Lap up the luxury at the latest icon to grace the city’s historic riverside.
Whether you’re in town for a quick getaway or have a day or two off while on a business trip, there is plenty to see and do in Tianjin.
The newly opened Shangri-La Hotel, Tianjin, which towers over the Tianjin Kerry Centre complex on the banks of the picturesque Haihe River, has become a highlight of the city. Less than a 30-minute high-speed rail journey from Beijing, it’s not just weekenders from other parts of the country that have been eagerly anticipating this iconic addition to the city’s skyline – the integrated upmarket shopping-and-dining, entertainment-and-accommodation destination has been the talk of the town since the hotel first opened its doors to welcome guests.
Go with the Flow
Just a 10-minute taxi ride from the railway station, Shangri-La Hotel, Tianjin is attractively located beside the Haihe River, overlooking some of the historic buildings, such as the Postal Museum and the Astor Hotel. These age-old structures would greet arrivals to Tianjin when the city was parcelled out in concessions to eight foreign powers. Today, they only serve to highlight the hotel’s modern elegance and sophistication.
The river was the city’s lifeblood when it was a treaty port and the hotel has adopted this as a distinctive design element. A marvellous crystal chandelier designed to mimic sunlight sparkling on water dominates the welcoming light-filled lobby, while the carpet motif of water lilies on cerulean blue and the path that flows from one tempting theatre kitchen to another in the all-day dining restaurant, Café Yun, mirror the river.
While the Horizon Lounge on the 32nd floor boasts spectacular views across the city, the relaxed vibe at the Lobby Lounge makes it an ideal place to enjoy an afternoon tea or evening drink over some live music. For art aficionados, the Lobby Lounge has a wonderful painting by Paris-based, Tianjin-born artist Chen Jiang Hong that should not be missed and needs time to fully appreciate. Shang Palace, which serves delicious local specialities and authentic Cantonese cuisine, also features paintings by other local artists that help create intimate private spaces.
Whether you’re in town for a quick getaway or have a day or two off while on a business trip, there is plenty to see and do in Tianjin. While it is a modern, vibrant city, for the historically minded there are a few places of interest, including the well-preserved concession area called Wudadao, or Five Avenues, named after the five roads that were home to the city’s well-to-do in the 1920s and 1930s. The area is relatively quiet and, even if you are not into the stories behind them, you can rent a bike and while away a couple of pleasant hours exploring the tree-lined area.
As one local resident says, Tianjin is “a city best explored on foot”. However, you don’t need to tramp around town for hours, as the Haihe River is “bustling with activities whether it is summer or winter” and is just on the doorstep. She suggests saying “man-zou”, which loosely translates to “go carefully”, a phrase parents use to caution their children or as a greeting to anyone you meet. She also recommends trying Goubuli, a brand of steamed stuffed buns with 18 wrinkles that is famous throughout China, during your stay. If they give you a taste for traditional Tianjin treats, you can also try “mahua”, which are twisted dough sticks, and Erduoyan, a traditional brand of fried glutinous rice cakes. The streets around Drum Tower, the centre of the Old Town, are a good place for trying local snacks and picking up souvenirs, such as the clay figures and kites that Tianjin is famous for. If you prefer something more up-market, Chifeng Road is very similar to Shanghai’s Nanjing Road, with old colonial buildings converted to shopping malls, while Hisense is a small luxury mall within a 15-minute walk from the hotel.
Relax and Unwind
Where time allows, those itching for some trekking can get the concierge to organise a car and driver for a day trip to see the Great Wall at the less touristy Huangya Pass; the spectacular views make this well worth the two-hour drive. Even if you have not hiked along the wall, which can be strenuous in some parts, you can still indulge in some soothing pampering at CHI, The Spa after your sightseeing. After the skilled therapists have revitalised your mind and body, treat your taste buds at Café Yun or Shang Palace. Peter Tay, Shangri-La Hotel, Tianjin’s director of food and beverage says they “take pride in serving the freshest ingredients of the highest quality at an affordable price.”
If you are staying for a few days and feel the need to venture further afield, there is a good, though slightly upmarket, Japanese restaurant, Chitose, on the second floor of Ning Tai Plaza in Nankai District. Alternatively, if you want something a little more lively, there is the popular Sitong Bar on the first floor of the Olympic Building, 120 Chengdu Dao, which has live bands and inexpensive drinks and opens until late, although the comforts of your room are sure to lure you home long before then.
Showing 1 comment
lovely place soon hoping to visited