The Westin Ningbo known as 宁波威斯汀酒店 (Níngbō Wēisītīng Jiǔdiàn) is an international five-star hotel located in the city center next to Tianyi Square. The hotel is part of Yinyi Global Center in Rixin street almost opposite Tesco shopping mall.
With its impressive 40 stories building, The Westin hotel can be seen from far away, offering 312 guest rooms and suites from the 7th to the 40th floor.
For dining, the hotel features an all-day-dining buffet restaurant (Seasonal Tastes – 2nd floor) which is also the place for breakfast and a Chinese restaurant (Zen5es) with a large dining room on the 3rd floor and also 23 private rooms on the fourth floor. Zen5es offers Cantonese, Huaiyang and local cuisines.
For meetings, the complex has an overall events space of 1365m2 (14692ft2), including a 620m2 (6673ft2) ballroom, suitable for conferences, that can also accommodate 350 people for banquets.
Concerning facilities, the Westin Ningbo offers a 25m long heated indoor swimming pool with sundeck, a fitness-gym room, a SPA and a business center.
Tianyi Square and its international shopping center just opposite the hotel make shopping very convenient and without even the need to take a taxi or a bus. Lao Waitan (The old bund) well known among expats for its restaurants, tea shops and late-night bars is only about 10 minutes walk.
HISTORY AND KEY FACTS – 历史沿革及大事记
The Westin story started in 1930 when two hotel owners (Severt W. Thurston and Frank Duparwas) met at the same diner in Yakima, Washington. They struck up a conversation, formed an alliance and Western Hotels was born.
After more than two decades of rapid growth, prompting a name change in 1954 to Western International Hotels, many of its properties were merged into a single corporate structure in 1958, and the company went public in 1963. In 1980, the company commemorated its 50th birthday by changing its name again to Westin Hotels and then four years later to Westin Hotels & Resorts.
By the late 1980s, however, Westin’s capability to expand or even to plan for the future was in doubt. In 1988, Aoki Corp.–a diversified international corporation with major lines of business in engineering, construction, and hotels purchased Westin for $1.53 billion. The acquisition proved mutually beneficial; Aoki Corp. constructed the hotels, and Westin assumed the management of the new buildings. Three years after the acquisition, Westin became the operating company for all the hotels owned by Aoki Corp.
In 1994 Aoki sold it to Starwood Capital, real estate investment firm and parent of Starwood Lodging, and Goldman Sachs, an investment bank. In 1998 Starwood assumed full ownership of the company. In September 1997 Starwood Lodging Trust announced that it would buy Westin from the group (including Starwood Capital) that bought it in 1994.
Today there are more than 186 Westin hotels and resorts in over 36 countries and territories. Westin is owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, a world leading hotel company with 1,090 properties in 100 countries/territories and 154,000 employees at its owned and managed properties.
In 2012, Starwood will open nearly 60% of its new hotels in Asia Pacific. At the same time, Westin will add six new hotels in China, resulting in a portfolio of 19 properties in this key market by year’s end, extending the brand’s reach in second and third tier cities. The new Westin hotels will open in fast-growing cities across China including Xiamen, Changbaishan, Taiyuan, Qingdao and Xian. These openings will be followed by four more Westin hotels in China by the end of 2013.
♦ For even more details about the company, check Westin Hotels and Resorts
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The Westin Ningbo review
On the 1st of January 2012, The Westin Ningbo opened its door. Owned by Starwood Hotels Group, The Westin hotels are well known throughout the world but what is their main specificity? Is this just another five star hotel in town? The best way to find out was of course to stay there and this is what we did.
Located in Rixin road, next to central Tianyi Square and just opposite the Tesco shopping mall, the 40 stories tower hotel with its huge illuminated logo on top cannot be missed. When entering the lobby, stylish young hostesses wearing blue traditional Chinese dress (Qípáo-旗袍) welcomed us by offering a small wet towel to refresh hands/face and a glass of lemon-water. This gives a ray of sunshine after a hard day’s work!
Front desk checking was done very efficiently with an employee speaking fluent English. I first checked-in on my own but as soon as I said my wife might join me, the young man had already prepared a second room card. It is really great when staff anticipates your needs and that shows Westin members have followed a great training program.
One of the elegant hostesses led me to the elevators. There are 5 elevators, all requiring access cards for guests to reach their rooms/suites (above 6th floor). This step reinforces security. In the corridors, decoration is rather minimalist, nothing fancy but that probably suits better the hotel’s style. What is unusual is that doors are aligned with the walls and you can hardly see them at first sight…
I had booked an Executive room (35th floor) and quite frankly the room was rather small but it offered all the amenities a foreign traveler would need. A Sony 40″ LED TV with 11 foreign channels, a DVD player, wired or Wi-Fi internet, iPhone/iPod docking station, iron and iron board, safe, etc… The bathroom also had everything needed with a bathtub and a rain forest walking shower as well as a nice set of Borghese toiletries. A tiny washbowl and no LCD screen were the two points we liked less.
I noticed a convenient service called “Service Express” allowing guests to ask for help just by pressing one button on their phone. Whatever the problem is, a hostess takes the call in charge and dispatches the issue to the concerned service. As I messed up with all the buttons of my TV remote control and got a black snowy screen, I decided to call the service. Within minutes I got someone ringing at my door who rapidly reset the whole system and got my channels back. I later got a confirmation call, asking me if the problem was solved and if I was fully satisfied (which was the case). Nice!
When you book an Executive room, you have several advantages including access to the Executive lounge. Located on the 39th floor, Peak39 offers all day drinks as well as snacks during lunch and dinner time. Executive residents have also free access to the 2 desktop computers and printer as well as the mini conference room. Peak39 has a great panoramic view on Ningbo city.
The Westin has good facilities with a 25 meters long swimming pool and a fitness center. There is also a tiny pool for small kids and a large outdoor terrace/sundeck for people to relax. I spotted that the communal changing area also offers a separate cabin which is very rare. I guess some foreign travelers with different customs will deeply appreciate this convenience. Yes these are details but they could mean a lot for some customers and this is what we are waiting for a 5 star hotel to offer. Several staff members I talked to in the swimming/fitness area were also handling a perfect conversation in English which is not so common. Congratulations!
Concerning food and drinks, The Westin Ningbo has several restaurants and a nicely decorated lobby lounge. Although the breakfast was alright, I did find the menu a bit too “local” compare to all the rest of the hotel. Moreover the staff there was not very friendly or even active which contrasted a lot compare to other areas. Although I had no plans, my lack of enthusiasm on this part pushed me having dinner elsewhere. As the Japanese restaurant was not open yet and one part of the dining room was closed for 3 days (decoration) I will definitely have to revisit this part the next time I stay there.
In conclusion and despite a breakfast we think could be improved, we had a very pleasant stay. Staff is very well trained and I can bet many members must have majored in English. For any foreigners fearing language problems and wishing to find a hotel where they are sure to be understood, don’t look elsewhere.
But this is not all! With an ideal central location (Tianyi Square), very well equipped rooms, great facilities and a high class service, this hotel has many attractive assets for foreigners planning to stay in Ningbo, especially business travelers. The Westin Ningbo fully deserves its 5 star rating and we highly recommend it! (Editorial Team – 2012 May)
|SERVICE (Front desk, Staff) / 服务（前台，客房服务）
|ROOMS (Decor, Equipment) / 客房/套房（装潢，设备）
|BATHROOMS (Equip., Amenities) / 浴室（设备，设施）
|CLEANLINESS (Lobby, Rooms) / 清洁（大堂，客房）
|LOCATION (Surroundings) / 地点（环境）
|PRICES (Value) / 价格（价值）
|GENERAL IMPRESSION / 总体印象 (我们的意见)
威斯汀的核心地理位置（天一广场），高档的客房，完善的配套和高品质的服务等等，都将大大吸引那些外国客人，尤其是商务客人的到来。威斯汀无愧于其国际五星的称号，我们大力推荐！ （编辑团队 – 2012年5月）