An American in the Paris of the East


View from Fairmont Peace Hotel, room #221

It's very difficult to care about a 15-hour flight from Newark Liberty International Airport to Shanghai when you are snuggled in a Business Class seat on Continental Airlines, Bloody Mary in one hand and remote with access to dozens of movies and TV shows in the other. (And a handful of Ambien in your purse...but that's neither here nor there.)

I think I have made this point before: I don't care much for flying. Having said that, when it is done like this I'm really a big fan.

After takeoff the passengers in Business Class were treated to nothing short of a feast; I'm talking a five-course extravaganza of breads and salad, a demitasse of more mushroom soup with mushroom pastry and shrimp tempura, grilled pork chops with broccolini and white asparagus, fruit and cheese and an ice cream sundae. This, of course, was incomplete without the endless glass of South African Sauvignon Blanc.

Satiated, though not yet sleepy, I called on my friend Ambien to take care of the rest and was ushered into a very peaceful 10-hour sleep. I only awoke to find a steaming bowl of braised beef with won tons and Chinese broccoli. I swear when we landed I hoped that there was some sort of passport issue and I'd have to be sent back to the States, only so I could relive the experience.

Fortunately for me, the hits just kept on coming.

I'm visiting Shanghai to check out the newly reopened Peace Hotel, which has been taken over by Fairmont and has added a brand new Willow Stream Spa. (Yeah, this is one of those trips where I really, really love my job.)

The small group of journalists were met on arrival at the hotel, which sits directly on Shanghai's swanky Bund, a luxury shopper's paradise (think Cartier, Ermenegildo Zegna, etc.)

I'm staying in room #221, and my first reaction on entering was to laugh. Seriously. All I could think was "I'm a 23-year-old kid from New York....and this is a paradise fit for royalty." The room just kept going! I walked into the vestibule, off of which is a half bathroom, and immediately was awed by the Asia-meets Art Deco-Paris style. The room then opens up into a living room/office/dining area, all with wraparound windows showing off a bird's eye view of the Bund, river and futuristic Shanghai skyline.

Further into the room still I found the master bedroom, vanity/dressing area and bathroom with deep soaking tub (to be used in just a few minutes).

This is my first trip to Asia. So far so good.

Stay tuned as Travel Agent reports live from Shanghai through the weekend.