For the discerning traveler, sampling Guangzhou’s potent charms from the baroque clad outpost of the Ritz-Carlton is the perfect example of modern Asia at its most dizzying and dazzling.
Sprawled upon the mouth of the Pearl River Delta – two brief hours by train from Shenzhen, Macau, Zhuhai and Hong Kong (to name a few), Guangzhou’s ancient trading roots have ensured that an endless caravan of traders and invaders, travelers and adventurers have wrestled, fought and bribed their way into this tropical maelstrom of purchasing and partying - the Canton Fair, now on three times a year, is the world’s largest gathering of traders and professional window shoppers.
Before the completion of the Ritz-Carlton in March 2008, the only way to enjoy this fabulous and oft maligned concrete-and-fig jungle was a hit and run from the relative safety of Hong Kong. These days the 40-storey Ritz-Carlton, Guangzhou is providing the stylish and modern adventurer with new heights of luxury service, elegance and sophistication to empower even the most bashful with the courage to get among the delights of “Old Canton”.
Located in the heart of Pearl River New City area of Tianhe District, all of Old Canton’s devilish pleasures are a short ride from the Ritz. Shamian Island for example, where the vanilla- and limecolored buildings (many of these former trade warehouses are now consulates) are typical of the colonial-style architecture of Guangzhou’s post-opium wars’ occupation. The best shopping is in the old and scattered Huanshi Dong Lu, convenient really, as some of the best clubs and bars are also here in the nearby back streets of Hua le lu.
Powered by commerce and teeming with life, Guangzhou’s streets are more often than not shaded by a concrete canopy of highways and broken apartment buildings. The heat and noise are thrilling but also exhausting, so short outings are recommended. One moment to the next is the perfect storm of the sublime and the ridiculous. Stepping out of the delicate finesse of a Ritz-Carlton executive suite makes a day out in Canton a fabulous and giddy experience – the ultimate way to ensure the bump and grind of one of China’s most intense cities is a combination that makes even Hong Kong seem timid and ordinary by comparison.
Where to Stay
The Ritz-Carlton, Guangzhou 3 Xing An Road, Pearl River New City, Tianhe District, Guangzhou. Tel. (86 20) 3813 6666 It’s rare that the arrival of a single hotel can change the cityscape of an entire metropolis, yet the completion of the Ritz-Carlton has a new and exciting tone for the city that will host the 2010 Asian Games.
Occupying the 20th to 38th floors of a towering, stylish and modern building, the hotel offers over 350 luxurious guestrooms with stunning views of the Pearl River. The entire hotel is adorned with a Baroque grace that comes with immaculate service and outstanding facilities. Check-in is a pleasure at The Ritz-Carlton Suite on the 38th floor which features a walk-in wine cellar, a private gym, two massive patios, and an outdoor Jacuzzi.
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