Thursday, 26 September 2013

Travel: China Part 2: Shanghai Part 1

For the first length of our stay in Shanghai, we stayed at Chateau Star River in New Pudong.
Folks, this hotel is ridiculous.

Ridiculously big, ridiculously unnecessarily big...

Did I mention big?

The hotel is kind of renaissance styled, with dominance of gold colors, marble tiles, and carvings throughout. It is located in New Pudong, a relatively newer area in Shanghai. Perhaps the architect/designer intended this to be renaissance/european, but somehow I came to think of this hotel as very grandiose chinese - with unnecessarily big spaces, big corridors and aisles to anywhere, and just very huge-huge-and-huge. The hotel was almost empty, if not for the corporate travelers (including us).

Ok, well, you have had enough of me blabbering about the size.

Although it is definitely a 5 star hotel and also geared towards business travelers, hardly any of the staff - apart from the concierge/reception - could speak English. We did not have any trouble communicating with the receptionist. But what if you need to ask your cleaning lady for an extra towel? Or if you need to ask that lovely elevator wait-staff which way to go to the gym? Or when suddenly the room internet crapped out and you needed help from their IT guys to provide assistance (in fact, it happened during our stay, which is a shame for a so called 5 star hotel)? Forget it.

Room is large. Larger than your usual 5 star hotel rooms - especially for Asian countries' standards. The bed is huuugeee... . They actually combined two double beds into one massive King bed. Heck, I don't know if the bed should be called King size anymore. It is humongous.

Amenities a-plenty, you get everything from sewing kits, toothbrush & toothpaste, and loofah. There is also a small Nespresso machine complete with daily replenishment of Nespresso coffee capsules for you to enjoy your coffee in-room.

Big bath overlooking the room, and there is a small TV mounted behind the bathroom mirror - so you can enjoy your bath while watching TV.

Despite a bit of communication problem, service is faultless. We received a small box of white chocolate everyday, as well as personal cards with lovely daily messages from the room housekeeper (that also contains weather forecast for the next day).

There was still work undergoing outside our rooms though, and the workers kept working until late (7 p.m.-ish). If I did not have to go outside the room for work purpose, I think I would have gone nuts from the noise.

Over with the room, we are onto the facilities in the hotel. Outdoor pool and indoor pool, and lovely koi fish pond just located across the outdoor pool.

(Fish is a very essential part in Chinese culture. It symbolizes abundance and luck)

Then the usual gym, which is considered mandatory for hotels with at least 4 stars and above I guess...

Then billiard rooms, table tennis rooms, and mini golf rooms... (yep, plural... There are a few of those for each type).

And then yoga room and dancing room.... . Okaaay... . a bit unusual but I guess not unheard of for a 5 star hotel... .

Then we have indoor squash rooms (again, plural)... . which at this point I was already having a hard time picking up my jaw off the floor.

And then they also have indoor (yes, indoor!) badminton courts and tennis courts.

I guess because the hotel is located fairly away from Shanghai's CBD or tourist area, the management tries to provide as much facilities as possible for their guests to use so they don't feel bored? Not sure, but when we stayed there, we have not seen anyone using any of those rooms (apart from the gym and the indoor pool).

It is still a very good hotel, despite the slightly pretentious feel and depressing emptiness during our stay. There are a lot more to improve if they are going to boast this as an international hotel.

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