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Modern Hotel
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21 - 26 of 162 reviews
Reviewed 3 February 2011

We stayed at the Modern Hotel the last week of December while in town to catch the lead up to the ice festival. We've lived in China for six years and had a great time in Harbin, but not at the Modern Hotel.

First, the only good thing that I can say about the hotel is that the location is superb. It is directly on Central Street, smack in the middle of it. This is the place to be. A couple blocks from Zhaolin Ice Park, the Songhua River and in the other direction, the St. Sophia cathedral. We were travelling with kids age 7,7 and 9 so this made walking to all the sights workable, even in -27 freezing cold.

The Chinese call Modern Hotel Madeir Er and we encountered some confusion when telling people Modern Hotel.

The hotel is old and sprawling, but it has lots of character. The bar at the main entrance doubles as a museum and has an interesting display of 1900's fixtures and items from the hotel, along with lots of framed and Englis- captioned photos from the same period, mostly featuring Russian noteables who stayed at the hotel. It makes for an interesting walk to your room.

This hotel was expensive by Chinese standards. We paid $130 for small suite of about 38 sq.m.. consisting of a queen bed and small tv room. By contrast, after leaving Harbin, we went to the Crown Plaza Wangfujin in Beijing and it was only $90 for a perfect room with amazing bathroom all totaling35 sq/mand including breakfast.

The Modern Hotel room we stayed in was #202, a business room that really looked like it had been built in 1908 when the hotel was founded. The bathroom door and floor weren't fitted quite right so when you opened it the door would get stuck or wedged on the floor when about half way open.

The windows were taped shut with common shipping tape to try and keep out the cold. The bathroom had a couple of tiles that had been smashed in and patched over instead of replacing the tiles. Also the carpet smelled very moldy and was silver or grey on the edges, but towards the middle was leaning more towards black.

When we initially arrived we were put in a different wing with non-suite rooms. After showing the desk staff the virtual tour on Elong that clearly showed a suite with a separate tv room, we were moved.

In addition to the condition of the hotel, the staff was far less helpful than we have found in other cities. For example, when we went to ask for help to get two taxis the next morning, the desk told us taxis didn't like coming to the hotel and we would have to pay double for the taxis. This was not encouraging and it wasn't possible to tell if the hotel staff and the taxi had an arrangement or if they were simply being honest. Nor did the hotel offer us a transfer option in their own vehicle.

There is a travel agency in the hotel and they also were unhelpful. When I approached them about helping us buy train tickets, they said they no longer did that, go to the train station yourself. I asked them why, why can't you help, and they said "No why, no tickets! You go buy yourself."

Breakfast was something of a culinary nightmare. There were fried noodles each day, and these were sitting in a pool of oil, such that unless you drained the noodles thoroughly before you put them on the plate, you had a large puddle of oil on the plate. There were other warm dishes too, like stir fried cauliflower, also stewing in an inch of oil. Additionally, the staff didn't light candles on the warming trays, so if you came to breakfast after it opened, things were getting cold. But I must say that their instant coffee machine did crank out excellent cups of Nescafe that were something of the highlight of breakfast.

All in all, this felt very much like a state-owned hotel that really did not care about helping their guests. We have stayed at many places, not just in Beijing or Shangai, but for example, the Garden Hotel in Datong, where the service and facility were superb. The Modern Hotel, however, was neither for us.

As we are long time residents of Guangzhou and love living here, it is sad to write a less than satisfactory review. Despite this we had a great time in Harbin. The city has much to offer and you can easily fill your days within a three or four block radius on Central Street and a cable car ride or trek across this river.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled with family
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5  Thank rbauerguangzhou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2011

The hotel is getting a little dated. What was once the best hotel in Harbin is starting to look a little tired. The room was a little small, the heating was very hot, the breakfast was ok and the staff were very helpful. The hotel is situated in the middle of the walking street, a good position.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank bigphil1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 February 2010

This hotel we will choose again. It was a quit clean hotel with electrical outlet in bathroom and friendly english speaking personal and for us importent: a very good breakfast buffet. Beds are a little bit hard.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled with family
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1  Thank visitortj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 October 2009

We stayed here for 4 nights during the 60th National Day celebrations - double room with breakfast 350 yuan per night. The room was spacious and clean with free internet access. The bathroom was fine with lots of hot water 24 hours. The staff were polite, helpful and attentive - almost all spoke pretty good English. When we had trouble with the internet access because our firewall was too strong they sent their IT man up to sort it out. The position is perfect. We honestly couldn't fault it for the price. OK, there's not much western food on the breakfast buffet but this is a Chinese Hotel in China. There aren't many (any?) top hotels in London that serve Chinese breakfasts - why expect a western breakfast in a mid-range hotel in a smallish Chinese City !

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank coffeemate2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 August 2009

Before going we read the other reviews and since some of them where not too bad we still thought we should try. Bad idea! First we got a room just next to the big red blinking sign next to our window and a strong spot light directly pointing into to window from the unusable dirty balcony. The room also had two single beds instead of one big one and it smelled of smoke or whatever. So we asked for a nother room. That one was smaller, but had better closing windows, did not smell and had a big bed. But as we soon found out it was wet - or lets say humid: The walls, the bed sheets - just anything that could soak up water had done so. And the next room we got offered did not seem to be more dry and smelled of paint in addition. So we gave up. But sleeping in damp bedsheets is really something you dont want, whatever charme the building might have and however centrally located it might be. It really wasn´t THAT charming.
And just for the records: the bathrooms tiles where cracked, the bathroom lights very very dark, no slippers provided, the mini bar contained two cans of pop and two bottles of water and during the night we had to turn it of because the fridge was so laud we could not sleep (which was hard anyway due to the damp sheets), I nearly cut my toe on a rusty nail sticking out through the carpet, the funiture was shabby, the hair dryer broken, the free breakfast is not good. And you had to ask for breakfast coupons every day for the next day - you did not get them all in advance. It really seems to be run by a state owned company rather than a private one since it still had this socialist feeling to it where nobody really cared. So unless you love to sleep in clammy beds - don´t go there.

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank haasech
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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