by Re Carroll
Abbotsford, British Columbia
June 14, 2005
The front-desk clerk took us to look at a room on the third floor. Although this was one of their best rooms, with light walls and duvets on the twin beds, the mattresses were just too hard for us, so we asked to see another room. Unfortunately, the beds in the second room were just as hard and we thought we’d have to look elsewhere for a hotel. The clerk, however, was determined to find us a softer bed, so she took us to a room on the ground floor, and like Goldilocks, these beds were just right. We were happy, but she was concerned the room might be too noisy because of the staff quarters across the courtyard. She offered to have the beds moved to the third-floor room, but we were feeling guilty about being so picky and finally managed to convince her we were fine where we were. On a parting note, she said that we could switch to the third-floor room at any time. On top of that, she also comped us for their breakfast buffet, normally a 16y-per-person charge.
Although it was pretty nondescript with a beige-and-brown colour scheme, the room was large, with windows looking onto a garden. The room had air-conditioning and a large TV that got a couple of English stations. There was no minibar but a wide assortment of snacks for sale, as well as a kettle with teas and instant-coffee packets. The bathroom had a few chipped tiles but was spotlessly clean and had the standard amenities, as well as thick cotton towels.
The hotel has a business centre, small gift shop, a bar, and a large restaurant that serves buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
One of the nicest features are the gardens. The main one is in an open courtyard in the centre of the hotel and has a small pond and bonsai garden. Our room backed onto the rear garden, which was a little less manicured but no less interesting, with a bridge built over a small stream and a little pavilion tucked into a back corner.
Breakfast was served between 7 and 9am in a large room overlooking the main garden. The buffet was extensive with lots of Chinese dishes, as well as eggs fried to order, fresh fruit, and an assortment of breads and pastries.
Our room was listed at 380y, but we paid 300y.
We found the hotel to be very aptly named, and I wouldn’t hesitate to return here.
From journal Suzhou - The Garden City