2 Weeks at a 5-Star Hotel

Garden Hotel room service breakfast

Garden Hotel Christmas tree 2015
Garden Hotel Christmas tree 2015.
Few people can say they’ve stayed two weeks at a five-star hotel—in the city they live in, nonetheless.

So first of all, thank you, Mom and Dad—because thanks to the umbrella of shit that falls under #China, I’m having issues with simply receiving a salary and am far from being able to support myself financially. But of course, that’s another story.

Regarding why I find myself wearing a white towel robe (now that I think of it, the material could at least be softer) on yet another night of mud-masking in a hotel bed while listening to MADE IN HEIGHTS’ “Murakami”—it’s a long story.

Essentially, I’m moving into a new apartment and out of my aunt’s old one that she and my uncle have graciously let me stay in rent-free for these first few months.

Meanwhile, I’ve been encountering a seemingly unconquerable mountain of “Real Life” challenges, so it’s such a relief that I can at least take advantage of this brief period enjoying the suite life on the 27th floor of Garden Hotel, basically a Guangzhou landmark.

It’s absolutely perfect timing—I’ve had some of my best AND worst moments since arriving in Guangzhou these two weeks. Situations got so bad two nights ago that I found myself crying from a mix of exhaustion, frustration, and terribly timed hormones.

But then imagine me: on my king-sized bed, in a suite, in a five-star hotel, listening to fucking classical music while wearing a robe—well, you quite literally can’t feel any remorse. Because after a week and a half of resisting ordering room-service breakfast from the door tag left on my bed every day, I decided then that I would treat myself just once to a $40 USD American-style breakfast.

It was meh. Didn’t get the ham I wanted in my eggs or the tea, but did get more breads than requested. Is it sad I liked the Muesli cereal better than even the eggs and sausages? Not worth $40, but worth the experience.

Rewinding to when I first checked in, that itself was a funny story. The receptionist assigned me to a room on the 13th floor—but, feeling rather bold, I went on some bullshit rant, putting on my best “trying-not-to-be-difficult-but-trying-my-luck” smile and laughed here and there.

“How many floors are there?”

She tells me 30, with the top few reserved for suites. Suddenly, I decided I would try to convince her to get me a higher room.

“You know, in America, the number 13 is unlucky.”

She nods, unspeaking while clicking her mouse, eyes fixed on the computer.

I go on. “Because I know in China, the number 4 is unlucky because it also could mean death. So for me, I don’t know if 13 would be good.”

*awkward laugh while carefully eyeing if she’s catching my bait*

“OK, I’ll see if I can get you a higher floor,” she mumbles. “There’s one on the 27th.”

SCORE. Mind you, I’m usually not the type to speak up like this, in fear of being judged as “difficult.”

She makes a call to housekeeping speaking in Mandarin. Something about wine.

She re-scans room cards for me and wishes me well on my way.

Once I arrive and open the door to my room, I realize it’s a suite and wonder if the room on the 13th was one, too, or if I had just gotten a free upgrade. Because why would my parents book a suite knowing I would stay at least a week? But wait, they would, too.

Within seconds, I spot a bottle of Prosecco on the living room table, with a letter welcoming me (my mom) to the room, explaining that because my (my mom’s) Gold Member status, I get a free bottle of wine.

Hilariously enough, after giving it to my cousin who has been helping me with this apartment mess, a few nights later, I received yet another. I gave that away, too. I unfortunately haven’t gotten another since.

So other amenities I’ve lavishly enjoyed include the gym (several times, of course), bubble bath (twice—sorry, environment), WARM TOILET SEAT (like, plus buttons to wash yourself), #robelife (I usually don’t wear hotel robes), #slipperlife (nor slippers), TV in both bedroom and living room (I also usually don’t watch TV on TV), among others.

Another unexpected part of my stay here was the oddly attentive/slightly annoying housekeeping, who apparently:

  • Knocks to let me know my door wasn’t fully closed
  • Knocks to come replace my fridge drinks
  • Knocks to come fix a light only to see that it’s already been fixed shortly before?
  • Knocks to come CLOSE MY BLINDS, replace hand towels, and fold the corner of my bed to place yet another breakfast order form on it

I’ve managed to come up with the reason being they just need to do the basics in the morning before new guests then take care of the rest, less-urgent tasks throughout the rest of the day. But literally throughout. Sometimes, after stepping out briefly, I’ll return to see that they’ve taken out my trash again and re-folded the toilet paper rolls to neat triangles.

I will give them credit for replenishing my toiletries to the point of excess. Despite having already thrown away empties of course, I currently have four mini soap bottles and about three of everything else.

And should I be as pensive over the fact that they always address me in Chinese?

I’ve also treated myself to a mango tart and cappuccino at the lobby café.

All in all, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my extended stay at Garden Hotel, both despite and especially with the sob-inducing stress also during my stay. I will certainly miss the suite life (AH, but not the WiFi that’s too weak to connect to VPN 90% of the time).

I look forward to moving into my new apartment Sunday, so meanwhile, I’ll go deal with those related headaches and save you the rants I have about that for now—because apartment hunting in China has been interesting enough that I do plan to write about it.