Wednesday newsletters always feature a luxury hotel and/or flight review.
Today (May 6, 2015): Review of The Peninsula Shanghai (China).
- Location: Google Maps
- Address: 32 Zhongshan East 1st Rd, Huangpu, Shanghai, China
- Hotel website: The Peninsula Shanghai
- tip: enjoy free VIP amenities when booking via Virtuoso
The Peninsula Shanghai opened in 2009 and offers an utopian level of luxury. Occupying a prime location with direct frontage on Shanghai’s historic Bund, The Peninsula’s flagship hotel is the first new building on the Bund in the last few decades. The intricately styled 235 guest rooms and suites have been designed to reminisce style from the glorious Art Deco era, incorporating an eclectic of traditional materials used in 1920’s Shanghai. Skyline views from the rooftop and Bund-facing rooms are breathtaking!
The Peninsula Shanghai features in my top 10 lists of the best luxury hotels in China and the best luxury hotels in Shanghai.
In this review (more info below my Youtube clip and slideshow):
- Pros & things I like
- Cons & things to know
- My verdict
- Tips for future guests & save money
- Best time to visit
- How to get there
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PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- The hotel enjoys the best and most desirable location in all of Shanghai, with direct frontage on Shanghai’s historic Bund. For those unfamiliar with Shanghai, the Bund is Shanghai’s historic waterfront and now includes a sparkling pedestrian walkway along the Huangpu River and wide streets lined by luxury shops, upscale bars and restaurants and even a few art galleries.
- The Bund-facing rooms & suites as well as the 14th floor Sir Elly’s rooftop bar (open weather permitting) offer spectacular views of the the Huangpu River and the amazing Pudong skyline, which has some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world. It’s the best place in Shanghai from which to enjoy the stunning riverside view! At night, the views transform into an impressive backdrop of twinkling neon lights.
- The hotel is the flagship of and managed by the legendary The Peninsula Hotel group, Asia’s oldest hotel company (founded in Hong Kong) and one of the most exclusive luxury hotel brands in the world.
- Inspired by the Art Deco period and the Golden Age, the hotel’s magnificent and opulent design recalls a time when Shanghai was known as “the Paris of the East”, and the finer things in life sat in easy reach.
- With elegant hues of celadon green and ivory, the hotel’s grand lobby makes quite an impression on guests upon entering the hotel. It comprises a restaurant that serves both breakfast and the the much-celebrated Peninsula afternoon tea. The Lobby Strings play every afternoon before a live jazz band takes over in the evenings.
- On arrival at the property, I was greeted outside the hotel and whisked away straight to my room. I did not have to stop at the front desk for check in, since that took place inside the room. This is a small example of true luxury service where the hotel caters to you. I am not sure though whether this in-room check-in is standard procedure for all room types.
- With 235 supremely comfortable rooms to choose from, including 44 suites, you’ll find accommodations as elegant and simple, or as opulent and complex, as you desire. I stayed in a Deluxe River Room and it was perfect. The room is large, with a divinely comfy bed (and bedding), a small couch sitting area and a desk. The room’s decor is elegantly appointed in neutral tones highlighted with sleek black lacquer fittings and antique ceramics. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer unparalleled views of the Huangpu River and the ever-changing skyline of Pudong. The bathroom has a large soaking tub (with glassed-in television set on the wall adjacent to it), double sinks and large walk-in shower. There is a closet/dressing room probably larger than some small studio apartments, with room for luggage, and cabinets to leave shoes for shining or clothing for pressing.
- The stunning indoor swimming pool, with beautiful tiles and white marble surrounds, is in a huge atrium whose light and contours create a gorgeous appearance on a sunny day. There’s also a large hot tub and adjoining outdoor terrace.
- Breakfast – served in the lobby – comprises a well presented, small buffet as well as entrees that you can choose from a menu (e.g. Irish oatmeal, blueberry pancakes, omelets, as well as Chinese fare).
- The Peninsula Spa is over 1,250 sq m (13,455 sq ft) of pure indulgence for the mind and body. The 21st-century treatments (from holistic healing treatments to state-of-the art modern therapies) are administered in an environment that’s a dead ringer for 1920s Paris.
- The only luxury hotel in Shanghai with a customised car fleet, The Peninsula Shanghai owns four Extended Wheelbase Rolls-Royce Phantoms, six BMW Peninsula Editions, two MINI Cooper S Clubman, and a magnificent and immaculately restored 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II, all finished in signature Peninsula Green. You will be transported in style!
- This is the only hotel in Mainland China that has a heliport on top, and there is also a luxury yacht that plies the Pu River for guests.
- The Peninsula Arcade within the hotel features a deluxe collection of high-end brand boutiques. Accessed from the street through a dedicated entrance or from the lobby, the two-storey shopping mall features over 25 of the world’s top luxury brands, together with a hair salon and The Peninsula Boutique.
- Raising dining expectations to new levels, The Peninsula Shanghai has a selection of 3 eclectic restaurants, which include The Lobby, Yi Long Court Chinese Restaurant, and Sir Elly’s Restaurant (Shanghai’s premier destination venue).
- To end an evening, nowhere in Shanghai could be more glamorous than the Salon de Ning, the basement lounge with hypnotic ambience inspired by the fictional 1930s Shanghai social butterfly Madame Ning.
- Service is top-notch, as you’d expect from this brand. The hotel staff is always very helpful, attentive, informative and friendly, and they treat you like Royalty.
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
The Peninsula Shanghai is a ultraluxurious property, one of the world’s greatest hotels, and a piece of history which has transcended time, yet, offers all the comforts of a modern Asia. The hotel has no real cons, but you may want to know the following when booking a stay here:
- This is China and internet access is heavily controlled. There are many sites (e.g. Google, Youtube) that are simply not accessible due to restrictions applied beyond the hotel’s control. Having said that, other hotels in town, such as the Park Hyatt Shanghai, seem to bypass that control and offer faster internet with non-restricted access.
- The hotel’s magnificent and opulent art deco design may not be to the liking of all, especially those that want a more contemporary design. But let that not put you off, because the facilities, location, views and service are world-class.
- Location: 9/10
- Design: 8/10
- Rooms: 8/10
- Food: 9/10
- Service: 10/10
- Overall experience: excellent: 8.8/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury resort like The Peninsula Shanghai (and receive many free perks).
- Save money: enjoy free VIP amenities when you book via Virtuoso (e.g. room upgrade, daily breakfast, early check-in, late check-out, one complimentary lunch, a Virtuoso smart phone, and an exquisite lacquer soapbox per stay).
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time. Passport and visa requirements differ from country to country. Please check with your local authority before booking.
- Booking a room facing the river is a must. The river and skyline views are simply breathtaking! Request a high floor, since views on the lower floors are blocked by trees.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Shanghai weather is generally mild and moist, with four distinct seasons: a pleasant warm spring, a hot rainy summer, a comfortable cool autumn and an overcast cold winter. The region’s location at the estuary of the Yangtze River to the East China Sea makes it so wet that it rains for about one-third of the year. The hottest time here comes in July and August, with more than 10 days at temperatures above 35 °C (95 °F). The coldest time is from the late January to early February. The spring from March to May is recommended as the best time to pay a visit.
HOW TO GET THERE
Shanghai can easily be reached by plane, train or car. For those coming by plane, the city is served by two airports, both a 45-minute cab ride from the hotel (traffic dependent):
- Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) is the primary international airport serving Shanghai. Check the Wikipedia page of Shanghai Pudong International Airport for an updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to this airport.
- Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA) is the main domestic airport serving Shanghai, with limited international flights. Check the Wikipedia page of Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport for an updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to this airport.
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I will visit Shanghai this Summer. Which hotel was your favourite? Peninsula or Manadrin Oriental?
Mandarin Oriental is my favorite