The first time I stayed in a Park Hyatt was in Melbourne and that was because rates in Park Hyatt Melbourne are some of the most reasonable in the Park Hyatt brand of hotels. I am not their most frequent clientele, but that stay made me aspire to visit many of the Park Hyatt hotels around the world. On the other hand, Park Hyatt Shanghai did not really made an impression when I visited a few years back as I found their service standards to be lacking for a luxury hotel. I would even refer to their service as stiff and impersonal.
Fast forward to 2012 and I had the opportunity to redeem Hyatt Gold Passport points for a free night’s stay in the hotel. A stay in what was once the world’s tallest hotel when it opened (a title that has been surpassed by the Ritz Carlton in Hong Kong) seemed to be a great choice. Park Hyatt Shanghai itself is located in the upper storey of the Shanghai World Financial Centre or known as SWFC in short and 上海環球金融中心 in Chinese. A discreet entrance by the side separates the hotel component from the busier office sector, and this ensures privacy. In fact I think the value proposition of Park Hyatts are boutique luxury rooms providing residential feel at locations in major destinations. They are hotels that don’t attract attention from the outside, and have a relatively smaller number of rooms, meaning don’t expect to see them as a conference hotel anytime soon.
Getting to the hotel from Pudong Airport was simple enough, as I took the maglev and then a taxi from the Longyang Road Station which took no more than 40 minutes, including the wait for the maglev train.
Check-in for the hotel is done in the 87th storey and the hotel has an indoor swimming pool at the 85th storey and restaurant at the 91st storey while rooms are located in any floors between 79th and the 93rd floor, though the upper floors are reserved for suites only if I am not wrong. Thus unless one is Hyatt Diamond, expect to get rooms between the 79th and the 86th floor. The ultra-fast elevator whisks one into the lobby from the ground floor pretty fast, and the lobby is pretty busy and a little bit small for a luxury hotel due to tourists seeking to enjoy the views without paying for the observatory. Before checking in for my stay, I was sent an email asking me to upgrade if I want a view of the Bund, but I do know that there is actually no difference on rates with respect to the views for rooms in this hotel. The best situated rooms faces the neighbouring Jin Mao Tower and the Pudong business district, and that’s where guests want to stay at. This is because the other side can actually be viewed from the Water’s Edge Spa swimming pool on the 85th floor.
I didn’t really remember the room number I was provided, but it was one with a great view. Lower level rooms are also slightly more spacious due to the tapered architecture of the hotel. Entrance to individual rooms are also pretty private, though they are shared by 2 rooms, and unlike the feel of traditional hotel corridors. Entering the room, one can get a glimpse of the Jin Mao Tower if they get a room facing the northwest. The large bathroom separates the toilet from the shower and sink area, and being developed by Japan-based Mori, the toilet features the automatic hygiene system by Toto, similar to the ones in Kempinski Hotel Indonesia. The shower area is very spacious with a large tub with some Japanese onsen accents. Bathroom amenities are by Aromatherapy Associates, with a really nice relaxing scent to it.
Another great feature I like about hotels these days is the presence of a Nespresso machine as I have grown accustomed to having a cup of Nespresso a day. Because I like Nespresso coffee so much, I’ve to say that I might even choose hotels that have them!
The room itself was very nicely decorated – simple, clean lines but with the inclusion of Chinese furnitures and had a great furniture arrangement with the bed facing the views. After all, with the views, why would anyone need to watch the TV? There was also a very comfortable daybed by the windows to maximize the sun coming in during the afternoon.
One of the differentiating factors that makes me re-think the value of this hotel was the huge closet space which was more than ample to place my luggage out of sight and also provide individual storage for 2 person. Very few hotel manages to do that these days. The quality of amenities were also very useful, including a long wooden shoe-horn, which I use, and appreciate. There were also very nice postcards and key access cards with artistic black and white scenes of Shanghai. Similar to the Park Hyatt Melbourne in this regard.
For the duration of the stay, I managed to try out the Water’s Edge Spa where the swimming pool is located at, and because the stay was complimentary, I decided to splurge on a massage in the hotel. The massage was alright, and not my favourite kind since I prefer foot reflexology any other day. The swimming pool staff though was fantastic in being proactive in offering towels and directing me to a nice seating area with fantastic views once again!
However, the test I use most often to differentiate hotels for their quality is the breakfast offering. I remember liking Hyatt Regency Sha Tin and the W Hong Kong for its breakfast, and the one offered by Park Hyatt Shanghai was spectacular. Breakfast is served at the 100 Century Avenue Restaurant which is on the 91st storey and being early, I had managed to get seats by the window, essential if one wants to have breakfast with a view. There were made-to-prepare Chinese noodles, a Japanese breakfast corner, and the usual western choices. Like many hotels in China, fried dough sticks are offered with soybean as well. For beverages, specialty coffees are also offered along with smoothies and juices. Overall, the breakfast truly wrapped up the whole point of staying at Park Hyatt Shanghai.
For the short duration of the stay, I did not really received exceptional customer service except from the swimming pool staff. Overall I still find the service lacking though there seems to be some improvement. However the setting of the hotel, simple furnishings that work along with its fantastic views would probably make this hotel one of my favourite!