Hotel review: Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai

Wednesday newsletters always feature a luxury hotel and/or flight review.

Today (May 13, 2015): Review of The Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai  (China).

Surrounded by the gleaming skyscrapers of Lujiazui and just minutes away from Shanghai IFC and the Shanghai World Financial Centre, the Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai offers a unique blend of style and comfort with a stunning design, world-class restaurants, serene spa and Mandarin Oriental’s legendary service. As sophisticated as they are spacious, the 318 rooms and 44 suites offer a sublime blend of comfort and contemporary design, all of them with sweeping views over the Huangpu River.

Mandarin Oriental Pudong, 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
  • Let’s start with the best feature of this hotel: service is superb, impeccable and second to none. Both management and staff will go that extra mile and offer assistance beyond their professional requirement to make your stay is as enjoyable as possible. I never felt more welcomed and being looked after at a luxury hotel than here. You will be treated like Royalty.
  • Business travelers will love the hotel’s location in the new Harbour City development, a skyscraper-dotted expanse of green in the heart of Pudong’s growing financial district, just minutes away from Shanghai IFC and the Shanghai World Financial Centre. Although the hotel is across the river from the historic city center, it is conveniently located as well for tourists because it’s only a 10-15 minute walk to Lujiazui metro station and some of Shanghai’s major sightseeing attractions (e.g. Pearl Tower).
  • While the hotel has extensive outdoor landscaped areas, it is also located riverside. A one minute stroll from the hotel entrance takes you to a beautiful riverside promenade, lined by lush greenery and excellent restaurants. It is such as a bless that the hotel offers the possibility to escape Shanghai’s hustle & bustle in its immediate surroundings (a unique feature in this hectic city).
  • The modern lobby, with its dazzlingly colourful mosaic wall, is flooded with natural light, and makes a great first impression.
  • The 362 guest rooms, 44 of them being suites, come in 14 categories and offer a sublime blend of comfort and contemporary design, all of them with sweeping river views. I stayed in a River View Suite, where floor-to-ceiling windows offer dramatic views across the Huangpu River. Fusing traditional Oriental design with chic contemporary touches, the suite’s bedroom features plush carpets, elegant low-lighting, a very comfty king bed (you will not want to wake up) and a beautifully upholstered armchair. Separate from the bedroom is a private sitting room. The corner bathroom features a deep, window-side tub, a walk-in rainforest shower and a twin vanity area.
  • If you can afford it, I highly recommend you to book a room with access to the hotel’s magnificent executive club, the Club Lounge. Guests staying at one of the 44 suites receive complimentary Club Lounge access. Emulating the feel of a residential living room, the large yet intimate space features wood and marble flooring, a dining room, a library and wine bar, all of them with panoramic views of the Huangpu river and Lujiazhui skyline. Breakfast, light lunch, afternoon tea, and evening snacks (more like a buffet) are offered each day. In addition, other Club Lounge benefits include (amongst others): personalized check-in and check-out, butler service, house car service within the Lujiazui area (daytime only, within a 2km radius), and – ideal for those business meetings – laundry, pressing and dry cleaning of up to two pieces of garments per day.
  • In the basement of the hotel, you will find the recreational facilities with a wonderful Spa, a gym (with state-of-the-art equipment) and a 25 m, indoor, stylish swimming pool (with jacuzzi).
  • I found the Spa, centred around an enclosed landscaped garden, to be an absolute highlight. Sandy coloured marble, pale oak wood floors and butterfly motifs throughout create a tranquil atmosphere and chic design. The Spa has 13 spa suites, including two couple’s suites and two VIP suites. Facilities include – amongst others – crystal steam room, tepidarium chairs, aroma experience showers, sauna and ice fountains. Treatments are excellent (as you would expect from this super-de-luxe Asian hotel brand).
  • The hotel has three restaurants on site, all of them featuring excellent and high-quality food. Fifty 8° Grill focuses on modern French cuisine, Yong Yi Ting specialises in regional Jiang Nan cuisine, while all-day dining restaurant Zest specialises in Asian and International cuisine (with buffet).
  • Featuring everything from pastries to dim sum, the excellent breakfast consists of both buffet and a la carte options. Breakfast is served in Zest restaurant and the Club Lounge.
  • Serving a wide variety of freshly baked, homemade delicacies including pastries, chocolates, breads and cakes, the Mandarin cake shop on the lobby level of the Executive Apartments (next door to the hotel) is a must-stop for anyone looking to indulge.

CONS & THINGS TO KNOW

The Mandarin Oriental Pudong is is one of Shanghai’s best luxury hotels, and in fact my favorite in town! The service, food and room layout are beyond excellent. It’s also a standout in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel group, because it features a more contemporary design as compared to the lavish, oppulent style of most other Mandarin Oriental properties. The hotel has no cons, but you may want to know the following nevertheless:

  • While business travelers will love the location, it is not the most central hotel for leisure travelers since a lot of the sightseeing action takes place around the Bund accross the river (which can be easily reached though). But the hotel does provide complimentary single-way shuttle service within the Lujiazui district for their guests. Also, the advantage of staying here, is that the hotel area proves to be a quiet place of tranquility, so you can get away from all bustles and hustles after an intensive day of sightseeing. In addition, Pudong – where the Mandarin Oriental is located – now has many tourist attractions as well, which can all easily be reached by foot.
  • From the outside looking in, the hotel is not as photogenic as the hotel mansions just across the river on the Bund. But let that not put you off as the inside of the hotel is stunningly elegant and impressive.
  • This is China and internet access is heavily controlled. There are many sites (e.g. Google, Youtube, Facebook) that are 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.
  • WiFi is only complimentary when you book through the official hotel website or when you have Club Lounge access. Otherwise, you will be charged for WiFi, either 60 RMB for 1 hour or 120 RMB for 24 hours.

MY VERDICT
  • Location: 8/10
  • Design: 9/10
  • Rooms: 9/10
  • Food: 9/10
  • Service: 10/10
  • Overall experience: exceptional: 9/10

TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS
  • Save money: read my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai (and receive many free perks).
  • 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.
  • Most rooms enjoy spectacular river and city views through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Request a high floor for the best views.
  • Book your room on the hotel website to enjoy complimentary WiFi.
  • If you can afford it, book a room with access to the hotel’s magnificent executive club, which comes with lot of extra benefits (see above).

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.

HOTEL ENTRANCE
HOTEL ENTRANCE
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
LOBBY
HOTEL ELEVATOR
HOTEL ELEVATOR
HOTEL CORRIDOR
HOTEL CORRIDOR
HOTEL CORRIDOR
HOTEL CORRIDOR
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE: WELCOME SNACKS
RIVER VIEW SUITE: WELCOME SNACKS
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE: VIEW FROM SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE: VIEW FROM SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE
RIVER VIEW SUITE: BATHROOM
RIVER VIEW SUITE: BATHROOM
RIVER VIEW SUITE: BATHROOM
RIVER VIEW SUITE: BATHROOM
RIVER VIEW SUITE: BATHROOM
RIVER VIEW SUITE: BATHROOM
RIVER VIEW SUITE: BATHROOM
RIVER VIEW SUITE: BATHROOM
RIVER VIEW SUITE: BATHROOM
RIVER VIEW SUITE: BATHROOM
RIVER VIEW SUITE: BATHROOM
RIVER VIEW SUITE: BATHROOM
RIVER VIEW SUITE AT NIGHT
RIVER VIEW SUITE AT NIGHT
SPA ENTRANCE
SPA ENTRANCE
SPA ENTRANCE
SPA ENTRANCE
SPA ENTRANCE
SPA ENTRANCE
SPA ENTRANCE
SPA ENTRANCE
SPA LOCKER ROOM
SPA LOCKER ROOM
SPA LOCKER ROOM
SPA LOCKER ROOM
SPA LOCKER ROOM
SPA LOCKER ROOM
GYM
GYM
SWIMMING POOL
SWIMMING POOL
SWIMMING POOL
SWIMMING POOL
SWIMMING POOL LOUNGE
SWIMMING POOL LOUNGE
SWIMMING POOL SUNBED
SWIMMING POOL SUNBED
SWIMMING POOL SUNBED
SWIMMING POOL SUNBED
RIVERSIDE PROMENADE NEAR HOTEL
RIVERSIDE PROMENADE NEAR HOTEL
MANDARIN ORIENTAL CAKE SHOP
MANDARIN ORIENTAL CAKE SHOP
MANDARIN ORIENTAL CAKE SHOP
MANDARIN ORIENTAL CAKE SHOP
MANDARIN ORIENTAL CAKE SHOP
MANDARIN ORIENTAL CAKE SHOP
ZEST RESTAURANT
ZEST RESTAURANT
ZEST RESTAURANT
ZEST RESTAURANT
ZEST RESTAURANT: DINNNER
ZEST RESTAURANT: DINNNER
ZEST RESTAURANT: DINNNER
ZEST RESTAURANT: DINNNER
ZEST RESTAURANT
ZEST RESTAURANT
CLUB LOUNGE
CLUB LOUNGE
CLUB LOUNGE
CLUB LOUNGE
CLUB LOUNGE
CLUB LOUNGE
CLUB LOUNGE
CLUB LOUNGE
CLUB LOUNGE
CLUB LOUNGE
CLUB LOUNGE
CLUB LOUNGE
CLUB LOUNGE
CLUB LOUNGE
CLUB LOUNGE: LIGHT LUNCH BUFFET
CLUB LOUNGE: LIGHT LUNCH BUFFET
CLUB LOUNGE: LIGHT LUNCH BUFFET
CLUB LOUNGE: LIGHT LUNCH BUFFET
CLUB LOUNGE: LIGHT LUNCH BUFFET
CLUB LOUNGE: LIGHT LUNCH BUFFET
CLUB LOUNGE: LIGHT LUNCH BUFFET
CLUB LOUNGE: LIGHT LUNCH BUFFET
CLUB LOUNGE: LIGHT LUNCH BUFFET
CLUB LOUNGE: LIGHT LUNCH BUFFET
CLUB LOUNGE: LIGHT LUNCH BUFFET
CLUB LOUNGE: LIGHT LUNCH BUFFET
CLUB LOUNGE: LIGHT LUNCH BUFFET
CLUB LOUNGE: LIGHT LUNCH BUFFET
CLUB LOUNGE: LIGHT LUNCH BUFFET
CLUB LOUNGE: LIGHT LUNCH BUFFET
CLUB LOUNGE: AFTERNOON TEA
CLUB LOUNGE: AFTERNOON TEA
CLUB LOUNGE: AFTERNOON TEA
CLUB LOUNGE: AFTERNOON TEA
CLUB LOUNGE: AFTERNOON TEA
CLUB LOUNGE: AFTERNOON TEA
CLUB LOUNGE: EVENING SNACKS
CLUB LOUNGE: EVENING SNACKS
CLUB LOUNGE: EVENING SNACKS
CLUB LOUNGE: EVENING SNACKS
CLUB LOUNGE: EVENING SNACKS
CLUB LOUNGE: EVENING SNACKS
CLUB LOUNGE: EVENING SNACKS
CLUB LOUNGE: EVENING SNACKS
CLUB LOUNGE: EVENING SNACKS
CLUB LOUNGE: EVENING SNACKS
CLUB LOUNGE: EVENING SNACKS
CLUB LOUNGE: EVENING SNACKS
CLUB LOUNGE: BREAKFAST
CLUB LOUNGE: BREAKFAST
CLUB LOUNGE: BREAKFAST
CLUB LOUNGE: BREAKFAST
CLUB LOUNGE: BREAKFAST
CLUB LOUNGE: BREAKFAST
CLUB LOUNGE: BREAKFAST
CLUB LOUNGE: BREAKFAST
CLUB LOUNGE: BREAKFAST
CLUB LOUNGE: BREAKFAST
CLUB LOUNGE: BREAKFAST
CLUB LOUNGE: BREAKFAST
CLUB LOUNGE: BREAKFAST
CLUB LOUNGE: BREAKFAST
CLUB LOUNGE: BREAKFAST
CLUB LOUNGE: BREAKFAST

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