by Ron Bernthal
For me, visiting the Pudong Shangri-La was like being in a city, within a city, within a city. The property is located in Shanghai’s Pudong district, formerly an isolated farming region that supplied Shanghai with most of its vegetables. The first luxury hotel to open in the area, the Shangri-La has expanded during the past 15 years, and now has 952 rooms, ten restaurants, two large fitness centers, two swimming pools, an outdoor tennis court, a spa and health club, and 14 function rooms, including the 18,730 square-foot China Hall ballroom.
The hotel, with its thousands of guests and employees, is like a small city, and its location in Pudong’s Lujiazui Financial Centre, separated from Shanghai’s historic downtown by the Huangpu River, means that guests are close to Pudong’s corporate skyscrapers, the high-speed Maglev airport train line, and to the ferries and tunnels that link Pudong to central Shanghai.
Despite all the superlatives about how big the hotel is, it actually felt like an intimate boutique property. My room location, in the newer Grand Tower (2005), was connected to the older River Wing (1998) by a large, indoor expanse of restaurants, meeting rooms, guest business centers, and retail shops, and each lobby had its own car and pedestrian entrances. The hotel offers a wide choice of activities, and guests freely stroll from one area to another, yet because of its massive size, it never feels crowded or unmanageable.
Many guests elect to stay here for the view. My room, on the 26th floor, had floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city’s historic Bund district and the Huangpu, with its ongoing display of colorful, neon-lit sightseeing boats as well as working tugboats and barges. With a large desk, complimentary Wi-Fi, leather office chair, two upholstered chairs, a King bed and thick carpeting the room was quite comfortable. There were two large recessed circles in the ceiling with recessed mood lighting within the circles. A pair of hotel binoculars, so high-powered that I was able to clearly see couples dancing on the replica pirate-ship sightseeing boats far below, was a fun diversion.
Lovely Chinese art prints hung on the walls, and, if I had chosen one, a special room fragrance would have been piped into the room. The 29th floor Club Lounge offers complimentary breakfast and pre-dinner cocktails and snacks for guests in Club Floor rooms. It’s impossible to try all the hotel restaurants during a short stay, but I did manage to dine at Jade 36, the award-winning French restaurant on the top floor, where the fresh seafood was as exquisite as the sunset view over Shanghai.
If visitors to Shanghai prefer to stay downtown, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts’ newest flagship hotel opened in June, 2013. The 508-room Jing An Shangri-La in West Shanghai is the cornerstone of the new Jing An Kerry Centre, a 4.8 million-square-foot integrated complex with retail, office and residential space located in the fashionable Jing An District in Puxi, Shanghai. The newest Shangri-La is within a few minutes walk of Jing An Temple and numerous restaurants and trendy bars and cafes in the fashionable French Concession district.
33 Fu Cheng Lu
Pudong, Shanghai, China