Jing’An Shangri-La West Shanghai opened only two years ago this month but it has quickly established itself as a leading luxury hotel in the West Nanjing area of town. There are many reasons for this, says the gal. First, it has a permanent two-floor versatile venue, Calypso, which can be party place or meeting magnet, as was shown on Tuesday last week when it hosted 700 party-goers at the official ILTM party. No worry than it poured outside. Guests dressed in black and white were ferried under umbrellas, in and out, and the fabulous food stations (sashimi through to kebabs and big burgers) were brought under cover. Add a two-metre ciabatta sandwich, sliced to order, an American band, rather a lot of beer and even more bottles of Taittinger. No wonder Milanese GM Marco Vazzoler was smiling next morning.
Although the ILTM party had gone on after midnight, the hotel crew had turned everything round and by just after the five a.m. daybreak Calypso was ready for a Conde Nast breakfast. That is the way of hotel life these days, says Marco Vazzoler – never a dull moment. He and I were actually breakfasting, or rather having coffee, in the hotel’s 55th floor club lounge, designed by André Fu. It would have had pretty impressive views if the rain had not still been coming down (as well as breakfasting superbly in the club lounge – see the video below – I had also checked on the main, ground-floor restaurant, Café Liang, designed by Super Potato – see the photo at the top).
When the 508-room hotel is really full, they very cleverly offer another alternative breakast, all you can eat dim sum in the sensational Chinese restaurant (another André Fu design, with three-tiered chandeliers formed of silk tassels). There are so many reasons this is such a successful hotel. First, good luck. There is a nearby Buddhist temple, Jing’an (‘temple of peace and tranquillity’), was moved here in 1216 during the Song Dynasty from its original site near Suzhou Creek. Today the complex is integral with a subway station, and the offices and retail of the mega-Kerry Centre. Just behind is the tiny two-floor wooden house where Mao Tse-Tung lived May-July 1920 – today it is an art centre. Another key to the hotel’s success is the 800-strong hotel team, who all seem to be not only professional but absolutely charming – were I writing a TripAdvisor comment I would commend Liz Wan for her thoughtfulness.
And I would also commend whoever actually thought out, and agreed, the feel of the bedrooms. Notable points include having unique ceramics, real ones, in inner-lit lucite boxes outside each room so that you know instantly which is your room without having to peer for barely-visible numbers. Inside, you can see, and immediately operate, buttons for window blinds, lights and other necessities. You do not have to hunt-the-safe. The iron and board, hidden from view, are in a narrow, pull-out structure similar to storing dry goods back home. Bathroom lighting is more than satisfactory for make-up and contact lenses, and so on and so forth. No wonder this is a luxury hotel with over 35% repeat guests. NOW WATCH THE CLUB LOUNGE VIDEO, BELOW