A couple of years ago at Chiva-Som in Hua Hin the gal met up with Joy Menzies, the uber-luxury health resort’s walk-the-talk MD. She now has her own company, DSM, which stands for Destination Spa Management, and, here in Shanghai for ILTM these last few days, she has been extolling wellness essentials. These include mind relaxation, good nutrition, sleep, and movement. Ha ha, up in the 85th floor wellness area of the luxury Park Hyatt Shanghai there was a young man, Louis from St Louis, breakdancing to keep fit – see the video below. That is something different, and definitely a change from the monotonous half hour or so of non-stop jogging machine pounding that must damage not only foot muscles but also minds of some extreme exponents.
But there is nothing mind-numbing about this skyscraper hotel, on the 79th to 93rd floor of the 101-storey Shanghai World Financial Center SWFC in Pudong. It is designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox KPF outside, and like Mandarin Oriental Guangzhou, by Tony Chi inside. I feel at home as soon as I am greeted by the hear-no-evil, see-no-evil, speak-no-evil trio way down at the ground floor arrival area, and it then takes 54 seconds for the elevator to rush me up to the 87th floor lobby (I later check and it vies with Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong’s lifts, which take 58 seconds to get up to that hotel’s 103rd floor lobby). Down, in another elevator, to suite 8304, I try breakdancing, even before unpacking. Thank goodness there is no-one watching, but even a drone could not take a photo right now as there is a white-out outside.
At 83rd floor level, when it rains outside you are likely to be shrouded in cloud, but who cares? Over dinner in the sensible, no doubts-about-it Dining Room, the Marseillais GM Etienne Dalancon is smiling. He has taken the calibre of hotel guest spend up considerably, added seven percent to the average rate and plans to take 2015’s average occupancy from 74% to 75%. I toast his success in a glass of Ridge 2013 Geyserville Zinfandel, to go with a fabulous wagyu ribeye from Shogo Takeda, in South Australia.
And then, what a joy, I am invited to the inner sanctum of this luxury hotel to see Etienne Dalancon’s office, where he keeps some of his cookbooks, all signed by the culinary authors. Pride of place is Yannick Alleno’s self-published tome, which costs €1,500 and weighs 13 kilos – wow, every page is an A3-sized artwork (the credits list a couple of dozen photographers in all). Time for bed. I dream about breakdancing. I also dream that a miracle will occur, that the weather will change and in the morning, when the sun comes up around 5.30 a.m, as is the usual hour right now, that the sun will be shining once again.
In case that does prove to be only fantasy, I will once again practise breakdancing. If you want to see what I mean, see Louis from St Louis.
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW.