Pudong Shangri-La Still Enthralls Guests And Sets The Standard For “Luxury With Chinese Characteristics”
The five-star Pudong Shangri-La, one of the crown jewels of Shanghai’s skyline, continues to draw accolades from seasoned global travelers, who are consistently struck by the hotel’s extravagance as well as its unique story. Having begun construction when Shanghai’s Pudong section was scarcely more than a marshland, the Shangri-La quickly established itself as one of East Asia’s finest luxury hotels. With the newest extension (finished in 2005) adding even more opulence to the striking building, travelers have even more reasons to make this coastal city a stop on their next Asian business or tourism jaunt.
Today, Robert La Bue makes the Pudong Shangri-La the target of his “Mr. e-Traveler” column, writing, “It’s always a pleasure to return to a hotel that feels like home. The fact that a 948-room property can pull this off is a credit to Pudong Shangri-la.”
As La Bue goes on to note, the hotel’s unique international and Chinese appointments set it apart, even among other world-class five-star luxury hotels:
Maybe I just like the idea of home being a double-towered complex linked by a marble walkway lined with delightful goods in the shops and delectable foods in the mouth courtesy of the fine eateries that make Pudong Shangri-la a popular destination for locals as well as visitors. The River Wing was the first five-star hotel on the Pudong side of Shanghai’s Huangpu River; though today dwarfed by the megaliths that have risen over the past decade, including the stylish glass structure of the hotel’s own Grand Tower to which it is connected, the River Wing remains a favourite thanks to the classic atmosphere and attentive service for which Shangri-la is well known—and the views of Shanghai’s architectural treasures along The Bund are right out the windows (the hotel thoughtfully provides high-powered binoculars in its rooms to allow for enjoyment of the Bund’s Deco-rations from a lofty position). The newly renovated rooms in the River Wing recall an era of Old World European opulence with chandeliers and plush carpets, while the Grand Tower is more contemporary in style and attitude. People thought Mr. Kwok was crazy to open a hotel on the Pudong side back when it was little more than marshland; thanks to the Shangri-la Group’s canny owner, the Pudong Shangri-la sits on a prime piece of real estate today.
With some of the most spacious rooms in town, Pudong Shangri-la is well positioned for next year’s World Expo, to be held on the enormous grounds just a few kilometres away. As various nations prepare their pavilions for the big event, which will take place from May to October 2010, Pudong, long regarded as Shanghai’s business district, will flourish as a cultural destination as well. Not that it is devoid of cultural attractions under normal circumstances; the magnificent Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, a performing arts venue designed by renowned architect Jean Nouvel, is just down the road.
With another Shangri-la hotel under construction in Puxi’s Jing An district on the other side of the river, Shanghai will be one of the few cities in the world with two Shangri-la properties. How lucky for visitors to Shanghai.