Located just a short train ride away from Hong Kong is Guangzhou and this city is not only known for food but also its historical importance in ancient South China. When I visited Guangzhou a couple of months ago, I knew I had to stay at the W Guangzhou (even though part of the reason was to retain my Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status) - the Mandarin Oriental, Guangzhou came in a close second but the rates for club rooms were well above what I was comfortable with paying for a short getaway.
Prior to arriving, I have already arranged for transport to take me from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport to W Guangzhou which is located on the banks of the iconic Pearl River. While the design of this property may be something you would expect from other W-branded properties around the world, it does stand out in a number of ways but the most glaring one (at least to me) has got to be the existence of a Club Lounge. Now if you are a W Hotel loyalist, you would already know that most properties do not come with a Club Lounge. Many of these properties (e.g. W Bangkok) would reward their top-tier elite members with a drink or two in WOOBAR but that is usually the arrangement since they are not required by brand standards to provide an executive lounge-equivalent space.
As a Platinum Elite member, I was given a special upgrade into a WOW Suite - just one level below the Extreme WOW Suite - as I was celebrating an important occasion. The WOW Suite measures 130sqm in size (the rooms start from 50sqm so they are quite big in general) and it features floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the length of the whole suite.
As you would expect, the living room here in the WOW Suite at W Guangzhou is massive and it features a large-enough seating area for at least four adults (many more if your guests are happy to sit on the floor or elsewhere). What I really like about this suite is how the living spaces flow through seamlessly with the bedroom and pantry area (yes, there is a small pantry in the WOW Suite but I will cover more on that later). As mentioned earlier, the floor-to-ceiling windows span across the length of the suite so you can get plenty of natural daylight regardless of where you are (except the bathroom).
The Team over at W Guangzhou have pretty much prepared a royal welcome for me - the table was teaming with goodies and many of them are handcrafted (e.g. chocolate pralines) so I was truly impressed.
Located near the entrance of the WOW Suite is a powder room which also functions as a half bathroom. If you are entertaining friends or business counterparts, having a powder room means not having them to walk through your bedroom (which you can partition off with the help of a sliding door) if the bathroom is needed during the visit. Even if you are here on leisure (like I was), having a second bathroom is always a luxury if you are sharing the room since it allows plenty of privacy for you to go about your average day.
Located directly behind the Living Room and sandwiched between the Bedroom is a Dining Area - you will find a big enough table for six adults (even though there is only seating for four). There is a huge bowl of (chargeable) snacks located in the middle of the dining table and you will also kind a number of interesting items (e.g. an umbrella and a pack of condoms) here.
On a side note, if you are ever interested to purchase a few W-branded products, getting them here in W Guangzhou is a fantastic idea since they are comparatively lower priced. For example, the W Candle is priced at CNY 568 (approximately S$113) online but it retails for only CNY 128 (approximately S$25) here on property. Even though you will not be able to look out to the famous Canton Tower from your private balcony, this massive space is great for taking in the sights (and fresh air!) of the city. The W Guangzhou is located roughly 1km away from the Zhujiang River (approximately 15-minute on foot) where you will be able to see the Canton Tower in its full glory on a clear day. Since I visited Guangzhou in February where the weather averaged between 12 and 18 degree Celsius, it was really nice to enjoy the sights and a cup of coffee on the balcony!
It should not come as a surprise that the WOW Suite here at the W Guangzhou comes with a Nespresso machine - the compatible coffee capsules are not original capsules provided by Nespresso but they certainly did the job. What impressed me however was the existence of an oven, a dishwater and even an induction cooker (which I did not even utilise during my stay).
There is also a full-size refrigerator with a freezer here in the pantry so feel free to get anything you want from the supermarkets. Plenty of bottled drinking water is also provided here in the WOW Suite and they are replenished each day or upon request (if you require more).
The bedroom of the WOW Suite features a signature king-size W Bed which was as comfortable as I remember it to be from other properties.
Even though the living areas of the WOW Suite are truly impressive, I did find the bathroom connected to the bedroom to be comparatively conventional. Do not get me wrong though, the bathroom is still a beautiful space but it certainly lacked the WOW-factor that was evident across the rest of the suite.
The bathroom features a double-sink vanity with a full-length mirror which is perfect for getting dressed.
On the other side of the bathroom is the 'wet area' where you will find a rain-shower as well as a sizeable bathtub. The toilet is located in a separate room right next to the bathroom so sharing this space (even though there is another powder outside) is definitely possible.
Consistent to brand standards, bath amenities are provided by Bliss Spa and since the WOW Suite is one of the specialty suites here on property, the provided bath amenities are 120ml in size (instead of the usual 30ml ones found in guest rooms). A complete set can be purchased from the W Store for CNY 198 (approximately S$39) but you obviously get them for free since you are staying in a suite.
Moving on to what is probably the most interesting aspect of this stay - the Club Lounge here at the W Guangzhou. Now, I was initially stopped by one of the staff for taking photos of this exclusive space (even though there was no other guest around when I visited) but they somewhat obliged since I argued that there was no one else around. Apparently guests with club access can take photos with their mobile phones but no with 'professional equipment' like a DSLR.
With that being said, the Club Lounge here at the W Guangzhou is beautiful - the place is intricately-furnished and it exudes masculine and resolute charm. What is even more impressive however, is the collection of spirits that guests staying in Fabulous Rooms and Suites have access to - I found everything I needed to make myself a solid Negroni and that was my drink of choice for the three nights that I was there.
There are three (well, actually two) main areas here in the Club Lounge - the reception area (where you enter from) features some plush seating and table games but the main seating area is located to the side of it. On the other end of the reception area is where you will find the collection of spirits.
A small selection of canapés are also offered in the evening - whatever it lacks in variety is made up by the quality of food. If you are not exactly hungry and would like to have a light bite, the food here in the Club Lounge during the evening is certainly sufficient for a small meal.
I returned back to the WOW Suite after spending a good hour at the Club Lounge and evening turndown has been completed - it is always nice to return to a clean room after sometime outside. While the view from the WOW Suite is alright during the day, it is beautiful in the night when the buildings all light up in different colours. Similar to Hangzhou, the buildings here in Guangzhou are beautifully-lit and they look rather futuristic (even though some people might find it tacky). There is a small seating area here in the balcony so I decided to spend some time here to enjoy the cool weather and the lights before retiring for the night.
Unlike most executive lounges, the Club Lounge here at the W Guangzhou does not serve breakfast - you will have to head down to The Kitchen Table for that. Platinum Elite gives you complimentary breakfast here at the W Guangzhou and this translates into a full buffet experience in the morning (the 'continental breakfast' benefit in Asia always turns out to be a lavish affair).
Breakfast at The Kitchen Table is served from 6:30AM to 10:30AM daily - I cannot quite remember whether the hours are extended on weekends but I do not believe so. There is a wide range of Chinese food in the morning but for international travellers who do not wish to try the local spread, there is also a massive counter for pastries, cereals, salads and cold cuts. I really like the fruit juice station located towards the back of the restaurant - simply select the fruits you want and hand it over to the staff behind the counter.
There is also an egg station as well as a dedicated congee station where you will be able to order up dishes the way you want it - you may also adopt a pick-and-choose method at the congee station before handing over your bowl of ingredients to one of the staff members.
The WOW Suite here at the W Guangzhou is no doubt the biggest suite upgrade that I have ever received in a W Hotel. The location of the hotel is great as there are plenty of restaurants around - if you are craving for spicy food, there is an entire floor (located in a building next to the hotel) that is dedicated to that. The W Guangzhou is also within walking distance to various shopping malls (where you will find 点都德, one of the most famous dim sum places in Guangzhou) as well as other notable landmarks. While I am personally quite keen on checking out the Mandarin Oriental, Guangzhou (and use my FHR benefits while I am there) the next time I visit, I think it is safe to say that the W Guangzhou will always be the hotel that I want to return to if I am visiting the city for food.
26 Xian Cun Road, Pearl River New Town, Tianhe District, Guangzhou 510623 China
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