During our recent stay in Shanghai, we visited one of the two Shangri-La Hotels in the Chinese megacity: the 60-story Jing An Shangri-La Hotel. It opened its doors in July 2013 and is located in the Jing’an district of Shanghai, on the West Nanjing Road. It towers out above the 450,000-square meter Jing An Kerry Centre, that combines retail, office and residential space with landscaped plazas.
In the surrounding area you find the Nanjing Road- the first western street name in China and currently the world’s longest shopping district, spanning 5.5 kilometres and attracting over 1 million visitors daily. The region is populated with luxury hotels, shops, exquisite malls, skyscrapers, urban residential properties and corporate offices. The other Shangri-La is on the east side of the Nanjing Road.
Shanghai, being a former British treaty port, has been open to Western influence since the early 20th century. Houses are influenced by European and modern styles, locals are given compulsory English lessons in school (so there is not a broad language barrier when conversing with waiters or hotel staff) and there are numerous highly rated Chinese, Japanese, Thai, European and Mexican restaurants.
You can find showrooms of popular exotic brands like Armani, Gucci, Burberry, Rolex, Dolce & Gabbana, Rolls-Royce, BMW and Audi. There’s Tesco too. Yet despite that, the traditional Chinese architecture and the Chinese culture is visibly prominent, giving Shanghai an interesting blend of the west and the east, which has also influenced the hotel’s design.
“The hotel is very Shanghainese…a balance of the new and the traditional,” Shangri-La President Greg Dogan said. “Guests will experience Shangri-La’s genuine, heart-warming hospitality, and discover classic Shangri-La design reinterpreted in a luxurious contemporary way that complements the vibrancy of the Jing An district.”
More than four million pieces of crystal are used as architectural elements and sculptures. The art collection consists of 207 works from 50 different artists of 12 different countries, spanning over four continents. Fourteen of them are Chinese. It is worth mentioning that the hotel’s art collection “includes sculptures, paintings, works on paper, photography, textile art and decorative objects” and “each piece gives homage to Chinese culture either in the subject matter and style, or in the use of medium and material.”
There are five restaurants in the hotel. Café Liang offers both Western and Asian dishes. Summer Palace combines South-Eastern Chinese and Cantonese cuisines. The 1515 West is an old-school American bar and grill known for its beef that is procured from cattle reared in Australia, seafood, oysters and cocktails. Calypso is for casual dining, while TSURU serves authentic Japanese. We tried the 1515 West during our stay and the quality of the meat and the service were exceptional. That did also reflect in the price though, so prepare for a hefty bill.
While the restaurants and offices are on the lower floors, from the 30th to 59th floor there are the 504 guestrooms and suites of the Shangri-La hotel.
The suites have floor-to-ceiling windows that give an amazing view of Shanghai’s downtown and offer a range of luxurious facilities like mirrors with built-in 15-inch LED television, heated marble floors in the bathrooms and in corner rooms like ours, a bathtub with a breathtaking view of the skyscrapers (when there is no smog that is). Furthermore, suite guests get access to the Horizon Club Lounge on the 60th floor and enjoy it’s privileges. These include private check-in and check-out, free Wi-Fi, limousine service, use of meeting room facilities for two hours everyday, free beverages and snacks and the best breakfast room in the house. The regular guest rooms feature stylish Asian designs and luxurious amenities.
The large Spa features a large indoor pool and several treatment rooms. A 24-hour gym allows you to work out when you like. Upon arrival you are welcomed with a traditional tea served in your room – a treat we remembered from the Shangri-La at the Shard. The attention to detail at the Jing-An Shangri-La hotel is very high. For example, you will find complimentary fresh water bottles on each night stand and in the bathroom every day.
In all, the Jing An Shangri-La is a very elegant property, at a strategic location. Personally, we loved the rooms and their majestic view over Shanghai – ask for room 4371 if you are ever there. The Horizon Club Lounge on the 55th floor is a great place to have a quiet breakfast. The Jing An Shangri-La compliments the fast-paced modern culture of Shanghai but at the same time, does not abandon the Asian heritage.