Well well well, there are new luxury hotels opening in Shanghai, and, on your behalf, the gal is happy to report. First, this very Saturday, June 18th, 2016, is the launch of Wanda Reign on the Bund, a Preferred Legend hotel. It stands at the far end of the Bund, with spectacular views along it, as to the left. This amazing hotel cost a total of three billion renminbi for a mere 193 rooms and suites, which works out at US$2.2 million per room. Looking at the fittings inside, and at such details as bathrooms’ precious-stone holders for tissues and tooth mugs, and one imagines the same spend on luxury as at, say, Radisson Royal Ukraina in Moscow.
The 21-floor building is designed inside and out by Wanda Dalian’s own team of architects and designers. Bedrooms have all-wall windows, fascinatingly still banded by horizontal metal bars that must be held in place until the inspectors for whichever one of the 74-plus necessary licences have been to visit. I hope they too, all those inspectors, are open-jawed at the arrival. My Mercedes, with excellent WiFi, drew alongside the kerb of Zhong Shan Dong Er Road and I was greeted by Boris Blobel, the GM, and some of his colleagues. Inside the vast, and I mean football field-sized, lobby my eye was drawn to the end painting, behind us in the photo upper left. I turned to see another amazing painting – at the top of this article – of a view along The Bund, each ‘person’ a protruding blob of paint, as if thrown on haphazardly.
Head up in the elevators to see rooms, with magic walls, clear or frosted, between bath and bedroom. Head further up to the rooftop, emerging to a symphony of colour on the floor (left). You now arrive at MARC by Marc Meneau, one of two restaurants which Marc Meneau will oversee – this one is a white grotto, with wedding-cake protrusions coming down from the ceiling and lots of silver. Chinese tend to eat early, and after dinner this space turns into a night club. I then went down to the ballroom, the largest pillarless space imaginable, with a 825 sq ft LED screen, and daylight views of The Bund. Tonight, as it happened, Zanadu.com was hosting a pre-opening party here, and I was able to watch the rehearsals for their awards ceremony. I did not, sadly, have time to find out about Club Reign, which will offer Wanda’s loyalty members even more exclusivity.
Next, I heard about W Shanghai – The Bund, opening April 2017. Here the 374-room hotel, in a 38-floor tower near the North Bund next to the cruise terminal, has lots of memorable points. Between this tower and its neighbour, for instance, there will neon-outline art looking like laundry hanging out to dry. The main eatertainment deck will have both inside and out. One of the top suites, called Cloud on The Bund, is double-height, and the bed hangs, like a bird cage, from the ceiling – not only that but it revolves, at will. The imagination of GA’s Terry McGinnity and his design colleagues seems to know no bounds when it comes to luxury hotels.