Very reasonably priced for a Western brand five-star – though prices soar over the Ice Festival – the Harbin Shangri-La boasts riverside views, sauna, gym, spa and indoor pool. As isn’t uncommon when you go off the track in China, the standards are closer to a Chinese luxury hotel than a Western luxury hotel – although staff speak English well (and some Russian too).
The location is fairly central, but you’ll likely want to take a taxi to get to most places – especially in winter. Styling is on the traditional side, and rooms aren’t gigantic, but the food is good. During the Ice Festival, the Shangri-La Harbin builds its very own ice restaurant and ice bar, where guests can dine on Sichuan-style hot pot in igloos.