The standard of luxury in one of China’s most iconic cities increased not too long ago with the addition of one of Marriott’s most prestigious brands and we were able to sample it as we made our way to the lesser explored Northeast of China.
Harbin is closer to Russia than it is to Beijing and it is a city which has a very unique relationship with ice, art and nature. It combines all the business venues of a top tier Chinese city with tourist attractions such as the Jinhewan Wetland Park, Harbin Ice-Snow World, Siberian Tiger Park and the Harbin Grand Theatre. It was really an adventure getting here and still manageable with some travel flexibility.
The hotel was our home while exploring this new city and it captures the high standard that JW carries all across China and incorporates designs that are unique to the local culture as well. We were warmly received and it truly was a place where we did not see many outside tourists (especially since we came in summertime).
What was immediately striking about the hotel was its grand size. Hosting almost 350 rooms and with grand displays like floor-to-ceiling windows it was possible to look out at the greenery of the rivers and islands that dot the cityscape. Harbin is a very nature centric town that one can observe the greenery even from a downtown building such as this.
The hotel has a range of good restaurants which can be helpful to those unaware or unwilling to engage with outside dining. The JW Marriott cafe is an all-day dining venue that offers an international buffet experience with à-la-carte options. There are themed restaurants as well which we did not try because as Elite members we had access to the Executive Lounge which is situated on the 27th floor, with commanding views. Food and drinks were readily provided all during the day and the quality and atmosphere were elegant.
We found that maintaining our healthy lifestyle while traveling was no problem here. Besides the gorgeous city with an outdoors feel, the hotel had excellent fitness and pool facilities as well as wellbeing amenities like a steam room and jacuzzi. The hospitality was great, the location perfect and even when it was a bit challenging to move around the city not knowing Chinese the concierge team supplied us with maps and directions so that we could figure out our excursions.