Nested on the peaceful shores of the ever longing River Li, and within a few minutes’ walk from both the signature Elephant Hill, and the Seven Star Park, the Sheraton Guilin provides guests with a more luxurious comfort than ever before, and quite perhaps the most stylish hotel in this compact yet vibrant city. If you are after style, luxury, comfort and a sophistication of excellent customer service then the Sheraton Guilin is the place to be at. It would be a sheer underestimation for anyone to go to Guilin and not to experience this city’s compact yet vibrant lifestyle and culture.
If there is anything that makes this hotel stand out from the rest than it is the priceless scenery offered from almost all of the rooms that are facing the River Li. Magical views of the dreamy hills that surround the town provide a picturesque view that seem to go on forever into the horizon. Rather ironically the views are even more beautiful when the heaves open up or when it’s foggy because nature creates that dreamy look of grey hill tops sticking out of the mist and cloud. One thing is for sure, that there are very few hotels in the world that have such a unique view as offered that by the Sheraton Guilin. Its so good that if one had the money they would wish to stay here all year around (really...I would).
Hotel facilities include an outdoor swimming pool (fancy swimming while surrounded by lavish greenery and beautiful sleepy hills?), a state-of-the-art gym, a soothing massage centre, numerous food and beverage facilities offering a variety of Chinese and international cuisine, a club lounge with high speed internet and satellite television facilities, and a fully bonded travel agent that can book your tours around Guilin.
The 407 newly renovated rooms and 17 suites all boost ergonomically designed furnishings, dual walk-in wardrobes, and the Sheraton heavenly beds with 300-thread cotton- sheer luxury and ultimate in comfort. Every room is equipped with some of the minor but important things in life such as an iron and ironing board, coffee making facilities, western style toilets that work efficiently, air-conditioned surroundings, high security 24 hours a day, fresh water facilities, cable television and a convenient connection to the internet. Guests are welcomed with a plate full of fresh Chinese fruits- a cultured symbol of the beauty of this place. The hospitality is second to none, and each customer is greeted as a VIP special guests at the Sheraton Guilin. This kind of personalised service is essentially important in a place where guests come back to the hotel after a long tiring day of travelling around to places such as the Longji rice terraces, Yangshuo or even hiking around. One needs a place where they can be welcomed with air-conditioning, clean rooms, and a quiet environment. For those who prefer to sleep like a log (like I do), and cannot bear even minute amounts of noise during the night time, then you’ll be pleased to know that all the walls are constructed with double layering to cancel out outside noise and all the windows are double glazed too.
In terms of culinary delights, the Sheraton Guilin offers a variety of options including hearty Western or Chinese breakfasts, lunches, and dinners either served according to your exact needs in your room or at one of the fine restaurants located on the ground floor. The Cathay Chinese Restaurant is the cream of the Sheraton Guilin providing local delights such as deep fried Li River fish with salt and pepper, or deep fried Li River shrimp wrapped with egg yolk. In June 2011, the main restaurant was host to Vietnamese chefs, Mr. Khiem Ngo and Mr. Hai Pham who displayed some signature Vietnamese dishes. Chef Pham served an unpretentious yet provocative menu of the best seasonal produce alongside Vietnamese delicacies like Hanoi beef noodles and fried young rice with prawns. All the restaurants are host to many international live bands playing traditional Chinese or Western music to the delights of the dinars. It’s the perfect way to round off your trip to the city, and your stay at the Sheraton Guilin.
Tucked away on the seventh floor of the Sheraton Guilin, the Riviera offers a blend of Italian and genuine Mediterranean cuisine. The fact that the restaurant is located on the inner side of the Club Lounge, and away from the scenery provides an even better reason for dinars to sit at the outdoor rooftop veranda and enjoy the fine views across the Li River and the signature Elephant Hill. In the afternoons and early evenings, when the weather is not so hot and humid and when the river’s tide is low, people usually prefer to swim in the shallow waters. It’s a very laid-back atmosphere with the only the sounds of either the waves or children in the distant playing with the water. You can catch a beautiful glimpse of boats and bamboo rafts going up and down the river as well. While this can provide a lovely, yet relaxing ambiance for a dinner or lunch, for those who prefer to keep themselves a bit more distracted can also indulge themselves with various reading material in the adjoining Club Lounge.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to enjoy the pleasures of dining with luxury food while indulging in the stunning views across to the river Li. Yes, luxury in China does come with a price tag, but not as much as you would expect. The Riviera’s chef de cuisine Mark Xiao deserves the biggest gong of all for keeping in tradition with the Sheraton’s culinary philosophy while presenting western food right in the heart of a second tier city such as Guilin. Armed with a good appetite, you can commence the culinary journey with delights such as the potato and gorgonzola salad. For all this food-mad small city’s hawker centres and coffee shops, it’s the fine dining that is grabbing all the attention these days. The Sheraton Guilin has been fortunate to attract some of the best chefs from around the world. The 60-seat Riviera dishes up hearty Mediterranean fare- think of angel hair vongole-e-pesto with calm cherry tomato and pesto- in convivial, stylish laid-back surroundings. Back in the open kitchen, there is a touch of theatrical magic attached to chef Xiao. It’s almost as if he is on stage and performing his gastrological skills to amaze the audience. Xiao is definitely an artist more than a chef I would say- everything you see, smell, touch and taste here has been carefully conceived and curated by Xiao personally.
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