Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hotel Review: Mt Emei International Hotel

I stayed at Room 716 in Mt Emei International Hotel from 13 to 17 December, 2008.

The Good:
The internet access in bedrooms (with a LAN cable provided) for free of charge.

A kettle, rather than a coffee maker, in the bedroom (but only with Chinese tea bags; I forget bringing my favorite Twining English Breakfast teabags...)

All the written messages in the hotel are both in Chinese and in English (although the staff rarely speak English).

Near the hotel is an area with lots of small restaurants, bars, toy stores, and foot massage parlours, many of which are open until very late where you feel what must be the old Chinese town life before all the modernization took over.

Opposite the hotel across the large street is a big, Sichuan hot pot restaurant called 呉銘火鍋, where you can enjoy the local cuisine.

The Bad:
The bedroom faces a large, busy street. Even on the seventh floor, I hear the street noise.

On some floor below, loud music plays until 4 am, making the bedroom on the 7th floor noisy.

The restaurant serves breakfast of mediocre quality without few Western options, offering warm orange and lemon juice for some reason.

Even though the hotel has about 15 floors, there are only two lifts. It always takes a while to go down to, or up from, the ground floor.

Toothbrushes and toothpaste are provided, which is good, but the brush is not new, and the toothpaste tastes like bad medicine.

The toilet is easily blocked by flushing too much paper.

The glass door of a shower cubicle cannot be shut completely, allowing shower water to spill over to the bathroom floor.

The shower head is fixed to the wall.

Even though I put the sign "Don't disturb" all day, the front desk calls my room to ask me if I need cleaning. After telling them, "I'm fine," a room cleaner knocks on the door. Seems like the front desk didn't understand my English.

The Ugly:
Receptionists are horrible.

When I first arrived at the hotel, there were a few people standing in front of the front desk, talking to the receptionists. So I was waiting for them to finish. There were 3 receptionists, looking in their 20s, and 2 of them deal with these customers together, with another one doing something else. None of these 3 receptionists tried to make an eye contact with me. After 20 minutes, they seemed to finish dealing with the customers, but they never made an eye contact with me. Some other guests came to the reception without looking at me, talking to the receptionists. And they got served. Seems like there is no such a concept as queuing in this city. So I talked to one of the receptionists. It turned out she cannot speak English. Nor can the other receptionists. Maybe that's why they won't try to notice my presence. By handing out my passport, without speaking English, they figured out what I was asking for. But while she was dealing with me, a group of hotel guests came, asking her to return their luggage. And she did. There's no such a concept of queuing in this city.

When I was about to take a shower (so I was naked) in my bedroom after checking-in, a phone rang. It was from the front desk. A guy who did speak English told me I needed to pay a deposit of 200 yuan. I put on my clothes back, went down to the front desk, and gave my credit card. It didn't work. I paid a deposit in cash.

When a Chinese friend of mine asked where to have a drink near the hotel, the receptionist who dealt with my checking-in recommended the bar in the hotel. When my friend said we preferred a place outside, she just said, "Just go over there across the street."

At 11 pm on the day of arrival and in the last evening, the phone in the bedroom rings. It's an offer of massage. Very annoying if you go to bed early.

Unless you need to provide accommodation to international guests for a conference held in South Western University of Finance and Economics (which is located a 15-minute walk away from the hotel), you may want to avoid using this hotel. If you speak Chinese, the service may be much better, though.

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