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Special Report – The Peninsula Shanghai

Before we get into walking you through what is one of the most beautiful hotels in the world, in my opinion, keep in mind Shanghai is the largest city in China with over 24 million people. If you are coming on business for a day or two with a busy schedule, you are best off staying close to where your meetings are. Traffic is not awful, but like any big city at peak periods it can be bad. 

If you are visiting on leisure or have extra time, or this is your first time coming to Shanghai, The Peninsula should be at the top of the list for consideration. It also has a board meeting room with stunning views of The Bund on the west bank Huangpu River. The area is notable for its beautiful waterfront buildings, many of which have been restored. If you are doing a product launch, there is some nice rooftop space, indoors and outside.

The Peninsula Shanghai Review
Credit: The Peninsula

David Lowy, President of Renshaw Travel puts it this way. “If I’m sending somebody to New York for meetings downtown, I’m not sending them to the St. Regis in midtown. If somebody is coming to a meeting for a couple days with meetings in Pudong, they should stay in Pudong. If they are going to the convention center, the Jiang Shangri-la and the Pulli are best (but) if you’re there, and want to walk out it’s not interesting. It’s mainly shopping malls.” 

Of The Peninsula, he says, “Why is it great? The location is unbelievable, on the site of the former British Consulate, they have captured the glory days of Shanghai art deco.” 

In terms of other nearby hotels, Lowy notes, of The Fairmont Peace Hotel, “The lobby is gorgeous and the jazz bar is worth a visit. It’s where I put the people who want a classic feel and atmosphere.” He says the Sassoon Presidential Suite, British and American Suites are worth consideration. He also recommends a visit to The Long Bar at the Waldorf Astoria.

The Peninsula Shanghai Review
Credit: The Peninsula

Back to The Peninsula and private jet users, Lowy says, “If there was ever a group of hotels that appreciates private aviation as deeply as you probably do, it is Peninsula Hotels. Its chairman Sir Michael Kadoorie is an aviation enthusiast and helicopter pilot. He owns both the FBO in Hong Kong and a large aviation management company. All of its Asian properties have helipads and aviation lounges, each a mini-museum looking into the region’s interesting flying history.” 

Here in Shanghai, the hotel opened in 2009. All the materials from furniture and flooring to hangars are of high-quality materials. In an industry that often takes short cuts to save money, it’s impossible to find any skimping here. 

The hotel is Art Deco and combines elegant design, Asian touches and attention to even the smallest detail, such as a glass etching of a crane on the desk lamp.  The location on The Bund in Shanghai is spectacular, with birds eye views of the river. 

Attention to detail is superb. There are lots of convenient power sockets with built in multi-source adapters. In the bedrooms, there are outlets in draws so if you like to keep your electronics near you at night, no problem. There is free VOIP long-distance calling and Internet. Online reviews have some criticism of the quality of the VOIP calls, and it is justified. 

By any stretch this Peninsula is a modern grand dame. Of nearly 1,000 reviews on Trip Advisor, there were only two poor or terrible ratings in the past 18 months with more than 95 percent rating the hotel Excellent/Very Good.  The like it or hate aspect of this and all Peninsula properties is the James Bond 007 technology. 

Lights, drapes, TVs and anything you can think of except water faucets are from touch control panels. If you are the type of person who is happy to flick a light switch or pull open the drapes, figuring out the control panels may not be your thing. That said, they are more or less intuitive. Like most things in luxury, it’s a matter of personal preference. In a country where great service is not necessarily in line with other Asian nations, this hotel does an excellent job.

Accommodations

Lowy says there are no bad suites in the hotel, or any he avoids selling, but rather choice is based on budget and space needed. He praises the design, where he calls bedrooms “the right size…conducive to having a good night’s sleep.” In all the suites, he says, “The closet space is great.” He lauds Peninsula’s “smart use of technology,” pointing out, “The phone not only tells you local time, it tells you the time of the place you’re calling.” Desks include “stapler, paper clips, lined up” while dressing rooms feature nail dryers and valet boxes so you won’t be disturbed when they return your laundry.

The Peninsula Suite

The Peninsula Shanghai Review
Credit: The Peninsula

The 9th floor, the 4,305 sq. ft. Peninsula Suite is the hotel’s two-bedroom Presidential Suite, regularly hosting international dignitaries and celebrities. It features views along The Bund and to Pudong across the Huangpu River and features a two-story grand dining room, living room with a working fireplace and a balcony, study, guest powder room, private gym and a fully-equipped kitchen and pantry. The Suite can connect with a Deluxe Room as a third bedroom. Rate is Yuan 125,000.

The Palace Suite

The Peninsula Shanghai Review
Credit: The Peninsula

The Palace Suite on the 11th floor takes its name from an original Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels’ property, the Palace Hotel of the 1920s. It features an expansive 12,000 sq. ft. wraparound terrace for entertaining, with spectacular views over The Bund and across the Huangpu River to Pudong and beyond. It can accommodate 200 guests for a reception. It is the largest private terrace on The Bund, and also great for all-weather entertaining, launches and events. It has a dedicated entertainment room with a grand piano and a pantry for discreet service. Interior space is 3,294 sq. ft. and rate is Yuan 90,000.

The Majestic Suite

The Peninsula Shanghai Review
Credit: The Peninsula

The Majestic Suite at 2,691 sq. ft. is about imperial luxury and opulence and also harks back to the Majestic Hotel that was part of the origins of The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited, Peninsula’s parent company. There are double-height ceilings and decorative fireplaces. A private balcony overlooks Pudong, while the double-height dining room can seat up to 12 guests. Rate is Yuan 85,000. Location is the 9th floor.

The Astor Suite

The Peninsula Shanghai Review
Credit: The Peninsula

The 12th floor Astor Suite takes its inspiration from the origins of The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels’ beginnings in Shanghai with the Astor Hotel. The suite is an homage to Art Deco romanticism and is especially popular with honeymooners, says Lowy.  A landscaped outdoor terrace with seating, a dining area and its own Jacuzzi can be accessed from both the living area and the bedroom. Floor-to-ceiling windows opening onto the terrace give this suite natural sunlight during the day, while mood lighting and views of the lights and atmosphere of The Bund create a great evening setting. A Grand Deluxe River Room may be connected to the 1,249 sq. ft. suite. Rate is Yuan 55,000 per night.

Grand Deluxe Suites

The Peninsula Shanghai Review
Credit: The Peninsula

Grand Deluxe River Suites feature a circular entrance hall with The Bund, Huangpu River and Pudong views from the living room, while the bedroom overlooks the former British Consulate gardens. Size ranges from 1,292 to 1,345 sq. ft. at Yuan 11,000.

Deluxe Suites

The Peninsula Shanghai Review
Credit: The Peninsula

Deluxe River Suites are on the 3rd  through 8 th  and 10 th floors. They have views over the Huangpu and Pudong or the Suzhou Creek and the historic Garden Bridge. The suites have muted tones of chocolate, grey and beige. Size ranges from 1,130 sq. ft. to 1,184 sq. ft. and are Yuan 7,600 per night.

Deluxe Garden Suites

The Peninsula Shanghai Review
Credit: The Peninsula

Deluxe Garden Suites feature views over the gardens of the former British Consulate, and offer a separate living/dining room with a dining table for four and a fireplace. Size is from 1,130 to 1,184 sq. ft. at Yuan 6,300.

Executive Suites

Executive Suites are corner suites with windows on two sides with views of the gardens of the former British Consulate. The Art Deco inspiration is expressed through soft earth tones and plush velvets on the sofas and arm chairs. The entrance foyer acts as a conduit between the living room and bedroom and bathroom, and the suites can also connect to Deluxe Garden Rooms. Size is 958-1,012 sq. ft. and they are located on floors 4 through 10 at Yuan 5,300.

Restaurants and Bars

Sir Elly’s Restaurant

The Peninsula Shanghai Review
Credit: The Peninsula

The rooftop contemporary French Sir Elly’s (named for the group’s patriarch) pairs classic French training and techniques with a selection of Asian, European and Mediterranean-inspired ingredients with spectacular views of The Bund and the ever developing Pudong skyline. Examples of dishes include, Butter Poached Maine Lobster,  Royal King Crab , Slow Cooked Seabass, and Austr alian Mayura Full Blood Wagyu Tomahawk Marbling. 

The Lobby

The Peninsula Shanghai Review
Credit: The Peninsula

Breakfast in the lobby is phenomenal,” says Lowy. Two wall murals by Hong Kong artist Helen Poon were commissioned as one of the major focal points. Based on the idea of the return of The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels and the Kadoorie family to Shanghai and memories of The Bund, the shapes, colors and forms of the murals change at different times of the day, as they unveil the past, not only of the city, but of The Peninsula Hotels. Sweet and savory treats by Executive Pastry Chef Lucien Gautier are featured for afternoon tea, while an a la carte menu offers guests international and Asian favorites. The Lobby Strings play every afternoon before a live jazz band takes over in the evenings.

Yi Long Court

The Peninsula Shanghai Review
Credit: The Peninsula

Yi Long Court’s Cantonese chefs bring a menu of classic fare such as Hong Kong-style barbecued meat, live seafood cooked to order, pan-fried scallops stuffed with minced shrimps in black bean sauce, and Peking duck traditionally served over two courses. An exclusive Chefs’ Table can be booked for up to eight people. There is also a private room (pictured above). While significantly different to the rest of Yi Long Court, the industrial chic design of the Chefs’ Table room features windows looking into the kitchen so diners can watch as chefs prepare and describe a tailor-made menu.

Sir Elly’s Terrace and Rooftop Bar

The Peninsula Shanghai Review
Credit: The Peninsula

Designed in U-shape, Sir Elly’s Terrace offers a 270-degree views over the Huangpu River, Suzhou Creek, Garden Bridge and the Pudong skyline. It’s views rank it as one of the “must go” rooftop bars in the world.

Salon de Ning Bar

The Peninsula Shanghai Review
Credit: The Peninsula

Madame Ning was a glamorous 1920s international socialite. Salon de Ning features animal prints with dramatic oil paintings, draping silks and cascading chandeliers creating a seductive ambience to enjoy cocktails accompanied by live music. “Classic old Shanghai,” says Lowy.

The Compass Bar

The Peninsula Shanghai Review
Credit: The Peninsula

The Compass Bar features cocktails and a menu of bar snacks, including spiced lamb lollipops and mini Wagyu burgers. The Compass Bar’s garden terrace is a perfect al fresco option for finer days and balmy nights.

Meetings

The Rosamonde Aviation Lounge

The Peninsula Shanghai Review
Credit: The Peninsula

“The aviation lounge is like a 1930s Shanghai seaplane terminal. There is no board room I have seen anywhere that is more dramatic,” says Lowy. Memorabilia celebrating the history of aviation in China provides a backdrop alongside views of the city skyline through floor-to-ceiling windows with seating for 24, cocktail space for 50 and access to the rooftop helipad.

The Rose Ballroom

The Peninsula Shanghai Review
Credit: The Peninsula

Featuring state-of-the-art equipment ,The Rose Ballroom can seat up to 430 for banquets and 750 for cocktails.

British Consulate

The Peninsula Shanghai Review
Credit: The Peninsula

One of the oldest buildings on The Bund dating to the 1800s, it has been fully restored, and adjacent to the hotel, is a spectacular venue for indoor and outdoor events on its garden terrace and vast lawn. 

Fitness and Spa

The Peninsula Shanghai Review
Credit: The Peninsula

Awarded five stars by Forbes Travel Guide, the 13,455 sq. ft. spa takes appointments until 11 pm in its seven treatment rooms. There are a wide range of treatments and services, including massage, facials and nail care. There is also a specific menu of treatments for men. An 82 ft. long indoor pool is open from 6 am until 10 pm. The fitness center includes treadmills, free weights, cardio equipment and exercise balls, and is open 24 hours.

Notable

Their house fleet of cars includes a Peninsula Green Rolls-Royce Extended Wheelbase Phantom, special Peninsula Edition 7-Series BMW cars, a vintage 1934 Rolls-Royce, two MINI Cooper S Clubman and a BMW i8 hybrid car. There is also a private yacht, the Peninsula Shanghai Princess, and programming from The Peninsula Academy and Kid’s Academy. Features include, private meetings with local fashion designers, VIP private tours of various museums, including the country’s first auto museum. There is a chocolate making program for kids.

Getting There

There are two 24-hour airports available to private aviation: Hongqiao (ZSSS) where Hawker Pacific operates an FBO, and  Pudong (ZSPD) . Both can be highly congested during peak hours and have restrictions. GA aircraft are limited during the day. ZSPD is primarily geared toward scheduled commercial airlines. ZSSS is north of the city, about a 25-minute drive to the city center, while ZSPD is located to the east of Shanghai and about a one-hour drive into the city center.

Recommended Reading

Lucire – Beauty On The Bund
Conde Nast Traveler – The Perfect Weekend In Shanghai
The New York Times – A Short History of Shanghai

VIP Contact

General Manager Joseph Chong at psh@peninsula.com or +86 21 2327 2888. 

Doug Gollanhttp://douggollandotcom.wordpress.com
I am Editor-in-Chief of Private Jet Card Comparisons and DG Amazing Experiences, and a Contributor to Forbes.com.
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