Chinese hotels have a reputation of coming through on service and elite upgrades so I thought I'd share with all of you my most recent fabulous experience during my stay in Xi'an - home of the Terracotta warriors.
We arrived in Xi'an at 9am on an overnight Sleeper train from Shanghai and after a days touring with a guide visiting the Big Goose Pagoda, the Bell & Drum tower, the Walls and Muslim Street arrived at 4pm to check-in to our hotel.
*WOW* - What an experience! Upon arriving a bellboy collected my luggage from my guides car and asked my name. I replied and he immediately asked me to be seated in reception whilst he called the Exec lounge manager who arrived quickly, thanked me for my loyalty and asked me to accompany him to the Exec lounge where he would personally complete my checkin. We then all accompanied the manager to the lounge where we were offered welcome drinks while I went through the process at the exec lounge desk. After a few mins with my passports and visas I was then advised I could join my family and the hostess would take care of the remaining formalities. 10 minutes later the hostess approached me and advised that our rooms were ready, a double-double as reserved for the two teenagers and our room had been upgraded to a suite, on the exec floor! Of course when we walked into our rooms we found our luggage there waiting for us! SMOOOOTH....
Now, suite upgrades are rare enough but exec floor suite upgrades - never, not ever, never ever, never, never have I received an exec-floor-suite-upgrade in 10 years and over 500 real butt-in-bed nights as a Marriott Platinum, and latterly Platinum Premier.
And then there was the evening lounge, top-shelf liquor and lots of different hot options meant you could eat a full evening meal there AND choose between a Western or Chinese menu. Although the alcohol hours were officially short - 6pm-8pm only - in practice I was there at 5:30pm before dinner and was offered a beer, and returned after dinner at somewhat past 8pm and was able to have a couple more. The Exec lounge Breakfast was amongst the widest I have seen in any exec lounge worldwide and the alternative in-restaurant breakfast was absolutely the best breakfast selection I have ever seen anywhere in the world.
So, smooth-as-silk no-wait exec lounge checkin, upgrade both rooms to exec lounge level AND our room to a full suite on the lounge level, top alcohol and food offerings and the best hotel buffet breakfast ever seen makes me sooo glad I'm a Marriott Platinum Premier ---------- that got comped Hilton Diamond - Yes folks, all this top-treatment, best ever experience occurred at the Xi'an Hilton. It had to be a Hilton as Marriott has no central properties in Xi'an. Its only my second Hilton stay this millennium!
As part of this trip I've also stayed at the Marriott Shanghai City Centre, where I received a concierge level "upgrade" to a standard room 4 floors below the lounge and the Beijing Renaissance Wangfujing where I received no upgrade whatsoever. Both required lengthy checkin procedures and waits (ironically the Ren Beijing stuffed a slip in my roomcard advising all club level guests could checkin in the lounge - only given after I'd gone through the whole lengthy checkin process in reception!). Both lounges are good, as are the alternative full breakfast options, but really, no patch, absolutely no patch, on the incredible Hilton Xi'an...
I think it might be time to rethink my opinions on Hilton!