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Reviewed April 26, 2016

When I was told that I would need to bring a 300 RMB cash deposit with me before I would be allowed to register, I was immediately concerned. I could not understand why the credit card which prepaid my reservation could not be pre-authorized for the damage deposit then refunded.

Once I reached the hotel, upon check-in, I was promptly greeted by a cordial, young, English speaking desk clerk. I gave him my passport, to begin the process of registration. He handed my passport to his Chinese speaking colleague then began to issue me a receipt for my 300 RMB deposit. His professional demeanour and command of the English language immediately assured me that my check-in experience would be straightforward. When a Chinese speaking clerk had difficulty in finding the expiry date of my passport, the English speaking man patiently pointed out exactly where on my passport he needed to look. I felt relaxed and no longer had any hesitation about my stay.

I asked where I could find a nearby McDonald’s and I was told that I would need to walk just 500 meters from the hotel. I was also told that the hotel offers a dinner buffet for just 128 RMB but with a complimentary breakfast buffet being served the next morning, I opted to walk to McDonald’s. There are many Western-style fast food restaurants, a bakery and two convenience stores located within a two minute walk of the hotel. As the front desk clerk handed me the key card to the room where I was to be lodged, I complimented him on his English. He was still smiling with pride when he walked me to the elevator. There is a no-tipping policy in China and his actions were not motivated by the opportunity to be handed a few extra bucks. The hotel lobby, though small, was clean and no ashtrays were on display. Nobody was smoking in the lobby.

The nineteenth floor guest room I was assigned was a small suite complete with an electric espresso machine with complimentary espresso, a sofa, a big screen TV with an English language channel, a fluffy king sized bed and a complete bath with two sinks, with separate toilet, bathtub and shower. For those of you who have read the majority of my previous reviews for Chinese lodging in the category which I can comfortably afford, you would have seen that I rate most places I stay at a more than generous one star.

I really wanted to give the SSAW Hotel Hefei five stars and continue the string of perfect ratings but there were problems with my stay. The need to leave a 300 RMB cash deposit, as I have stated, made me feel uncomfortable. Although I requested a non-smoking room, I was told upon check-in that there would be a slight smell of tobacco smoke in the room. It was explained to me that the vast majority of hotel guests smoke and that the hotel’s heating and ventilation system carries the odour through the vents so there cannot really be a totally non-smoking room. The tobacco smell was stronger than slight.

Pictograph instructions for using the espresso machine were difficult for me to follow. I had difficulty opening the machine to insert the coffee pod. Also, I simply had to guess at how much water to add to the machine. My coffee, however, once made, was delicious. Likewise, for the life of me, I had no idea as to how to set the alarm clock which was resting on a bedside table. The clock was set to twelve hours behind the actual time and I was unable to adjust it to set the alarm. I found out the hard way, coming back from supper to hear the clock blaring, that I had failed to properly set it. These are minor inconveniences in what was an overall good stay.

It is just that little things lowered my overall experience even though there were many positives. When I used the toilet, there was a half a roll of toilet paper on the toilet paper holder. This gave me the impression that I was using somebody else’s toilet. Of course, in a hotel, I am using somebody else’s toilet but this was my toilet for one night and with half a roll of toilet paper having been used by someone else, it made me feel that I was in a budget motel. Also, the refillable pumps of shampoo, conditioner and body lotion in the shower were half empty and filthy. The rest of the bathroom was very clean. I used shampoo to wash each bottle before I took my shower.

With an early train to catch the next morning, I asked at check in about how long it would take to get to the high speed train station by taxi. My stay was Saturday night over to Sunday and the hotel was quiet. I was twice disturbed in the night by a ringing doorbell and, even though I was around the corner and six doors down from the elevator, I could hear the elevator dinging each time it stopped on my floor. I was awake early and had ample hot water in which to ready myself for my day. I went to the breakfast buffet when it first opened at 6:30 and there were already other patrons having their breakfast. The buffet room, on the 25th and top floor of the hotel, overlooks downtown Hefei and provides a terrific backdrop for a meal. The service and food, however, left a great deal to be desired.

Nobody working in the breakfast room could speak English. When I arrived at the front desk, I was asked for my buffet ticket. I hadn’t been given a buffet ticket and I tried to explain. I then saw a Chinese couple come for breakfast and they were asked for their room number. I speak just enough Chinese to be able to have understood. I then gave my room number, showed my key card and was allowed to enter to have my breakfast.

As noted in previous reviews, the majority of food served catered to Chinese tastes but a large array of bread and pastries occupied a full table. The problem was that all were in various stages of defrosting. I picked up two slices of bread but both were wet at the bottom. I put them into the toaster, which I saw had been plugged in, but like the espresso machine and the alarm clock, I couldn’t figure out how to use it to toast my bread. I selected three thin slices of a coffee cake and wandered through the rest of the extensive buffet. I found a small dish of German style breakfast meats and cheese but the cheese selection was plastic wrapped processed cheese slices which had been cut in half.

I was, however, glad to find a coffee machine. Their juice selection was from powder but the coffee machine ground beans before dispensing a full cup of espresso. There were no directions as to which button to press and the two buttons I pressed just before my espresso was made resulted in nothing happening. Like the espresso I made for myself in my room the night before, it was delicious. I found enough to eat then went downstairs to the lobby to check out. Just like the night before when I came back from supper on my way upstairs, a staff member pushed the elevator button for me and said hello.

A pleasant, young English speaking clerk checked me out and helped me to call a taxi. No doorman was present upon my check in, my return from supper and my departure. The one flaw in my experience was that I had a difficult time in getting my point across that I needed a receipt for my hotel stay. In the end, I left without a receipt as I needed to get to a taxi and I will have my credit card statement to show the full amount paid for my stay, which, by Western standards, was very reasonable for this class of lodging.

The SSAW really does some things very well. Staff made me feel especially welcome and I saw a cotton candy machine on the breakfast buffet table. It wasn’t plugged in and is likely used only for the dinner buffet but I’m sure if I had asked, I would gladly have been accommodated. I received what I most want from budget hotels where I stay in China but rarely seem to get — a smile. I would return for future stays without hesitation and possibly even without a reservation as for a Saturday night, the hotel was not nearly as busy as I had expected. With continued positive reviews in this forum, I expect this will become a less frequent occurrence. Three stars.

Stayed: April 2016
Thank MingYangEnglish
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed November 20, 2015 via mobile

Centrally located. Nice rooms. Good service. Breakfast at the 25th floor. Mainly for Chinese taste, but can find bread, cereals and fruits.
The vicinity of the shopping road is for good and bad. Good for shopping and dining, but can hear noise from
The streets on the 28th floor. This is the only cons. Of this hotel.
I will be probably return to this Hotel.
The Hilton and Sheraton will probably stay #1 and 2 in luxury.
But the location for bussiness Traveler of the Ssaw is much much better.

Stayed: November 2015, travelled on business
Thank KeterVisitor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 15, 2015

This hotel is fairly new and beautiful. The rooms are lovely and very clean. For a little extra, there is a great breakfast buffet. The staff are very helpful, too. Enjoyed my stay here. The room rate seems moderate for this level hotel by US standards.
It's certainly in the midst of the action in Hefei. There is an upscale shopping mall next door, and there are smaller shops to visit within minutes.

  • Stayed: October 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank puzzleress
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 30, 2014

I stayed here several times now, it is in the most central location of Hefei, the rooms are ample enough in size, recently refurbished, and good for value. The rooms vary quite a bit, some are quite nice, while others might be slightly mediocre, but overall, probably the best business/luxury hotel in town.

Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
Thank yeeehawwww
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 29, 2017
Google Translation

  • Stayed: June 2017, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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