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Oakwood Residence and an Introduction to Hangzhou! April 8, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in China, Travel.
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During our trip to Shanghai we made a small side trip to Hangzhou, home of the beautiful West Lake, the famous Longjing tea, and one of the most highly rated tourist destinations in China (voted the Best Tourism City of China in 2007 by China National Tourism Association).

It was really easy, actually — just a short 40 minute bullet train ride from Shanghai.

There are plenty of hotel options in Hangzhou, but truth be told, most of them are quite old.  Personally, I’m a fan of new hotels, so we went for a lesser known but very new hotel called Oakwood Residence.

Oakwood Residence is really like a serviced apartment — spacious and with kitchen facilities, but with the luxury feel of a five-star hotel.  Wired internet access in the room costs money, but you can use wireless internet for free in the lobby or in the business services center.

One thing I discovered about hotels in China is that they never give you a good room on the first try.  This might be the same all across the world, actually, but you really have to work for it in China.

The Oakwood has two towers.  Both are relatively new but one of the towers was only completed in 2010.  That was the one we had asked for but they had automatically put us in the older tower (I think furbished in 2007).  So we had to ask for the new tower, and we asked for a good room on one of the higher levels.  But expectedly, they gave us an average room on a mid-level floor, one that faced a property undergoing construction and had lots of noise early in the morning.  So we had to keep asking and  keep changing rooms (this happened two or three times — one of the rooms was in a horrible location and another was completely overwhelmed by the smell of cigarettes).

Eventually, we got it right, and we had a terrific time. The rooms we stayed in were so new and clean, had huge bathrooms, a nice kitchen area with a microwave, toaster and stove, and even a coffee machine.  The television was also unexpectedly large and had free video on demand.

Those are the pros.  The thing most people might consider a major con is the location, which is about a 10 minute drive (in usual traffic conditions) from West Lake.  It might look close on the map but it’s farther it looks.  That said, because West Lake is so enormous, you’d probably need a taxi anyway to see the various attractions, so it doesn’t make much of a difference (especially considering how cheap the taxis are).  Another con is that the reception is not the greatest — they are very willing to help, but during the times we required assistance they were usually understaffed and their English wasn’t the greatest.

One thing to remember with the new tower is that it’s a short walk to the tower with the spa, gym and the business services center, and in March (when we went), it was awfully cold and hence too much trouble.

On the whole, Oakwood is definitely a place I would recommend.  It’s at least just as well-equipped as the other five star hotels in Hangzhou but is significantly newer, and most importantly, a lot cheaper (if you get it on special, which they seem to be on all the time).  We got rooms for a little over $100US a night.

More Hanghzou posts coming soon.

Oakwood Residence Details:
Address — No 28 Jiaogong Road, Hangzhou, China.
Phone — (86-571) 8899 3131
Website — http://www.oakwood.com/serviced-apartments/furnished/CN/Hangzhou/prop7290.html

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