Trying to decide where to stay in Suzhou? With many neighbourhoods and districts, choosing the right spot isn’t always easy.
Instead of endless crowded streets and heavy traffic, the city offers canals, pagodas, and some of the largest gardens in the world.
Historically, Suzhou attracted creatives and aristocrats to the city due to its abundance of artworks and traditional ancient gardens. The beauty of Suzhou still attracts millions of visitors each year, making it a top choice for travelling to China.
Many first-time visitors choose to stay in the central area surrounded by some of the most famous gardens. You could also stay near Shangtang Street and the city’s nightlife scene or find a hotel close to some of the historic water towns.
Not sure where to look? Get your accommodations search started with this guide to the best places to stay in Suzhou.
Where to stay in Suzhou: A complete guide to the best neighbourhoods and areas for travellers
Canals and rivers divide central Suzhou into a checkerboard. In the middle, you’ll find Suzhou Old Town. It’s home to some of the main attractions, including the Humble Administrator’s Garden and a zoo.
Of course, the downtown area is also the busiest. The area south of the city centre offers access to lakes, fine dining, and shopping. The eastern part of central Suzhou includes some of the most recent modern developments such as Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP). To the west, you’ll come across various botanical gardens and museums.
Beyond the central urban districts, the city has many residential and industrial neighbourhoods. For the most part, tourists tend to visit the areas surrounding the city centre.
Some of the best areas to stay in Suzhou for travellers include:
- Suzhou Old Town
- Wu Zhong District
- Suzhou Industrial Park
- Wu Jiang District
Suzhou Old Town
✔ Best area to stay for historic sightseeing and culture
If you’re interested in visiting the main attractions that the city has to offer, you may want to stay in Suzhou Old Town. It’s the central downtown area of the city and contains several of the most important gardens, including the Humble Administrator’s Garden and the Master of the Nets Garden.
To add as many historic sites to your Suzhou itinerary as you can find a hotel in or near Suzhou Old Town. It’s the heart of the city and surrounded by the Waicheng River. Dozens of canals also cut across this area.
One of the most famous canal streets is Pingjiang Road. It’s just south of the Humble Administrator’s Garden and spans several kilometres.
The canal is flanked by old buildings housing restaurants, boutique shops, and various outdoor cafes. As you ride a boat down the canal, you’ll pass under at least a dozen stone bridges. You can also walk the street next to the canal and explore the various establishments that look out over the water.
This area also includes several pedestrian shopping streets, such as Guan Qian Shopping Street. You can find almost anything from local handicrafts to designer clothes at the various stalls and stores.
Recommended hotels in Suzhou Old Town
The Old Town area has many options for accommodations, including a couple of dozen mid-range hotels. Unlike many other major cities, the hotels in the Old Town area tend to be cheaper but they still run out of vacancies quickly.
- Hotel Soul Suzhou: Just a short walk from Guan Qian Street, this boutique-style hotel places you close to many of the city’s attractions. The hotel even offers a free shuttle service to take you to a few of the top sites including the Humble Administrator’s Garden.
- Garden Hotel Suzhou: The sprawling courtyard of this luxury hotel includes its own garden. You can easily walk to some of the nearby sites, including Shiquan Street and the Master of the Nets Garden. It’s one of the top-rated hotels in the city so book early.
- Pace Hotel Suzhou Renmin Beach: Despite incredibly low prices, this hotel offers comfortable accommodations and modern amenities. It’s a great choice for budget travellers and within the centre of Suzhou’s historic old town. The nearest attraction is Pan Gate but you can also walk to Shiquan Street or Master of the Nets Garden.
Wu Zhong District
✔ Top area to stay for foodies and families
Wu Zhong is a sprawling district covering most of the southern half of urban Suzhou and the site of Suzhou Industrial Park. It offers a mix of everything, including access to the historic gardens and canals along with modern shopping malls.
Staying in the Wu Zhong district ensures that you’re still within a short taxi ride of the top attractions in Suzhou and some of the best restaurants. Foodies should love staying in this area and exploring the various markets and local eateries.
Thanks to the wide variety of attractions, hotels, and establishments, you’ll also find family-friendly areas to stay. Overall, Wu Zhong is one of the more diverse districts due to its large size.
While you can easily reach the nearby historic sites, you can also spend time at the Suzhou Shangfangshan National Forest Park or Shangshantang Scenic Area. These green spaces offer fresh air, scenic views, and a getaway from the crowded streets.
Wu Zhong also has several large lakes including Shihu Lake and Yinshan Lake. These lakes connect to the canals that run through the downtown area and provide numerous water activities. You can spend your day out on the water and then check out the waterfront bars and restaurants in the evening.
Recommend hotels in Wu Zhong District
As the Wu Zhong district covers a lot of the central part of the city, it includes some of the best hotels in Suzhou. Many of these options are a short ride from the old town area and Suzhou Industrial Park.
- Novotel Suzhou SIP: Located on the eastern side of Jinji Lake, this hotel is also within the SIP area. It’s a newly built hotel with sleek, stylish rooms and convenient access to the lake. The 307 guest rooms also offer a variety of options to suit any budget, from deluxe king suites to twin rooms.
- Ascott Midtown Suzhou: Choose from queen guest rooms or executive apartments. This hotel is a luxurious choice with reasonable rates and spacious rooms. It also has its own rooftop bar with panoramic views of the city.
- Citadines Xinghai Suzhou: This hotel is a little further from some of the attractions but also near some of the top-rated restaurants in the city. The surrounding block also contains numerous shops. Luckily, the hotel is off the main streets so you don’t need to deal with traffic noise.
Suzhou Industrial Park
✔ Top-rated area to stay for luxury travellers and shopping
Located within the Wu Zhong District, Suzhou Industrial Park covers an area of 288 square kilometres. This area includes the popular Jinji Lake and Dushu Lake. Around the shores of the lakes, you’ll find many shopping and entertainment amenities including many luxury stores and malls.
If you want to enjoy the fresh air and a walk around a park, you can travel to the eastern or southern shore of Jinji Lake.
China developed Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) as a joint project with the Singaporean government. Work on SIP began in the 1990s and it’s now one of the most modern parts of the city.
As part of the modern developments, SIP has several fun attractions including the Suzhou Ferris Wheel. The Ferris wheel is 120 metres tall and located on the east bank of Jinji Lake. It has a capacity of 300 passengers and offers a 20-minute ride with sweeping views of the lake and the surrounding urban area.
The Gate to the East stands in the centre of SIP, located on the banks of Jinji Lake. It stands over 301 metres tall and is currently the tallest building in Suzhou.
Recommended hotels in Suzhou Industrial Park
Many of the hotels in SIP were built around Jinji Lake and provide views of the lake or city from the hotel rooms. While the hotels in the area tend to cost a little more, they’re among the most luxurious options in the city.
- Crowne Plaza Suzhou: Located near the northern shore of Jinji Lake, this is one of the most luxurious hotels in the city. It offers stylish rooms and five dining options. It’s also just a 10-minute drive from the downtown area.
- Oakwood Hotel & Residence Suzhou: This mid-range hotel is on the eastern shore of Dushu Lake. It’s a short walk from the subway station and near a few popular hiking trails. If you don’t feel tempted to leave the hotel, you can test the cuisine at the on-site restaurant.
- Mercure Suzhou Jinji Lake: You’ll find this four-star hotel a few blocks from the western shore of Jinji Lake. The rooms are spacious and feature floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the urban skyline. As with most of these hotels, it has its own restaurant along with a lobby bar.
Wu Jiang District
✔ Best neighbourhood to stay for relaxation and budget travellers
Wu Jiang District isn’t the most popular area for tourists, giving you a chance to relax after a long day of sightseeing. This district covers the area just south of the Wu Zhong district and Suzhou Old Town.
While this area doesn’t have a lot of attractions, you can still reach other parts of the city via taxi or bus rides. The closest attraction is Tianyi Hot Springs, located about 12 kilometres from the top hotels in this district.
Getting away from the tourist traps does offer a few benefits. Besides less-crowded streets, you’ll also have the chance to immerse yourself in the local culture. With fewer tourists in the district, you can experience local life.
In the morning, visit Wujiang Park. Locals love to walk or cycle the paths through the park. During the day, you can explore some of the residential districts and communities, trying local cuisine and mingling with the residents.
This district also borders Shanghai. If you run out of things to see and do in Suzhou, you can take a day trip to the bustling city next door.
Recommended hotels in Wu Jiang District
A few of the hotels are near the southern border of the district, placing you even further away from the main attractions of the city. Luckily, several of the best hotels in the area are near the border with Wu Zhong.
- Yue Jv Tong Li: This hotel has its own garden if you don’t want to travel to the downtown gardens. Every room also has its own seating area and views of the lake. Other highlights include an on-site restaurant and barbecue facilities.
- Le Meridien Suzhou, Suzhou Bay: The spacious rooms of this mid-range hotel feature design elements inspired by the city’s classical gardens. All rooms have views of the mountains. You can also relax in the spa centre or let your children play in the heated pool.
- Renaissance Suzhou Wujiang Hotel: Unwind in a hot tub or sauna or enjoy the view from the upper floors of this luxurious hotel. The rooms offer views of either the city or the lake, depending on the side of the hotel. It’s also near some of the best restaurants in the city.