This 5-star hotel had only been open two days when I arrived. I’ve been in hotels open for six months that were less finished than this one. The hotel was almost full — I was part of a large international tourism conference — but aside from a few cultural and language differences, everything worked smoothly.
The Crowne Plaza is primarily a conference and business hotel (it has 1538 square meters of meeting space), but is also a comfortable home for a western tourist seeing the sites in and around Yibin. Its 249 rooms and suites are large and comfortable with all the standard amenities of a western 4 or 5 star: mini-fridge, large TV, safe, 2 twins or a king bed, and all the lovely bathroom amenities typical in China. There’s even a pillow menu (though staff weren’t fully briefed on it, and mistook the key English word “menu” to mean the guest was asking about dining; it all got worked out eventually).
The rooms are designed for spacious comfort. There’s a sculptural bathtub in the middle of the bathroom area (you can close off the area with sliding doors). The shower room has both a handheld and an overhead rain shower. The bathroom counter has plenty of space to spread out your stuff (or get it out of the way on a shelf). The office area has a big desk and an ergonomic chair. There’s tons of closet space (but I could have used a few extra hangers). The three Club floors feature personalised business and concierge service.
Buffets and banquets are especially popular for feeding groups of almost any size in China, but the Crowne Plaza has one of the best ones I’ve experienced. There was a wide variety of dishes to appeal to a wide variety of tastes — Indian, Japanese, western, vegetarian and, of course, Sichuan, selections. The breakfast croissant and pain au chocolat were made with an expert hand. An English-speaking chef was at hand to adeptly answer questions about dietary restrictions.