This is one of two Shangri-La hotels in the city. The first is found in the East. The one I checked into, the second, is the still relatively new 60-story flagship Jing An Shangri-La Hotel which opened in July 2013 in the Jing’an district of Shanghai.
It sits surrounded by shopping malls, luxury hotels and is a stone's throw away from one of the city's beautiful temples. Location wise, it’s hard to beat, with easy access to the French concession (one of my favourite areas of the city) and away from the hustle and bustle of the Bund (which after a few days is more than I can bear).
The hotel has used more than four million pieces of crystal, as architectural elements and sculptures and it is home to an impressive art collection. The décor is a heady mix of Asian tradition and the new more modern style associated with luxury hotels. At check in a huge crystal installation dazzles above, as does the service at the front desk. Check in was swift, having got off an early morning flight I was granted an early check in, as soon as the room was ready. Having shared that I lost my phone on the plane, assistance was immediate in helping to track it down - in fact throughout a two week stay nothing was too much trouble. Addresses were printed, taxis were booked and- given the size of the hotel- the waiting time never felt like it was too long.
Upstairs, from the 30th to the 59th floor, rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views of Shanghai’s downtown. The standard rooms are a good size, with open wardrobes, plenty of drawers and hangers (why do so many hotels skimp on hangers?), clean lines and neutral decor. The rooms are blissfully quiet and come armed with a host of luxurious extras. The mini bar is well stocked, the beds are comfortable, the linen is crisp but it is the bathrooms I really want to write home about.
Despite it being 45 degrees outside, I loved the heated marble floors and I took full advantage of the huge sunken bathtub, even stopping to watch a film on the mirror which comes with built-in 15-inch LED television. For those upgrading to a suite, the rooms get bigger and the bathtub comes with a view. All come with a power shower so good I struggled to get out of it each morning. The only thing I didn’t fall in love with was the complimentary products but that was a small grumble in a long stay.
The hotel also scores points on the dining front too. There are five restaurants in the hotel, two of which regularly feature on Shanghai's best recommended lists. The 1515 West, Chophouse and Bar is an old school American bar and grill famous for its Australian beef. I ventured down on a Sunday night to find live music in the bar and a colleague in the restaurant. I joined him for one of the best steaks I've ever eaten - my only advice would be to stop there, as the deserts were not worth the sin. The other is TSURU, the Japanese restaurant. It was faultless. The quality of the sushi was superb and there is a host of creative rolls that I would happily go back for. One word of warning, these are not the city's cheapest restaurants, but when they are some of the city’s finest, that is to be expected.
For those not wanting to leave the hotel, the CHI spa offers a range of treatments. There is a gym with the latest fitness equipment and a heated 25-metre indoor sky-dome lap pool.
There is no doubt that this is a big hotel. If you prefer the boutique option then this won't be for you (although the Puli behind it will be). For me this is more of a corporate hotel- the service is slick, the rooms are comfortable and the restaurants are first class. It isn't luxury at its finest (you'll want to head to the Mandarin Oriental if you are looking for that). However, by the end of a two week stay, it was beginning to feel like home.