Unwinding in the workshop of the world

My partner and I have a stopover in Guangzhou at the end of next month, arriving at 5pm and departing at 11pm the following day. Do you have recommendations of where to stay (preferably close to the airport) and things to see and do?

- S. Cummins, Dulwich Hill.

The airport is almost 30 kilometres from the city centre, in the satellite city of Hua Du, which has very little to offer visitors. If you want to explore beyond the confines of your hotel, you would be better off heading in to the city and staying at a hotel there.

This is fairly painless thanks to an efficient transport system. The pick of these hotels are the Shangri-La (shangri-la.com), the Westin (starwoodhotels.com) and the Ritz-Carlton (ritzcarlton.com). These are large, international-style hotels that cater to the corporate business world but they do have great leisure facilities. Guangzhou (pictured) is the workshop of the world, a major component of the industrial engine driving China's growth. Its rationale is business rather than pleasure but you will find quality shopping, flourishing nightlife and a lively dining scene.

The city's top attractions include the Bright Filial Piety Temple, the bustling Qingping Market, the Ming Dynasty Dapeng Fort and the Guangdong Museum of Art. For shopping, head for Shangxiajiu, a pedestrian mall with enough temptations to toast your credit card.