For our first three adoption trips, we stayed, no questions asked, at the White Swan. That was where everyone else in our group was staying and that was where we figured we would stay. I did consider staying at The Victory for my second and third adoption trip, but wasn’t confident enough to commit, at that time almost everyone stayed at the White Swan.
But when we traveled for Shepherd, lack of funds and desire for extra space helped us make the decision to stay at The Victory. Since Shepherd is from Guangdong, I knew we’d be staying on the island for at least 12 nights. And 12 nights in a tiny hotel room is quite a few too many. We decided that the almost $400 we’d save on our hotel bill was worth taking a chance on something new. On that trip we stayed in the newer Victory, the one on the main strip, down almost to the Cow and Bridge. On this trip, we are staying in the older Victory, down to the Cow and Bridge, turn right and down a block or so, on the right. Since I have now stayed in all three hotels, I feel, at long last, qualified to give my opinion on each.
Price and value:
1. The older Victory ‘business suite’ is by far the best value. The suites are either ‘Chinese’ style or ‘Japanese’ style. We are stying in a Chinese style, which is about (this will depend a bit on the price your agency can get) $100/night, and this includes 2 breakfasts, and I believe 1 child is free. The suite consists of 2 regular sized rooms, one bedroom and one ‘living’ area, and a bathroom. This is incredibly nice when the little one is sleeping, because you can close the bedroom off from the living area and not have to whisper and tiptoe all during naptime. Both rooms have a TV. Also, there is a computer in the room and internet is free.
2. The newer Victory ‘business suite’ is next in value. The room consist of one large bedroom, with an additional sitting area off one end of the room. The sitting area is approximately 1/2 the size of a normal room, but it allows space for luggage and anything else you’d don’t have room for in your room. The main room does not close off from the sitting area and the TV is in the bedroom area. The business suite is approximately $100/night which includes 2 breakfasts. There is a computer in the room and internet is free.
3. The White Swan is the most expensive at about $135/night, which includes 2 breakfasts. This is for a regular room, which is quite a bit smaller than one might expect. Beyond the bed and a small area on the side where the mini-bar is set up, there is no extra room. A few, but not most, of the rooms have a computer in the room. You are charged for the internet, but can pay by the week for a discounted rate. Suites are available, but for more than double the normal room rate. When we came for Isabelle we brought Tori and one room just wasn’t big enough for the 4 of us. We splurged on adjoining rooms… how I wish we’d known about the Victory.
1. The White Swan. Groups usually meet at the White Swan to leave for outings and the consulate appointment. The ‘red couch’ is at the White Swan as well.
2. The new Victory is next, it is on the main strip, near many of the shops.
3. The older Victory is the furthest from most shopping and restaurants. But not by much. In fact, in weather like we are having now, it’s downright pleasant to walk around and I have been very content to walk the extra few blocks to this location. Because the grocery next to the newer Victory has now closed, this location is convenient because it is right across the street from a 7-11, which is nice when you or baby gets the munchies.
1. The White Swan. The buffet is huge and their french toast is famous in the adoption community. Pretty much everything you’ve ever wanted to eat in a buffet for breakfast. And then throw in some pizza.
2. The older Victory. A very large buffet, which offers as much, if not more than a typical Chinese buffet in the provincial city. They have an egg chef as well as an assortment of breads, fruits and salads. Congee and yogurt are always available for the babies.
3. The newer Victory. Similar to the older Victory, but smaller scale. If you stay at the Victory, you can eat at either location. When Chris and I were here in June, we chose to walk over to the older Victory for breakfast on a few occasions, it was nice to have that option.
1. The older Victory wins this one. In each bathroom, there is a separate spigot for drinking water. Incredibly nice to not have to boil water just to brush your teeth or wash out a baby bottle. Also, each mini-bar has readily available filtered boiling and room temperature water, sort of like a tiny water cooler. Really nice for making bottles and making coffee when you are bleary eyed at 4:30AM.
2. The newer Victory has the drinking water spigot in the bathroom. But no boiling water on the mini bar.
3. The White Swan has a hot pot. The White Swan does offer the ‘Going Home Barbie’ for adoptive families that stay there.
1. The White Swan offers to exchange money at the current bank rate.
2 and 3. Both Victories offer to exchange money for slightly less than the current bank rate. For example, we exchanged money for 6.5 instead of the current 6.77. You can go to the Bank of China on the main strip to exchange at the current rate. You must have a room at the White Swan to exchange money there. If you do go to the Bank of China, you expect to wait.
1 and 2. The Victory, both locations. The beds are quite a bit softer, in my opinion. The bedding is white cotton down comfortors, which I prefer by far to the poly blend, dated bed spreads at the White Swan. But that’s just me.
3. The White Swan. Because I don’t like southwestern-style poly blend and hard beds.
Overall, I have preferred staying in the older Victory. Which really surprises me because typically my favorite things are new. And expensive. But for the money, the Victory just offers so much more. Space being a priority for most of us, as well as price. While the White Swan is a 5 star and the Victory a 4 star (I think), the Victory is as nice or nicer (certainly LARGER) than any provincial hotel I’ve stayed at. I was, honestly, a bit disappinted in the White Swan. The lobby is so lovely, ornately decorated and elaborate. But the rooms are small and dated. And while the lobby of the Victory may be smaller and the buffet not as grand, the rooms are much larger, the decor more modern, if simpler, and the beds and bedding much more comfortable.