Datong has been bitten by the tourist bug and is pulling all stops out to shake off its gritty coal mining legacy and rebuild (literally) its historical heritage. Unfortunately, the accommodation scene is yet to catch up. There is not a wide choice above the bottom of the spectrum and whilst the Grand Palace has evident pretensions the outcome falls short of expectations. It’s not an altogether poor place to stay but neither is it very good so that marks it out as average. But only average for where it is, elsewhere it would be poor.
The good: our suite was spacious, reasonably clean and adequately comfortable. The king bed was firm but otherwise comfortable. The sheets were crisp and clean and there were enough pillows for each of us to find a favourite. All the expected amenities were there and some of them worked as expected. Read on for those that didn’t. The bathroom was well supplied with toiletries and the water supply was hot, strong and reliable. There were plenty of well-located power outlets around the suite to service our needs. The included wifi worked fine on all of our devices. The included breakfast served in a wedding-banquet style hall that almost requires a map and compass to find (otherwise follow the bus tours groups) is a good quality buffet of Chinese-only choices. Cutlery is limited to chopsticks & spoons which means that the soft poached eggs can be challenging to eat with any dignity.
The bad: there is precisely no English at reception or elsewhere among the staff. For a suite the bathroom was miniscule and would be very small even in a standard hotel room - and the shower cubicle followed suit. Same shower cubicle had water leaks before either of us had taken a shower and they just got worse after we had. The rest of the bathroom was the worse for wear and took its design cues from the remainder of the suite. The style of the guest room corridors is dark and sombre and that theme is carried into the guest rooms. The room décor and furnishings hail from some unloved era in the last century and the carpets and soft furnishings were marred by stains and damage. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine any part of the guest rooms surviving any sort of makeover. The sound of water rushing through pipes thrummed through the walls of the entire suite during our stay. The refrigerator is locked and if you want a key then you need to pay an extra deposit to cover the cost of all the minibar contents which – along with the rest of the room/suite – will be diligently audited on checkout before custody of your deposit is released. The door of the refrigerator cabinet appeared to be dangling precariously from one hinge but on investigation this proved to be an ad hoc remedy to prevent the machine cooking in its own self-created sauna.
The ugly: other Tripadvisor contributors have complained about the heat in their rooms. Well the outside temperature during our October stay was hovering between 0 to 5 degrees C whilst the room temperature was 26 degrees C and nothing we could do to the AC would reduce it. In the end we turned the AC off and opened the window to render the suite habitable. Even then the room temperature never subsided to a comfortable level. The in-room safe is of the portable variety which means you can take out it with you – as can anybody else.
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with TripOnline SA, Agoda and Ctrip TA so you can book your Datong Great Palace Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.