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Old Nov 11, 11, 6:12 pm
  #2  
DavidO
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Berkeley, CA
Programs: Virtuoso, FSPP, STARS, MO FAN Club, PEN Club, Bellini Club, Dorchester Diamond Club, Travel Leaders
Posts: 1,643
Part Two — Shanghai

Shanghai is an attractive city (if you can overlook the smog) with two major sections. Most leisure travelers will be visiting the parts of Shanghai on the west side of the river — the Bund and the French Concession. The "New Shanghai" is a new development of high rise towers on the east side of the River. Pudong is primarily a business destination, although there is great shopping here as well. Where you stay in Shanghai will depend largely on whether you are visiting for business or leisure - and what your interests are.


Bund and French Concession options

Peninsula Shanghai

This new hotel — which opened in October, 2009 — is the new flagship of the Peninsula hotel chain. In short, the Peninsula is an amazing luxury property. Situated at the northern end of the Bund, it is built in an art deco style, and walking through public areas, hallways, and guest rooms, one is impressed with the attention to detail as well as the beautifully selected materials — dark marble, carpeting, doors, wooden moulding, even the elevator doors. It is elegant without being flashy, and the interior design is aesthetic perfection.

Every room except one corner suite was occupied at the time of our site inspection, but that suite completely wowed me. The interior design was stunning, with a definite feminine touch, and the bathrooms offered two sinks, each with its own vanity, a soaking tub, separate WC, and step-in rain shower. As an example of the attention to detail, even a nail polish dryer is provided in the bathroom. We were told that all the bathrooms in the property were similar to the bathroom in the suite.

If you are a leisure traveler in Shanghai looking for the very finest luxury hotel in town, and you prefer traditional to contemporary styling, there is no second choice. You will be happy with the Peninsula.


PuLi

A new luxury option for leisure travelers is the PuLi. Located in the French Concession, I was immediately struck by the simple serenity of the lobby and its very elegant, Zen-like design. This is a smaller hotel with just 229 rooms. PuLi advertises itself as an "urban retreat," and this is a good description of what to expect here. The hotel is adjacent to an open green space, and I found its setting next to a park very appealing.

We were shown three rooms. The lead-in Grand Room is 48 sqm with an open design. In the room we were shown, the bedroom area was to the left side of the room, and the bathroom area was on the right side. Sliding screens could be used to provide a visual screen between the two areas. Bathrooms had two sinks with a small ledge above each sink (but no vanity). There is a step-in shower, as well as a soaking tub with a view out the windows. Definitely request a room overlooking the park side of the hotel.

The Junior Suite is quite large but not worth the upgrade. While the room is a large 82 sqm, located on the four corners of the building, it comes with a very cramped Bathroom with only 1 sink. I would advise against accepting an upgrade unless you are a single traveler; a couple would not be happy in this room.

The One BR Suite is huge and impressive 85 square meters with 1.5 baths.


Waldorf Astoria

The Waldorf Astoria hosted a cocktail reception for us and provided a site inspection. This hotel is not a member of Virtuoso, although they have applied. While some of the members of our group were wowed by the hotel, I was not so impressed.

With a prime location at the south end of the Bund, you will be well-situated for a stay in Shanghai. Lead-in rooms are long and narrow (only about 12 feet wide). Very nice bathrooms, but I felt the styling throughout the hotel's guest rooms and public areas was overdone - trying to hard to impress with lavish features (for instance, each room has a crystal chandelier, and there are extensive chandeliers in the public areas).

We also saw a suite in the older heritage section of the hotel - lavishly decorated, but the rooms felt crowded to me.



Pudong options

Ritz-Carlton Pudong

My clear choice in Pudong is the new Ritz-Carlton Pudong. My site inspection of the hotel took place immediately after checking into my room at the Park Hyatt but before getting much of a chance to explore my room (see that review immediately below). The comparison was striking. The RC has significantly larger rooms, more natural light in the room, and was designed with a brighter color palette of tans, golds, and reds.

RC Pudong has the same owner and designer as the RC Hong Kong. The bathrooms feature the deepest bathtubs I have ever seen; the hotel features its own exclusively designed soaking tubs in which guests can sit with full back support, submerged, looking out at the view. Bathrooms have dual vanities and rain showers.

For a real WOW, book a Premier Bund Suite. These rooms are at the corner of the building that looks directly out towards the bend of the Bund, and you have a commanding view from your King bed.

Although not as tall as the Park Hyatt, the views were superior. There are no buildings blocking the view from the Ritz-Carlton to the Bund, and there is a better perspective on the view from the hotel's guest rooms (which occupy floors 39-52).

The Club Lounge is open 24 hours per day with its uninterrupted panoramic view. The hotel is located adjacent to the IFC shopping mall with every major luxury brand represented.



Park Hyatt Shanghai

We spent three nights in a Park King room at the Park Hyatt Shanghai in an 82nd floor room with partial Bund view. The interior styling will appeal to fans of Park Hyatt - dark woods and greys create an atmosphere of cool elegance. The bedroom has the feel of a generous Superior room with very high ceilings that add to the sense of spaciousness. We were not able to see a Park Deluxe at the property. There is a small couch and table at the front right corner of the room and a nice desk and working area at the front left corner of the room. The bed faces the windows, and there is plenty of built-in closet space. Free internet is provided throughout the property.

Park Hyatt traditionally gives a lot of attention to its bathrooms, and this is certainly the case with their Shanghai property. The very large bathroom has white marble counter and makes extensive use of grey limestone on the floors and walls. There are dual sinks set in a large vanity with plenty of space for the toiletries for two guests. There is a large rain shower and soaking tub. The WC has a separate entrance at the end of the hallway.

I feel there are some design flaws with this property. Entering the hotel is like going into a cave. The hotel entrance is small and dark with no natural lighting. You make several turns until you find yourself in a small, windowless room with a bank of four elevators. These elevators go up to both the 87th floor lobby and the 91st floor restaurant level. Once reaching the lobby, you move to a second set of elevator banks that take you back down to the guest rooms. To get from your guest room to the restaurant, you first take the room elevators to the lobby, then go to the other elevator bank to ascend to the restaurant. (Once there, the breakfast buffet is sumptuous and the views are stunning).

The cool, dark design of the hotel extends to the room corridors as well as to the guest rooms. There is no natural light whatsoever in the bathrooms - which I missed - and I had to put on my reading glasses and use a flashlight to adjust the room lighting … or turn the thermostat up or down. As a big plus, service was wonderful and attentive during our stay.

Last edited by DavidO; Nov 13, 11 at 5:49 pm
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