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The new JW Marriott Anji is located in an idillic place, in the midst of green mountains covered by lush swaths of pine and bamboo forests. It is not what many people have in mind when they think of destinations just three hours away from the concrete jungle of Shanghai. The property has been opened just for few weeks but the destination is known in as one of the most beautiful places in this part of China.
The trip itself was a great experience, in our case we took a bus from Suzhou. It took around 4 hours and we witnessed the dramatic change from urban panorama to impressive nature. We have to say that not many foreigners use buses in China, but it is nothing hard to do, actually the buses are in great condition and the roads are excellent. One just needs a little bit of local help to get the tickets that are very cheap. It is possible to get a bus as well from Shanghai or from Hangzhou. The only other way to reach the hotel is with a taxi (that can be expensive) or a private car.
From the center of Anji we took a taxi (only four dollars) and 15 minutes later we arrived to the beautiful hotel. It has an alpine feeling and the surrounding panorama is breathtaking.
Everything is shiny and new! The inside design mix local Chinese decoration with clean lines and discrete luxury. We were welcomed in a very friendly manner, the assistant manager was very warm and helpful. They told us that we were among the very first foreigners staying here. We were upgraded to a deluxe suite, that was very spacious, with a lot of wood, including many Bamboo touches. We were offered the very fine local white tea -that as we were able to verify later- we were told is more expensive that fine whisky.
Once in the room we loved once again the impressive view of the majestic surrounding mountains, the professional golf course, the manicured terraces that make the tea gardens and the endless bamboo forests.
All the facilities at the hotel are top notch, from the gym with the latest equipment to the locker rooms that include sauna, steam room, hot tub and an amazing pool with floor to ceiling windows that offer unparalleled views of the nature.
The breakfast was quite good, and every afternoon we received complimentary cocktails, premium liquors and snacks at the lobby bar.
Everything about the hotel is very relaxing. It is a true gem for the JW Marriott portfolio. The language barrier may be seem as a problem at the beginning as indeed the assistant manager acknowledge it has been a challenge for them to find fluent english speakers in this smaller town. Anyway Chinese make up the vast majority of guests. Still with some limitations of english we did not have a major problem with that. All those working there are doing a good job and they have a great willingness to help, even if it means communicating by signs. We have to say that their english was good enough to help us in any of our requests.
We are very happy with our experience at the JW Marriott Anji, this is one of the best kept secrets, amazing to think all the nature, clean air and verdant mountains are so close to Shanghai.