Mandarin Oriental Pudong Shanghai, right on the Huangpu river across from the cruise terminal, stood in a bit of a wasteland when it opened in 2013. Now this is a rejuvenated and lively part of town. When the gal first visited, going for a walk along the river bank felt decided other-world. Now there is not only a paved towpath but a separate driveway, marked for joggers and walkers and, separately, for bikers, with inbuilt hills along the path for added calorie usage. Early on a Sunday morning locals of all ages are out taking exercise. Go along to the old warehouse that is anchor of this Harbor City area, with brewhouses and other cafés.
All this activity is reflected in the hotel, which runs smoothly in the way that honestly, most luxury hotels onlychieve with time. It helps in this case that Clemens Hoerth, GM of the 362-room property, spent two years h aeading HR, or talent. Only 26 when the then-boss of the Bristol in Berlin asked him to be the people leader, he was much younger than many of the long-established line employees. This experience taught him a lot, he admits. He knows that the people who make any hotel work basically want to be treated as family, and this is especially true in China.
As in all hotels in China’s big cities, the line employees are in many cases far from home and their hotel has dormitories for them. The hotel therefore becomes a surrogate family, and if all goes well all the team members can work like a well-tuned orchestra. Having been in and out of China for well over a decade I am invariably impressed by how fast service levels have risen. This time, dinner in Fifty 8° Grill by Richard Ekkebus, a comfortable New York-feel restaurant overseen by the culinary director of Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, service was so good I cannot remember it..
I do remember the superb black squid-ink bread that went with my Stockyard Wagyu MB5+ oyster blade, and a glass of Cantena Malbec 2017. And I will always remember the great collection of books in the second floor Club (there was a most useful Fenshui Bible). The Club lounge is open 24/7 as is the fitness centre, with a good array of Technogym. This is a hotel that knows today’s modern-luxury guests do not want to be bored: they are always coming up with something new. Last week they announced their own FAN, loyal guest Paris Wang – above – a local fashionista and blogger who has, says Clemens Hoerth, been a loyal guest of the hotel since it opened in 2013.
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