A justifiable jewel in their crown, Guangzhou’s Mandarin Oriental opened in 2013. Its wow factor is undeniable, undisputed and no understatement. Even for one who has by now visited some pretty impressive hotel portfolios across the globe. A good analogy would be this: let’s say you’re taking a walk through a quiet forest when you come across a pool of pure clear water. You attempt to photograph it, however try as you might no setting and no lens can capture its essence while words can only begin to describe it. And speaking of nature, the only mud sticking here is in the grand spa on the fifth floor. With echoes of an ancient Asian shrine the journey to it is masked in contemporary luxury with nods to the Norse in its elegant usage of wood paneling in the corridor leading to the exterior pool and jacuzzi area between the spa and main hotel. The building itself is an addition to the glamorous TaiKoo Hui shopping mall and its design features courtesy of Tony Chi Associates delight time and again.
Entering the world of the Mandarin Oriental is a little like a child’s Choose Your Own Adventure book. In other words you the visitor are given a selection of options. The first way is the main entrance from the street via glass doors and concierge; the second is through imposing tall slender wooden doors which I thought were merely a design feature not for public use but I was mistaken. Heaving open these portals a narrow margin of amber light appears like a divine messenger beckoning you to another kingdom. On entering the Grand Hall you’ll be mesmerised by perplexing art, a multitude of cupboards and its swirling floor pattern that lies somewhere between a kitchen showroom and Alice in Wonderland! A third alternative is through the blink and you miss it side entrance via the aforementioned mall. This time you’ll find yourself in the bewitching glare of the cake shop and if you survive the many temptations on offer there, the stately mansion library feel of the adjoining TaiKoo Lounge awaits you for afternoon tea, coffee and/or finer aperitifs.
The staff are always friendly and there’s no sign of the mad hatter, nor the sunflowers which have been replaced by the autumn red of the coxcomb giving the dimly lit lobby an ‘au-naturelle’ garnish. The residence lay in the distinguished district of Tianhe; the beating commercial heart of modern day Guangzhou where many other major hotels have also set up camp. So far the Mandarin is my favourite, truly an oasis of calm and tranquility in the otherwise bustling metropolis. The other refreshing thing about the MO is they have never fobbed me off with the ‘so and so is in a meeting’ line which I’m often presented with by a lot of their competitors so a big vote of gratitude for that alone! Although I do find it strange that the communications team don’t seem to enjoy communicating. That aside my only grumble is that I can’t afford to stay there and I’ve not yet met the acquaintance of Lucy Liu, but yes.. I’m also a fan.
My thanks to the staff at Mandarin Oriental for their excellent professionalism. To those reading: I did not receive anything in return for my views here so there is no bias in my opinion.
Address: 389 Tianhe Road
Metro: Shipaiqiao (orange line towards Tianhe Coach Station)
Both the Metro and BRT are accessible via the adjoining Taikoo Hui mall. There’s also a shuttle bus that runs to/from the nearby Guangzhou East Station. Also worth noting is that if you are travelling via metro please be aware the orange line 3 splits into two so if you need the airport you need to change at Tiyu Xilu – one stop down. This station is very busy and is pretty much the Piccadilly Circus of Guangzhou so if you have a lot of luggage allow extra time.