The Peninsula Shanghai Review- Luxury Hotel on the Bund
The bustling lanes of Shanghai are quiet on this mid-winter Saturday morning. Our taxi weaves past low-rise stone buildings before taking a sweeping arc of driveway, depositing us at the entrance of The Peninsula Shanghai, a 235 room luxury hotel.
Nestled on a prime corner of the famed Bund- a boulevard of historic Art Deco buildings – The Peninsula Shanghai oozes luxury. Flanked by beautiful gardens on one side and the water of Huangpu River on another, standout views reaching across to the incredible skyline of Pudong.
Yet The Peninsula Shanghai is actually a new building on the block. Opened in 2009, this luxury property holds true to the groups heritage- first impressions affording a glimpse to the standards we have enjoyed previously at The Peninsula Hong Kong and The Peninsula Tokyo. Soaring ceilings, majestic pillars and floral arrangements are reminiscent of the flagship Peninsula Hong Kong, during our visit I regularly remind myself the property is just six years young.
The occasion for our visit is birthday brunch for the husband. However I cannot step foot in a hotel without also wanting see the rooms and behind the scenes.
But first to the breakfast, similar to an army – this family marches on its stomach and cannot budge without being fed.
The Lobby is as busy as you would expect on a weekend, yet not overwhelmingly so. Breakfast/brunch is served from 6.00-11.00am – offering a buffet selection and the choice of a plated meal – a great idea, as much as I enjoy a holiday buffet it is nice to be served. Cost is 190 Yuan per person (about AUD $54) representing excellent value, this includes tea, coffee and juices.
Choices are extensive and take some members of our family a (very) long time to make their choice…
We all order different meals, a toss up for the standout dish between the Shanghai Crepe and the Wok Fried Egg Noodles.
Looking slightly stunned, the males in my family agree to a photo.
Offerings on the continental buffet are good, just not great. However after our superb plated main there is little room left in our tummies. Time for a walk to explore the rest of the hotel…
Having spent the good majority of my professional career conducting hotel or destination inspections, I can tell from the first few moments if I am actually going to get to the essence of a hotel. Are staff members genuine, do they add flavour and bring the property to life? Yes and yes – service is attentive and respectful.
Given the majority of my readers are looking for a family holiday option I want to get straight to the heart of what is on offer to keep kids happy and let parents relax. In my experience it is rare to find city hotels that deliver enough to keep them amused…
A great place to start is the pool – with access to an outdoor balcony overlooking gardens, this is a pool you really want to play in and gets a big tick from the kids.
A gym with an aspect is a good thing too, so when you trot along on the treadmill you don’t feel you are on the road to no-where. Strangely I do use hotel gyms a lot, probably something to do with eating more than usual and needing to keep that in check.
However regardless of the wonderful facilities, the hotel room is where we spend the most time. We want comfort and space to spread out, sightseeing is tiring and travelling as a family has its challenges. The Deluxe River Suite did not disappoint, unique Peninsula touches throughout (furnishings are reminiscent of 1920’s era Shanghai), beds I want to dive into, and those bathrooms…
Complete with my favourite Oscar de la Renta products and of course, the ‘nail dryer’. The genius of this addition gets me every-time, the husband cannot quite understand my excitement. But that is the point isn’t it, little touches ensure all guests are catered for.
‘Little Touches’ also means access to fantastic coffee, I don’t open my eyes without a steaming cup delivered bedside…
The husband likes to push buttons… and the room has so many to choose from (keeping the teens in our family happy too);
humidity control, air filter control, a charger for electronic devices next to the bed (where apparently everyone wants it to be…by listening to customer feedback, the in-house research and development team took four months to rebuild the bedside cabinets to accommodate this request. Now that is customer service…).
Curtains are vertical to allow for total blackout. In the bathroom automatic controls lower the music level if there is an incoming call. My favourite extra is the Valet Collection cupboard – place your dirty linen in, press the service button – bingo, two hours later your garments are returned. Now how to replicate this at home…
The general ambience of the hotel is one of opulence, not a minimalist vibe at all. However in comparison to other properties in Shanghai (lots of glass waterfalls and reflective surfaces) the furnishings work well. Contemporary art works lining the walls save the property from being too conservative – light filters in, creating a feeling of space.
On this visit there is no time to sample the Peninsula Spa, however the reception room alone offers a glimpse into the heavenly offerings. If you do go – drop me a line and let me know what I missed out on…
Three restaurants and two bars are available.
The Lobby where we enjoyed brunch.
Sir Ellys – billed as Modern European with a ‘French twist’.
& the Rooftop Bar and Terrace – not open during our visit as it is Winter, I can easily imagine it would be the place to sit in Spring with a Gin & Tonic – and that view…
The Peninsula Shanghai’s nightspot, Salon de Ning is lots of animal prints, silks and fabulous chandeliers – I feel like I am on the set of a Buz Luhrmann ‘Great Gatsby’ production – a stunning room.
Yi Long Court’s is the location to sample Hong Kong-style barbecued meat and live seafood cooked to order.
A particular genius is an exclusive Chefs’ Table, it can be booked for up to eight people – from this private room, windows look into the kitchen – we are fascinated to watch chefs prepare the meals.
A shopping Arcade is home to 20 boutiques – with a penchant for ‘bears’ The Youngest makes a beeline for The Peninsula branded shop, my arm is twisted and the “Peninsula Bear’ comes home with us. The Chanel Boutique is more to my taste – but with family in tow further browsing has to wait for next time.
The Peninsula will not suit all families, however if a Five Star hotel is on your holiday menu then this property ticks the boxes.
Combining facilities and services to ensure a memorable stay, in a great location – the Bund area is easy access to many attractions of Shanghai that our ‘older kids’ are interested in – stepping outside the hotel is not as frenetic as in other parts of Shanghai, less overwhelming, more relaxing.
The Urban Mum’s test for hotel standards is “would I return…” – to The Peninsula Shanghai I would…
** brunch was kindly provided by The Peninsula Shanghai for the purposes of this review. The Youngest was meant to reimburse me from his pocket money for the Bear…that hasn’t happened…yet.
Thanks to my Papa, who travelled with us and kindly shared his photos