Guangzhou is the capital city of the province of Guangdong and a major commercial city that’s about a 3 hours train ride away from Hong Kong. As the main reasons many Hong Kongers visit Guangzhou is business or work related ( most of the factories are based in Guangzhou), we recently re-discover Guangzhou and found plenty of reasons why it makes for a great weekend getaway. For the uninitiated, there are enough interesting spots seeped in history to sight-see, fine Cantonese cuisine to enjoy, not to mention the shopping and world class cultural performances at the Opera House that opened in 2010.
How to get there
From a recent trip organised by the Small Luxury Hotel group and the newly opened boutique hotel, LN Hotel Five, we’ve put together this guide to Guangzhou that we are sure you will appreciate. There are no hassles that comes from the train ride from Hung Hom to Guangzhou, passing immigration and customs control. Instead the journey starts with a pick-up from a chauffeured van that can be arranged anywhere in Hong Kong that will take you right to the LN Hotel Five’s door step in about 2+ hours.
Where to stay
LN Hotel Five located in the heart of the arts district is Guangzhou’s first luxury boutique hotel with 32 guest rooms and suites all with views of the historical Pearl River. The design is decidedly ‘Contemporary Chinese’ with beautifully crafted interior fittings and furnitures that updates traditional Chinese touches. The hotel draws inspiration from the historical past of the place. Art murals of the Pearl River port in the lounge area, roof bar and charming old black & white pictures from the 1920’s traces the history of the place line the hallways and in rooms gives you a sense of the place and its history. When you arrive, friendly hotel staffs that speaks English are ready to greet you at the lounge entrance as there is no check-in counters at this hotel.
At LN Hotel Five, all rooms are spacious and comes with panoramic views of the Pearl River. The rooms are designed in soft warm colours with light hardwood and marble walls and floorings in the bathroom. There are beautifully designed custom tailored furnitures like the Chinese cabinets, bathroom sinks and lamps that’s been modernised with decorative brass traditional fittings and finishes.
We suggest that you have a drink and watch the sun set over the city from the Roof Top Bar with sweeping 180-degree views of the Pearl River. LN Hotel Five is designed to soothe the sense and feels like a retreat in the middle of the city.
Address: No 277, LN Hotel Five, Yanjiang Yuexiu District, Guangzhou, China. Tel: +44 203 308 9005
Where to Eat
At the hotel you will find Tea 5, a casual tea and Dim Sum restaurant overseen by famous Chinese Executive Chef, Bob Wu who have spent 30 years perfecting and innovating fine Cantonese cuisine. With great detail and attention to food and how it is served from the tableware to new ways of presenting, they have taken fine Cantonese dining to a whole new level. Some stand-out dishes to try; steam mandarin fish with deep fried ginger and mushroom, the signature roasted goose from Qingyuan, Kung Fu chicken soup with crab meat dumpling served from a small tea pot and of course the most famous Cantonese food- dim sum. At Tea 5, expect to find dim sum with a twist, try the dried baby shrimp mixed with mango and ice plant with sesame and wasabi sauce, siu mai (steam pork) with black truffle and kung fu soup.
Lounge 5 offers bookings for private banquets and dinner where Executive Chef Bob Wu prepares a feast of innovative Cantonese Cuisine that will sure to impress. We heard that the Lounge has become a popular spot for small intimate wedding banquets and private company dinners.
For traditional fine cantonese fare, the Peach Garden restaurant located at LN Garden Hotel is very popular with local insiders. Order traditional dishes they have perfected like the roasted suckling pig, fish soup, peking duck and prosperity chicken (a.k.a beggar’s chicken).
Address: 3/F, LN Garden Hotel, 368 Huanshi E Rd, HuanShi DongLu YanXian, Yuexiu Qu, Guangzhou Shi, Guangdong Sheng Tel: 86 208 333 8989
Places to Visit
Hotel Five perfectly placed in the heart of the arts district, a journey of cultural discovery is on your doorstep. From high-end boutiques to bustling markets, you can spent days spent unearthing its rich history or party the nights away at the city’s many bars and clubs. For sight-seeing, we recommend booking a private tour with one of the hotel’s ‘Experience Team” who will take you on a tour of the surrounding art and cultural district. Some must-visit places in Guangzhou include –
Shamian Island, Liwan District (20 minutes by car)
An important port for Guangzhou’s foreign trade during the Song to Qing Dynasty (18th to mid 19th century). It also serve as a strategic point for the city’s defences during the the First and Second Opium War. This scenic foreign settlement features around 150 embassy buildings, cathedrals and churches built by foreign governments during the Qing Empire period. A beautiful place that is home to many old tree, some as old as 300 years old.
Lychee Bay, Liwan District (20 minutes by car)
The summer resort built during the Han Dynasty dates back 2200 years. The place was named after Lizhiwan – from the Chinese poem “A Bay of Green Water and Red Lychees along both banks”. The place showcases personalities from different dynasties and features many Linnan architecture, food and customs. Today is a scenic spot for filled with little shops and cafes where people can enjoy the view, park nearby and walks along the canal banks.
Pearl River Night Cruise
Take a cruise along the Pearl River to view some of Guangzhou’s most prominent landmarks including the Zhuhai Square, Aiqun Mansion, famous bridges like the Renmin Bridge, Haizhu Bridge, Guanzhou and Jiefang Bridge, European architecture in Shamian Islands and White Crane Cave in the south.
Beijing Road, Yuexiu District (15 minutes walk)
A major shopping car -free area in the central of Guangzhou, you can find everything from garment shops, to local restaurants and see the city’s original ancient road built more than 1000 years ago below the glass floor around the street. Look out also for some excavated and preserved sites include the Site of Nanyue Kingdom Palace and visit the Great Buddha Temple on Beijing Road covering 1200 square meters and is the tallest temple in Guangzhou.
Guangzhou Opera House
Catch a show at the architecture award-winning – Guangzhou Opera House designed by Zaha Hadid with its wave-shaped foyer made of glass and granite and steel frame. The design was said to be inspired by the concept of two rocks washed away by the Pearl River. Boosting the latest acoustic technologies and plenty of classical operas, Chinese musical productions and shows from their collaborations with New York’s Metropolitan Opera, the English National Opera and Lithuanian National Opera, you must check what’s playing and catch a show while you are there. Go early to view some of the art installations and sculptures by prominent Chinese artists on display.
Address: Guangzhou Opera House, 1 Zhujiang West Rd, Tianhe, Guangzhou, China. Tel: +86 400 880 8922