INTRODUCTION TO THE PENINSULA SHANGHAI
The Peninsula Shanghai holds a special place on the historic Bund. The colonial-era buildings, restricted in height, that offer a blend of Neo-Classical/Beaux-Arts, Art Deco and other architectures that dot the waterfront, are a beautiful contrast to the uber-modern skyscrapers rising ever higher on the other side of the Huangpu River, epitomising modern Shanghai. While most buildings are old, nearly a century or more in some cases, The Peninsula is the only modern building on the lane, built in 2009 to mimic the eclectic yet classically-inspired architectural style of The Bund, from a time period when the city was once known as the “Paris of the East”.
Date of stay: June 2017
Room: Grand Deluxe River Room #712
Reviewed by: Chinmoy Lad
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PHOTOS AND VIDEOS by CHINMOYLAD[embedyt]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhY-vMao2oE[/embedyt]
WHAT I LOVED
- Location. We stayed at two hotels in different locales in Shanghai, and visited a few more areas. The Bund is the place to be. Yes, it’s somewhat touristy, but it’s also a fantastic central location from which to explore the rest of Shanghai, not to mention all the incredible architectural sights within minutes walk, and the quintessential Shanghai view across the river from The Peninsula.
- Rooms. The rooms are spacious by any international city standard, starting at a very comfortable 54-59 sqm/581-635 sqft. Part of the reason to stay at the Peninsula though, is for the stunning views it affords. So we’d recommend the lowest room to book being the Deluxe River Room (same size as the entry level Superior Room). The Grand Deluxe River Room is somewhat larger (71-89 sqm/764-958 sqft).
- The Presidential Suite (The Peninsula Suite), which we toured, features 400 sqm/4,305 sq ft of space, featuring a small balcony, and is one of the world’s most expensive suites. However, views aside, The Palace Suite (306 sqm/3,294 sqft) one level below the Presidential Suite is arguably nicer, featuring a 12,000 sq ft wrap-around terrace perfect for all-weather entertainment. The Astor Suite (116 sqm/1,249 sqft) is popular with honeymooners on account of its landscaped outdoor terrace with private jacuzzi.
- Design. The hotel pays tribute to the classical styles found around The Bund throughout its common areas, and the rooms beautifully combine elegant modern elements with classical features, and the soft but bright colour palette, along with the near floor-to-ceiling windows ensure plenty of light.
- Attention to detail in the rooms. Shanghai is a city where everyone glams up for a night out. The Peninsula’s room suitably account for this with a built-in nail dryer. As is the Peninsula’s signature, technology plays a key-part with check-in and many room operational procedures performed on the iPad. With Shanghai being a business destination, there is also a fax/scanner/printer, a Nespresso machine at hand and more.
- Pick-up and drop-off. This is a Peninsula. Splurge for the Peninsula-green Rolls Royce Phantom for your pick-up and drop-off from the airport or from another hotel – it’s worth it! The signature green Rolls comes with a soothing cream and beige interior. We got a one-way ride in the Rolls and its one of our most memorable experiences to date.
- Service and the team. As you would expect from a hotel (owned and) managed by The Peninsula brand, service is exemplary – somewhat formal in style but always exuding an air of approachability.
- On our last day out, it was raining outside when we were just about to step outside the hotel for a mini-tour. As we got to the lobby and tried to fumble around with our umbrella, a staff member proactively saw this and offered aid, providing an umbrella for temporary usage for our day out.
- Staff were always alert to our needs and wants without being intrusive, and at the restaurants we never sipped a last sip without the water or drink being appropriately refilled.
- Facilities. Arguably where The Peninsula Shanghai really shines is in its myriad of facilities and luxurious experiences. We mentioned the Peninsula-green Rolls Royces earlier. The Peninsula Shanghai also features a helipad on the top, operated by the founding family’s aviation sector (a hobby), as well as a luxury yacht for hire. And although we didn’t have time to try it, the beautiful ceiling lit indoor heated pool is a heaven send in Shanghai which does experience a myriad of climates throughout the season, complemented of course by The Peninsula Spa.
POINTS TO NOTE
- Food. The Peninsula, as you would expect, has a host of dining options offering a range of all styles of cuisines. However, in our limited time, we only tried one restaurant at The Lobby, both for a lunch and breakfast. Lunch wasn’t much to write home about (we went for Continental fare), but breakfast in the morning was pretty poor. The morning breakfast offers a selection of cold buffet items (quite limited for a hotel of its size and standard) and a selection of hot plates. We tried a mix of Shanghainese and western options, but none were a hit – but surprisingly, the xiao long bao (Shanghainese soup dumpling) was one of the worst we’ve ever had.
- Internet. Internet access can be restricted (Google, Facebook, Instagram etc) due to the “Great Firewall of China”, although some other hotels (including The PuLi which we stayed at prior) seem to get past this issue.
- The Peninsula Shanghai is about a 1-hour drive from Shanghai Pudong International Airport and a 30-minute ride from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport. However, be prepared for unpredictable traffic conditions.
HOTEL FACT SHEET
- LOCATION: Shanghai, China
- OPENED: 2009
- HOTEL ROOMS: 235
- RESIDENCES: N/A
- RATES FROM: USD 250/night++
Rates are only an approximation and subject to change and availability
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