning by Shinkansen
ANA Suites Lounge Review, Tokyo Narita
All Nippon Airways B777-300ER First Class Tokyo Narita to Houston
Our plane landed in Xi’an (see-in) after dark and after making sure the porters had our luggage we boarded a motorcoach to our home for the next two nights, the Hotel Shangi-La Xi’an. I had signed up for the Shangri-La Golden Circle club on the off-chance that we might be able to earn points for the stay but, as I suspected, our stay was not eligible for points-earning. Still, I provided my membership number and after we left I received a survey via email asking for feedback about our stay.
The lobby was quite large and very striking, with the faux marble finishes everywhere. One of the first things you notice upon entering is this exhibit celebrating the hotel’s 10th anniversary with a miniature set of warriors based on the life-sized terra cotta ones that we’d come to see.
Beside and behind the warriors exhibit were a number of seating areas like this.
Behind that and down a couple of steps was the bar area with even more seating.
To the left was the entrance to the Yi Café, a buffet-style restaurant that was our breakfast spot and in the evenings has cooking stations with dishes from all over Asia and Europe.
To the right was the check-in desk. Jack took care of getting us all set there and then distributed our keys.
Our room was on the 18th floor and when we stepped off the elevator we realized it was a club floor that had signs pointing to the Horizon Club, for elite members of the hotel’s Golden Circle program.
We turned right down the hallway to our room, which was about halfway down.
It was a standard hotel room with the bathroom on the left and wardrobe on the right before reaching the area with the bed, desk, TV and chairs. This was the only room we had where the twin beds were not separated by a nightstand. I assume this room can also be set up as a king but in that case the beds would be a bit far from the nightstands so I’m not entirely sure whether that’s the case or not. At least the nightstands each had a plug, though just one, so that was an improvement over the Regent Beijing.
Beyond the bed, in front of the window were two chairs, each with a pair of slippers waiting to be used.
Beside the chairs and across from one bed was the desk with a true office-type chair.
Beside the desk was the TV sitting on top of a small chest. It had a drop-down door for the DVD player.
Beside that was a small bench that worked well as a luggage stand during our short stay. Between the bench and the wardrobe was the mini-bar that had four bottles of water on top and the mini-fridge underneath had several types of beverages.
The wardrobe had quite a few hangers as well as two bathrobes and an umbrella.
In a door next to the wardrobe were some shelves, drawers and the safe. We had an issue that I’m surprised I’d never had before: when we returned from our outing on our only full day, we found the battery had died on our safe. The staff was fairly quick to respond and was quite apologetic, which was unnecessary as that could happen at any time.
Across from the wardrobe was the bathroom. It had only one sink but had quite a bit of counter space on either side, which was nice.
On the right side was the toilet and the shower stall.
On the left side was the bathtub, complete with a hand-held nozzle and its own TV.
The toiletries were Jasmin & Bergamote by L’Occitane. I found the scent a bit too perfumey but they worked well. However the conditioner was way too thick for the bottle it was in. You had to squeeze the bottle quite tightly but it was so small it was hard to do that effectively. The good news is that the bathroom was cleaner than the one at the Regent – no signs of mold here (or anywhere else during our stay).
The windows on our room faced west and when housekeeping came while we were out, they opened the curtains wide and left them that way. It was very, very warm in the room and even with the thermostat as low as it would go the room wasn’t getting any cooler. When maintenance came up to take care of the safe, a manager came with them and we asked him to somehow get the room cooled off. It was definitely cooler when we came back from our evening event and cooled down more than the night before but it was still warmer than I’d have liked.
Gym and Pool
The hotel does have an indoor pool and it’s fairly large. One of our tour members was going to take a dip but found they require a swim cap and he did not want to use the one they offered to lend to him. Like the Regent, there was a foot bath to walk through before reaching the pool but fortunately this one could be navigated without getting wet so I was actually able to take a photo.
I was surprised at the size of the gym as it was very large for a hotel. It featured hardwood floors throughout and had lots of weight machines, cardio equipment and even some free weights.
Topping it off was this room with a barre but it appeared to be set up for ping pong instead of classes.
On the main floor there were several shops, mostly featuring clothing or jewelry.
The hotel has a couple of other restaurants. The Siam Garden features Thai cuisine.
And Tian Xiang Ge serves Cantonese foods like dim sum and freshly made noodles. Speaking of which, one factoid Jack told us was that in China noodles are a more traditional northern dish while rice is more traditional in the south. The northern “noodle people” are also traditionally taller than the southern “rice people” so you can sometimes tell what part of the country someone is from based on their height. There are, of course, exceptions like former NBA star Yao Ming who is from Shanghai (in southern China) and would normally be considered a “rice person” but at 7′ 4″ he would appear to be a “noodle person”.
I did go back to the business center and I must say it’s not like any business center I’ve been in before. Walking in, the first thing you see is this long table covered with a black cloth and several chairs around it. While I was there one person was working at the table on a laptop but that was it.
There were a couple of small rooms, this one with comfortable-looking chairs…covered in doilies…
and this smaller room with these black chairs with purple throws on them. These looked comfortable too but it was certainly not what I was expecting.
I did stop by some of the conference halls and really liked the local touch of having the life-sized terra cotta warriors (copies, naturally) painted as they would have been when the originals were new.
This is a surprisingly large hotel in what seemed to be a busy area yet it felt calm inside and even though the restaurant was always very busy at breakfast we never had a problem getting seated and getting food. I would be happy to stay here again if I’m back in Xi’an.