I spent two weeks teaching in Tianjin and this was the hotel the school booked for me. I had expected a Luxury Collection Hotel, but they are no longer participating in that chain. That's not a problem in terms of cleanliness or quality of the hotel, but if you're a Marriott member it might influence your decision.
My room was very large, clean, and well-appointed. The walk-in closet area was smartly designed and featured a tea kettle, ice bucket, and coffee machine. The full-length mirror was also very useful! The bed was a little more firm than I generally like, but the bedding was just heavenly. The bathroom was enormous and just about everything in it was marble... it was very important to lay down towels after stepping out of the enormous tub or spacious shower. I really loved the room.
The only problem with the room is that it was at the end of the hall and I think some of the cleaning staff stored items on the other side of the wall the head of the bed was up against. During the day and until at least 8 or 9pm it was not uncommon to hear things banging against the other side of the wall. This was difficult when trying to get over colossal jet lag.
The breakfast offered is outstanding, an enormous selection of both Chinese and western options is provided. The pastries were especially out of this world. I'd normally do one plate of Chinese options (omg, the dumplings) and one plate of western items. By the end of my stay the staff always welcomed me with a fresh cup of coffee.
Many of the staff did not speak much English, but they always did their best to show the greatest and most generous hospitality, being quite patient with me (Canadian living in the United States). Microsoft Translator did a good job on communicating specific details, like requesting a late checkout, which they were always happy to assist with.
The location was also lovely, right along the riverfront. There were so many places to walk around to: great scenery, tasty coffee shops, two different metro stations. If I return to teach and this is where they'd like to put me, I'll happily return... just maybe get a quieter room.
Date of stay: November/December 2018
Accommodation Type: Deluxe Room
Traveller type: Business
Overall Rating: 8.8/10
Room comfort and quality: 7/10
8.8 Luxury Hotel on the decline
After my stay at The Astor Hotel in Tianjin sometime back in November-December 2017, I looked forward to another comfortable stay in 2018. But unfortunately, I was disappointed when I revisited the hotel in November 2018.
- Both rooms I’ve stayed in are generally clean and tidy. One is a corner unit which explains why it’s so spacious, but the 2nd room I was moved to, the one next to the elevator on level 6 was definitely more inferior in its sound-proofing and smaller.
- Apart from the ballroom staff, the staff at the hotel reception and the ground level restaurant are actually friendly and helpful.
- The hotel lobby still look as grand as before, with a air of festivity welcoming Christmas with a tastefully decorated tree with other fine touches.
- If you’re staying in a room facing the river and pier, the view is beautiful and romantic.
- The beds in general are comfortable, and sleep quality would have been way better if they fixed the issue with the air conditioner.
- Breakfast? Impeccable. The spread caters to western tastebuds but also offers the local delicacies.
- Since we were there for an event, the ballroom staff were exceptionally non-responsive and slow-moving. In fact, they didn’t seem to appreciate or value the fact that the event was actually bringing them income. Or maybe upper management does but the people running the grounds are just disillusioned employees clocking hours.
- As a foreigner, I don’t get why the air conditioner in the rooms are kept at 25 degrees celsius? Even though it may be freezing outside, it doesn’t mean that the cold is going to keep us cool in the rooms. I was practically perspiring during my sleep and woken up by the stuffiness and heat.
- The bathrooms and the carpet are definitely looking more worn out than a year ago.
- The bathroom: the wooden legs holding up the basins look like they are rotting, in definite need for replacement. Perhaps the reason why the bathroom also had this unpleasant musky smell?
The hotel’s heritage, the historical value of the hotel gave it its charm but unfortunately it seems like age is catching up from the inside.
The hotel facade, lobby, restaurants didn’t give away the fact that the hotel was supposedly started in 1863. But the interior furnishings of the 2 rooms I’ve stayed in are beginning to reveal its deterioration. Or maybe the hotel only takes care of the more expensive rooms?
While I reminisce my stay in The Astor Hotel in 2017, I certainly hope it wouldn’t stay only as reminiscence but that rejuvenation works for The Astor Hotel are in the pipeline and would happen soon enough. Please bring back the majesty and splendour to the hotel!
This was one of the better hotel rooms I've ever stayed in. I had all the amenities I could ever need, the bathroom was spacious, the bed was comfortable, the internet was fast and free, and the breakfast (included) was delicious! I also had a nice view of the park garden across the street, which was likely better than the river view.
About the staff: I was treated like a valued guest from the moment I checked in until after I checked out. The staff went above and beyond and were able to help me with anything that I needed. I also received a free ticket to the museum, which was a pleasant surprise.
The only things I can complain about are pretty trivial but here goes: It was a bit noisy in the room above me and in the hall. I could hear every single footstep above and some conversations out in the hall; so if that's something that bothers you, you might want to look elsewhere. One more thing: I used the safe to store my passport and it malfunctioned so I had to call the concierge to send someone to come fix it. Which they did and it was handled very quickly and with a smile, but they might want to be sure those things are kept up-to-date to prevent inconvenience to guests.
All in all, it was a very pleasant experience. I would definitely stay here again.
This is a historic property and in many ways a lovely one. But my experience fell far short of my expectations. At check in I was asked if I would be okay with a room in the old "historic" part of the building, and I was fine with that. In the event, my room was on the second floor, and had two windows facing an interior courtyard with a glass ceiling where there was a large bar and a gathering place for guests. When I entered the room, it was 24 degrees, and sweltering. I turned off the heat, and tried to open the windows, only to discover that, while they could be opened, the openings were covered with dark wooden shutters in order to maintain the aesthetics of the bar area (and, I suppose, to keep people from peering in my windows). But the effect was that I got the noise of the bar, and the chattering of the people (and later, towards mid-night, the sound of staff using noisy machines to clean the floors of the bar area) but I got no air circulation at all. I spent the entire night sleeping on top of the bed sheets, trying (and failing) to stay cool enough to sleep. The next morning, I asked to be moved. The desk clerk said they would, for my trouble, "upgrade" me to a better room, with a balcony, but again in the "historic" part of the hotel. When I got to the room, I discovered that the room was 25 degrees, and was considerably smaller than my prior room, despite the "upgrade." Nevertheless, it had windows that opened, and I opened the windows and tried to get unpacked. When I opened the only closet, I discovered that they had a piece of furniture inside which held the safe, and places to store folded clothes, and an iron and ironing board, but these took up so much room that the closet could only accommodate two hangers, which was not sufficient to accommodate my suites and shirts, so I had to hang them on the shower bar. The only good thing about this room, in comparison to the larger room I had before, was that with the windows fully open to the winter air it was bearable, despite the fact that the heat was going full-blast. So it is a lovely place, but it is simply not a comfortable or practical place to stay as a guest. So if you are interested in the storied Astor Hotel, I suggest you visit the museum, but stay across the street at the Ritz-Carlton.
Returning to Beijing, we opted to fly into Tianjin's airport and spend a night at The Astor Hotel prior to returning via high speed train (Beijing-Tianjin by high-speed train takes 35 minutes, with trains departing approx. every 10 minutes). Overall, we found the hotel to be charming and good value, although service could definitely improved and we would have preferred if the public spaces had been fully non-smoking. Had there not been an avoidable incident at checkout this, hotel would have easily earner their 5 stars.
The Astor Hotel is located along the river front, with a modern tower in the front and the more historic wing overlooking a park in the rear. From the airport, it was an approx. 25 minute drive, with the railway station less than 10 minutes away by taxi. While there are some restaurants nearby, Wu Da Dao (the 5 Avenues) is a better choice for going out and is just 20 minutes walk or a short taxi ride away.
We had booked two rooms using a Starwood Pro rate which included an upgrade, breakfast, and a 100 USD food and beverage credit. With reasonable nightly rates, we found the value to be excellent although at check-in, we had to proactively ask the receptionist to explain the benefits. As we would later find out at check-out, it seems hotel staff are not well trained in the benefits and would define food and beverage differently depending on who we spoke to.
We had booked rooms in the historic wing and found them to be charming – four poster beds, high ceilings, modern amenities, and a well stocked bathroom. Our deluxe heritage room even featured a large deck overlooking the park which we would have loved to use had the weather been warmer. All in all we found the room and bed to be comfortable, although did find the box of condoms on display in the bathroom to both be tacky, indiscreet, and had they been used, exceptionally expensive! For a luxury hotel, I would have expected more tact.
We opted to dine at the Chinese restaurant for dinner and found service to be attentive, food delicious, and the overall value for money excellent: for our group of four with several mains and appetizers, the total came out to just 80 USD.
The hotel features a lovely lounge that exudes charm. When we visited in the evening, live music was on offer and we found staff to be helpful and attentive. The only oddity was when we requested a glass of wine to bring back to our room – staff had to verify this was fine with the manager and there was a general feeling that they were afraid their glass wear would go missing.
Breakfast was served in their main dining room and was average. The selection and quality was fine, although it felt staff were somewhat unprepared for the guests and there was some confusion around who had placed the made-to-order soups. Compared with the other hotels we stayed in China, we would have liked the offerings to be a bit higher quality.
Unfortunately check-out left a sour impression of the hotel.
While the room charges were correct, it was only then did they mention to us that food and beverage did not mean alcoholic beverages. Having used this and similar benefits at other hotels, this was both surprising – especially as no restrictions were in the confirmation from Starwood nor was anything mentioned at check-in. Moreover, my wife who spoke with them in Chinese, found the agent to be condensing and accusatory which is completely unacceptable for a luxury hotel or even in the hospitality industry. In the end, after some back and forth, charges were corrected but unfortunately what would have been an exceptional stay was marred by a completely avoidable incident.
While I appreciated the historic nature of the hotel, I doubt we will return to the Astor Hotel.