Gran Meliá Xian is one of the top hotels in Xi’an, and also one of the newest. We had never experienced a property by this large Spanish hotel group before, and were excited for the opportunity to review it after having read the purely complimentary reviews on Tripadvisor.
We were not disappointed – read on to see why this is a fantastic hotel for families and business travellers alike.
Photo credit: Gran Meliá
We were met at the airport by a courteous driver, the trip to the airport takes about 30 minutes without any traffic. The check-in was a breeze. The hotel lobby is impressively airy and a balanced mix of Spanish and Chinese influence. The kids were in awe of the grand piano surrounded by a “smoking pond” – a feature that had them mesmerised throughout our stay.
Rooms at Gran Meliá Xian
We stayed at an interconnecting family room with a spacious living room dividing the two already big bedrooms – it was bigger than the downstairs of our home! The kids had a field day in their room: toys and games from Ikea (a train set, board games, cones, little table and chairs, kiddie darts game), bath toys, and bed sheets with cartoon characters.
On the adult side we had plush velvet, an extremely comfortable bed and a spacious bathroom with rain shower and a bath tub with a tv. Wireless internet worked well. The hotel is huge so there is a lot of walking to and from the rooms. China is not part of the global no smoking culture, so whiffs of smoke hit you along the way, but our room was totally odourless. There is also a spa and an indoor pool, but we never made it there with any time in between sightseeing spent between the nearby park and the happy hour at the lounge…
We sampled different options during our stay. We had access to the Red Level Lounge, so we tried out breakfast and early evening snacks – both were excellent. Special mention to churros and freshly pressed vegetable juices. Service everywhere was excellent, and the Red Level staff went the extra mile in answering questions and giving recommendations on what to do in Xi’an. The breakfast spread in the downstairs restaurant is fantastic, so head there if you want more choice.
We also tested out the buffet at the Mercado restaurant. There was a wide selection with lots of seafood, local delicacies and a particularly yummy BBQ section. The Spanish specialties were a nice addition to the usual hotel buffet spread.
The kids appreciated the candy buffet and chocolate fountains. There is a small play area next to the desert section, perfect for those traveling with toddlers to buy extra time at dinner.
On the last night we rewarded the kids for their efforts in trying out the local dishes and headed to Gran Meliá’s Spanish restaurant, Duo. It was quite a bit fancier than we had assumed, but the portions were a good size and absolutely delicious. We ate most things from the tapas menu and although the bill came to RM400 (with two glasses of wine) we felt it was not extortionate considering the quality of the food.
Located in the new district of Qu Jiang, the Gran Meliá is about 20 minutes drive to the old city wall and the Muslim quarter. We didn’t mind since we had planned day trips out for most days, and it was easy to get out of the city from the hotel. We were pleasantly surprised that one of the best parks in the city is just outside the hotel! There is a great playground and the Qujiang park is just minutes walk away. The monorail that has a stop in the park was not running (nobody knew why) but we did rent four-wheeled bicycles and toured the park.
The hotel is adjacent to an apparently new commercial area booming with restaurants and cafés. Tang Paradise theme park is just around the corner but we didn’t try it out after reading some bad reviews online. In the evenings there are kids’ rides on the square outside, and we even spotted an indoor trampoline park in one of the buildings!
As seen from this letter that my 6-year-old wanted to hand over to the reception staff at the hotel, the kids – and us – were super impressed by this hotel. (And no, I didn’t ask her to do it, she is currently in the “letter writing stage”, if there is such a thing).
The little extras made it special for them, while the adults appreciated the excellent customer service and fluent English spoken by most staff. We would recommend this hotel for families – it is obviously very luxurious but still extremely family friendly, making it a welcome oasis from all the exotic sights in Xian. The fact that you can just take the kids out for a stroll or play in the park is another huge plus in our books!
A quick check on Booking.com got me the lowest price for a double room for early June of under RM500 – a great value for a true 5 star property. The high end hotels seem to be quite a lot cheaper in China than in many other countries.
We were hosted by Gran Meliá Xian in exchange for a review. The opinions are honest and our own, this is a fabulous hotel!