As Beijing prepares for the 2008 Summer Olympics, the rest of China is getting ready for the overflow. With an estimated 550,000 overseas tourists and 2.58 million domestic visitors streaming into the capital, there is bound to be a huge number of travelers adding components to their trips. One of the major add-ons is sure to be a visit to the cutting-edge city of Shanghai.
Shanghai is well known for its rapid, though measured, development. One hotel opening on the horizon includes The Peninsula Shanghai, which is scheduled to welcome its first guests in September 2009. The hotel will front the historic Bund area within the exclusive Waitan Yuan, with views of the Huangpu River, Pudong and the former British Consulate Gardens. Also, Banyan Tree announced that it has secured the management of a new, exclusive waterfront boutique hotel. The property, which is scheduled to open in 2010, will rest on one of the last available waterfront sites along the Shanghai Bund.
An impressive view of the lobby at the Grand Hyatt Shanghai.
A new cruise terminal is nearing completion on the Huangpu River in downtown Shanghai, which is scheduled to open for business later in 2008. Construction of the cruise terminal, on a 541,339-square-foot site, began in 2004. The annual capacity of the terminal will be 1 million passengers, and three mid-sized cruise ships will be able to berth simultaneously. The terminal occupies an ideal position opposite the Lujiazui financial center and is about a thousand feet from the Bund, which provides the terminal with a great location, convenient transport links and easy access to surrounding tourist attractions. International cruise ships started visiting Shanghai in 2000, and the city is gung-ho on developing its cruise business. In 2007, 47 ships and nearly 100,000 domestic and foreign cruise passengers passed through Shanghai. This month, Royal Caribbean Cruises started operating cruises from Shanghai, using its 2,400-passenger ship Rhapsody of the Seas. Shanghai currently has a facility for larger cruise vessels at the Waigaoqiao Terminal, 18 miles from the city.
Meanwhile, Shanghai currently offers plenty of top hotels. The Grand Hyatt Shanghai has been singled out in the 2000 Millennium edition of the Guinness Book of Records as being the tallest hotel in the world. The hotel crowns the 88-story Jin Mao Tower, commencing on the 53rd floor and rising to the 87th. The property’s 12 Grand Deluxe Riverview Rooms are popular with guests. These have floor-to-ceiling windows with 180-degree vistas, which include the Bund, the Huangpu River, and the Shanghai Oriental TV Pearl Tower (the city’s iconic landmark). These rooms also have oversized double-sided closets with access from both the bathroom and bedroom. Grand Riverview Deluxe Room 6015 has particularly exceptional Bund views.
The Grand Riverview Suites have all of the elements of the Grand Deluxe Riverview Rooms, with the addition of spacious living rooms and separate work areas.
The hotel has a total of 226 connecting rooms. If you have a large family traveling together, consider booking them into a connecting Grand Suite and Grand Room Twin room. This will give the family a living room, bedroom with a king or queen bed for the parents, bedroom with a twin bed for the kids and three separate bathrooms.
The hotel’s spa, Club Oasis, has nine treatment rooms. Deep Tissue Body Massage is considered the spa’s signature treatment, and Ms. Wei holds the title of most popular masseuse. For advance spa reservations, contact Champion Fang, assistant manager of Club Oasis (86-21-5049-1234, ext. 8947, [email protected]).
The hotel has 11 food and beverage outlets serving various types of cuisine, including Japanese, Italian, Canton, American Grill and Shanghai. Of these, Club Jin Mao-Shanghai Cuisine Restaurant, on the 86th floor, offers authentic Shanghai cuisine and 360-degree city views. For those unfamiliar with Shanghai cuisine, it typically consists of fish, eel, crab and chicken combined with alcoholic spirits and then lightly steamed or served raw.
The general manager for the hotel is Peter Chau (86-21-5049-1234, ext. 8630, [email protected]); however, agents with special requests are directed to contact the reservation desk (86-21-5049-1234, [email protected]).
Revamping the Ritz
The Portman Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai is in the midst of upgrades and room renovations, which are scheduled for completion this month. Guests will find new Deluxe Rooms, refurbished Executive and Penthouse Suites, and the largest Presidential Suite in the city at 1,640 square feet. They’ll also discover a new Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge, a new restaurant called Tables, a refurbished business center and a residential Hospitality Suite for up to 30 guests. In addition, wine dinners are held regularly in Palladio Italian Restaurant.
A well-appointed guest room at The Portman Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai.
The property’s new Shanghai Rooms have a spacious layout and boast such perks as a sweeping expanse of Italian marble that extends from the entrance to the bathroom and 32-inch LCD TV. Rooms in the numbers 11 to 20 series enjoy a view of Nanjing Xi Lu, Shanghai’s main shopping street. The hotel has 50 connecting rooms. The two-bedroom Penthouse Suites are also good for families traveling together.
The Club Level rooms and suites afford access to The Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge, where five food-and-beverage presentations are served daily. In addition, guests can avail themselves of one complimentary suit-pressing upon arrival and complimentary use of the meeting room for one hour.
Rainer J. Burkle, area vice president and general manager (86-21-6279-8896, [email protected]), can field agents’ VIP inquiries. Travel agents can also contact Adam Yuan, assistant director of travel trade (86-21- 6279-8888, ext. 7051, [email protected]).
The hotel’s spa has five treatment rooms. The most popular treatment is Chinese Traditional Massage and Kin Chen is the most-requested masseuse. Agents can book treatments for clients ahead of time by contacting Sean Chua, The Ritz-Carlton health club manager (86-21-6279-8888, ext. 5922, [email protected]).
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts will open two luxury hotels in Shanghai in 2011. The properties will be part of the Jing An Kerry Centre, a new business, retail, entertainment, dining and conference complex on Nanjing Road. The 347-room Jing An Shangri-La, Shanghai will open mid-2011 and will occupy the top 24 floors of a 58-story building, while the 600-room Shangri-La’s Jing An Kerry Centre Hotel, modeled on the company’s Kerry Centre Hotel in Beijing, will open at the end of 2011.
Meanwhile, the Pudong Shangri-La in Shanghai is going great guns. One of the hotel’s selling points is its prime location on the eastern bank of the Huangpu River, adjacent to the Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower.
The Deluxe Bund Rooms in the River Wing and the Premier Bund Rooms in the Grand Tower go fast. All rooms in the River Wing and the Grand Tower have picturesque views of the city and waterfront. River Wing rooms with the best views of the Bund are those with numbers ending in 01, 02, 03, 26, 27, 28, on floors 7 through 28. Grand Tower rooms with picture-perfect views are those in the Premier category, with room numbers ending in 58-61, on floors 13 through 35.
The hotel has three Presidential Suites: two in the Grand Tower and one in the River Wing. The two Presidential Suites in the Grand Tower (Shanghai Suite and Pudong Suite) have the best views and measure 660 square feet. The suites have living rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows running along the length of one wall. The adjoining dining room seats 10 people with views of the Bund. The master bedroom—and its oversized bathroom—affords picturesque cityscape views of Pudong.
The Grand Tower has 39 connecting rooms and the River Wing has 65 connecting rooms. Of the hotel’s 12 restaurants, the main establishment, Jade on 36, has a wine list of more than 600 vintages. On occasion, Rare Vintage Wine dinners are held for up to 12 guests.
CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La, has nine treatment rooms, all of which are suites. The most popular therapist at CHI is Kelly Ji. The CHI Origins product line is an exclusive range of spa products. All items reflect the spa’s foundation in Chinese and Himalayan healing therapies and are available for purchase. Make appointments ahead of arrival by contacting Spa Director Mary Yip (86-21-6882-8888, ext. 7600, [email protected]).
The general manager is John Rice (86 21 6882 8888, ext. 6001, [email protected]), but agents can reach out to Antonio Wang, assistant director of sales (86-21-6882-8888, ext. 6369, [email protected]).
Entry Requirements: U.S. citizens need a visa to enter China. The fee is $50 for a single-entry visa. A visa should be applied for one month before the applicant departs from the U.S.
Currency: Yuan. At press time, the rate was $1 to seven yuan.
Language: Mandarin is commonly used in modern China. Most of China’s 55 ethnic groups have their own language.
Electricity: 220-volt is used throughout China, although four- and five-star hotels are wired to accommodate 110-volt appliances.
Departure Tax: Departing China, there is a 90 Yuan (around $12) departure tax. Departure tax on all domestic flights is 50 Yuan (around $6.50).
Tour Operators: A partial list of tour operators with programs to China includes Abercrombie & Kent (800-323-7308); China Travel Service (U.S.A.) (800-899-8618); GTS Globotours (800-988-4833); IsramWorld (800-223-7460); Orient Flexi Pax Tours (800-545-5540); Pacific Delight Tours (800-221-7179); Pleasant Holidays (800-448-3333); SITA World Tours (800-421-56430); Ritz Tours (800-900-2446); Uniworld Grand River Cruises (800-733-7820); and Viking River Cruises (888-505-7984).
Contact: China National Tourism Office