Reviews

Review: Jing An Shangri-La, West Shanghai hotel

Overall Rating

By Chris Chamberlin, March 18 2015
Jing An Shangri-La, West Shanghai hotel
Country

China

City

Shanghai

Hotel

Shangri-La

Rating

5-star

Room

Grand Premier

Notes
The Good
  • Free Horizon Club lounge access for guests in Grand Premier rooms
  • The 'non-suites' are still suites by any other name
  • Separate living area and bedroom for hosting private meetings
The Bad
  • Limited space in the Horizon Club for serious laptop work
X-Factor
  • Follow the path of four million crystals to your high-powered business meeting
Location
Rooms
Meals
Overall

Introduction

A strikingly modern take on the more 'traditional' Shangri-La image, the Jing An Shangri-La, West Shanghai hotel trades the classical for the contemporary in the heart of the city's Jing'an district.

Standing at 466 rooms and 42 suites, the 'business traveller basics' aren't forgotten, with ample work space, a Horizon Club lounge for eligible guests and meeting rooms on tap and often free.

Join Australian Business Traveller as we put one of Shanghai's newest hotels to the test.

Location & Impressions

Any doubts about whether the new-age Shangri-La keeps the brand's signature opulence are silenced before even getting your room key.

Guests are greeted in the lobby amidst an impressive 'crystal rain' feature, with imported crystals as abundant as raindrops in the monsoon season.

They're just some of the four million crystals on display in the hotel's public spaces, which ultimately serve to guide delegates towards the hotel's meeting and conference rooms.

After all, why follow a mere arrow or sign when a White Crystal Road can take you there instead?

The hotel is also conveniently opposite from the Shanghai Exhibition Centre for other meetings and events, and is roughly 45 minutes by car from the city's Pudong Airport – served by Qantas, Air China and China Eastern from Australia.

For travellers with a little spare time, you're also close to the former French Concession and within easy driving distance of other popular haunts such as The Bund and Xintiandi.

Room

The hotel's Grand Premier rooms are the highest 'regular' room category before reaching the formal suites, yet it's really an executive suite by any other name.

There's a spacious living room in which to put your feet up and watch a little television...

... and if you're hosting a meeting, the bedroom can be completely hidden from view:

With separate bathroom doors leading into both the bedroom and the lounge room, your business associates can use the facilities without wandering through your private quarters.

Inside you'll find dual sinks, a heated floor, a separate bath and shower and even a TV screen hidden behind the mirror:

It's a great idea for a quick news brief before heading into the office, but it's only usable when you're standing at the sink rather than taking a bath – the latter requires keeping your head uncomfortably turned to one side rather than simply looking up to view the image.

A range of amenities are provided including dental and shaving kits, mouthwash, vanity sets and Bvlgari shower and bath products:

A Nespresso machine awaits you in the mornings, and if you'd prefer to sit while styling your hair or applying make-up, there's a separate mirror for that too.

You'll find a second LCD TV in the bedroom, which is fortunately operated by a remote control that doesn't interfere with the panel in the lounge room if you're sleeping with the dividing doors open.

AC power points are plentiful throughout the suite – including at the bedside – although the reading lights are in an aircraft-like 'crisscross' arrangement:

It makes it near impossible for one person to switch on a reading light without it also shining onto their neighbour's pillow, which seems odd when the lights could simply be pointing downward.

Nonetheless, bedside lamps come to the rescue – but are best switched off to enjoy the evening view:

[Click the image to enlarge it – you may be able to spot the iconic Oriental Pearl TV Tower in the distance.]

Work

Grand Premier rooms are well-equipped for getting things done, with a dedicated writing desk aside the living room with a comfy, adjustable-height chair:

Several multi-country AC outlets accept Aussie plugs without breaking out the adaptors, while there's a convenient USB power outlet for your phone when other devices are connected to the main ports.

The panel also links your laptop to the TV in high definition using HDMI, or through VGA and 3.5mm video and audio inputs – handy if you're giving an important presentation in the suite, or are practicing your delivery before heading into a client's office for that big meeting.

For a change of scenery, guests in the Grand Premier rooms and all designated suites receive complimentary access to the hotel's Horizon Club lounge, as do Shangri-La's Golden Circle Diamond members booked in any room type.

Spanning an entire floor of the hotel as the chain's largest Horizon Club, guests with lounge access can reserve private meeting rooms for two hours per day at no charge, although the bulk of the lounge focusses solely on relaxation rather than productivity.

Despite this, we found only two tables perfectly-suited to laptop work in the entire lounge area – one shown below, and one immediately to the left of the TV:

These tables have a handy power point nearby, while practically everywhere else is better-suited to iPads, cocktails and Kindles.

The dining room is the exception to the rule – where there are proper tables on which to balance your laptop – but this area is unfortunately behind locked doors outside of breakfast hours.

If the area is to remain cordoned-off throughout the day, we'd really like to see a few of these tables make an appearance in the general lounge space for busy road warriors.

For guests without lounge access, there's also a business centre with binding, printing and fax facilities, video conferencing and a separate meeting room for hire:

Hotel-wide Internet access is both free and usable, and is available over Wi-Fi or Ethernet cable when surfing from your room.

Eat

Specialising in Cantonese cuisine, Summer Palace has different zones depending on how you'd like to enjoy your meal.

In the 'Pantry' area close to the restaurant's entrance, you'll have a full view of the kitchen in a casual setting – and as you walk further into the space, things move upwards to semi-formal and then full Chinese formal.

The menu (and prices) remain the same throughout, which means it costs no more to meet over a nice lunch with a client than it does to eat the exact same food with friends and colleagues in a more relaxed environment.

Wherever you wind up, we'd strongly recommend the roasted crispy pork belly, which was divine.

Café Liang – also open for breakfast for Grand Premier guests plus Jade and Diamond Golden Circle members in any room type – offers Asian and Western cuisines for lunch and dinner on the ground floor and modern Japanese food on the upper level.

Overlooking Chairman Mao's former home, it's also adjacent to Calypso Restaurant & Lounge where you'll find a good choice of Mediterranean dishes such as Neapolitan-style pizzas, Italian burrata and house-made pasta and gelato.

Steak lovers will naturally gravitate to The 1515 West, Chophouse & Bar, with the restaurant's cattle reared here in Australia before being sent to Shanghai in time for dinner.

Those with a busy schedule can dine at their leisure on a 24-hour room service menu, which can also be delivered to the Horizon Club lounge during opening hours for a break from your desk.

Relax

Kick back in the Horizon Club with all-day alcohol at no charge, plus more elaborate cocktails and canapés in the evenings.

There's also a library and a quiet corner for reading a good book...

... and a view of the former French Concession that's worth pausing for:

After spending some time in the heated swimming pool or tearing through your workout, head to The 1515 West's New-York-style bar for its own label of whiskey; expertly-mixed cocktails and more.

Or, head to the lobby and visit the Jason Zhan – the hotel's Chief Concierge and the Chief Representative: China of Les Clefs d’Or – for expert knowledge of Shanghai's hottest restaurants, bars and clubs.

All things considered, the hotel and its excellent staff not only reached our high expectations when it came to service, attention to detail and genuine class, it exceeded them entirely.

From the elegant 'crystal rain' welcome in the lobby to the magnificent view from the rooms and suites, the hotel takes the typical Shangri-La service culture and mixes it with modern style and design at just the right ratio to create something unique and special in Shanghai.

All that remains on the to-do list?

Drag a few more dining or working tables into the main Horizon Club lounge and install a few more power points – then you'll have a winning combination for all travellers, whether they're on serious business or seeking a leisurely break from the daily grind.

Heading to Shanghai on business? Also read:

Chris Chamberlin travelled to Shanghai and stayed as a guest of Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts and the Jing An Shangri-La hotel.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

UpUpAndAway

UpUpAndAway

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 294

Tripadvisor has the hotel @ A$528.00 a night

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2949

That's not uncommon in Shanghai for the high-end hotels (and it can sometimes even be $600+, as can others in the city such as the Waldorf Astoria), but if you book ahead you can often find rates in the low A$400s, which is still quite expensive but a tad less costly.

gippsflyer

gippsflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

Certainly worth a look judging from the review.

henrus

henrus

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 714

Very Fancy (Looks Great) Its a real shame flight to china are not real cheap like JQ to SIN, BKK, Japan or TZ to SIN

RaptorNation158

RaptorNation158

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 513

Yeah it's really weird because China is known for making cheap goods we love to hate but have high airfares.

gippsflyer

gippsflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

I know of one cheap fare lol. AA had a fat finger fare (error) for J Washington (DCA) to Beijing (PEK) return for less than $500USD. I almost booked it, but it was only running to May, and I didn't have a suitable window (one hell of a status credit run though, and easy enough to pre-position for).

RaptorNation158

RaptorNation158

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 513

And yet it costs $1000+ just to return from Sydney in J.


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