Shanghai is home to one of the most famous Hyatt hotels in the world, the Park Hyatt. While that hotel is great, it’s Hyatt on the Bund across the river that flies under the radar and delivers superior value.
When visiting Shanghai, there are a handful of Hyatt properties from which to stay. The Park Hyatt Shanghai, a boutique property nestled some 90 stories in the air amongst the most iconic skyscrapers in the city, is a beautiful but austere location, perfect for meetings but not ideal for visit.
Hyatt on the Bund is close enough to both downtown Pudong (the central business district) and is on the popular waterfront (the Bund) though is slightly removed from the boardwalk. It’s maybe a ten-minute walk or, as I found out, a $2.18 Uber fare to get to the boardwalk that looks further away from high up. There is not a lot of commerce and restaurants immediately in front of the hotel and it is a little tough for Uber drivers to find. This is a good thing, however, as the hotel is not littered with touts trying to offer massages, discount souvenirs or laser pointers which apparently are all the rage this year.
Pulling up to the hotel, there is a grand entrance. It’s clearly a statement property. There is a glass awning some 30 feet over the driveway and 10 foot tall Hyatt letters let you know they aren’t shy. Walking into the front doors, the hallway opens up to a massive foyer perhaps 150 foot wide with a three-story open atrium.
I was greeted by Neil – and if you go to this property find Neil – he knows everything. Excellent spoken and written English skills, with a very welcoming disposition. He asked me about my stay, was this my first time in Shanghai, the basics. He also mentioned that the fitness center (he could tell that I worked out clearly…) was well equipped and described it along with a 25’ meter full regulation swimming pool, sauna and hot tub. I later found out I wouldn’t need the hot tub.
I asked Neil about getting a specific type of dumpling that, if you haven’t tried it you really should, called Xia long bao or soup dumplings. I will go in depth on those in another post, but here I just wanted to mention that I had been recommended a couple of places to try and he suggested the hotel restaurant. I was skeptical but Neil was awesome, so I just went with that. I will cover the dining experience in a separate post.
He also went over all of the Diamond benefits including where breakfast would be and that the cocktail hour was extensive and “not to be missed”. He also suggested that I check out their bar on the 32nd floor with “the best view of the Bund in Shanghai”. To say that Neil liked where he worked, would be an understatement, but that’s great, his enthusiasm was infectious. He mentioned that as a Diamond member he was able to secure me a suite, I thanked him and took my bags upstairs.
I love when you come to the end of the hallway to find your suite sharing a private entrance with one other room.
There is just one suite per floor, and I felt very fortunate that I got Neil at check in and that there was one available. Walking in the door, you can tell it’s a great suite.
There is a large light feature that leads left to a hallway or straight to the desk. Left of the desk is a living room area and the whole space faces floor to ceiling windows that face the Bund boardwalk. There’s a large TV and the area would be great for entertaining if you were in town for a meeting with colleagues or business partners.
Opening from the hallway and from the living room, the bedroom faces the beautiful skyline of downtown Pudong. From bed, you will have a full view of the Bund river, and the ships passing by. There are a TV and a chair with ottoman next to the window.
Getting up early in the morning provides a beautiful scene. The fog rolls off the river which is barely visible except for the occasional passing barge filled to the top with coal. As the sun starts to burn off the fog, the clouds roll back and the city is revealed to you.
It’s not often that I talk about a corridor when reviewing a hotel room. There was artwork throughout the hallway and it ran through every room which can keep whatever areas you would like private and separate should you have guests over. It also has a tea and coffee station, a mini bar, and storage for food and beverages should you host others or if you were to stay for an extended period of time.
Opening opposite to the bedroom from the hallway is a massive double vanity bathroom which can be closed by two large glass doors. The toilet is in a separate room to the left of the sinks, and to the right of the sinks, you have the jacuzzi and shower suite. The jacuzzi features a TV with remote, bath salts, room for at least two and a view of Pudong and the Bund. There is also a rain shower separated from the jacuzzi by a small glass partition that offers views of the water, or for the adventurous, there is also balcony – a rarity in Shanghai, or Asian city center hotels generally.
Opening off the bathroom and the hallway was a closet that was fit for a celebrity. My lonely carry-on rested at the back by itself and shows the massive size of this room and the luxury of having an entire room which to get dressed. Between the bathroom and closet, there was a large mirror and drawers perfect for my wife to get ready before going out to dinner. Inside the dressing room was a pair of high-quality robes, some kimonos, slippers, a safe. A lot of care went into that design of this suite and it seemed to come out from every corner.
The Nespresso coffee makers seem to be a tradition of the Park Hyatt line, but this franchised property installed it in my suite as well. There is a significant quality increase over my Keurig at home and every time I leave a property that has one I think to myself that I should just go home and order one (update, I did).
There was a lot to love about this property. It is my favorite of the Hyatts in Shanghai (I have not yet visited the Grand Hyatt Shanghai) because it offers a great view, location, price point, and service. I still felt comfortable walking around in a t-shirt and jeans, and that’s important. At the Park, I felt like I needed to dress up to go to the lobby. I am not a fan of that. And while the Park might have been more refined in certain aspects, the inconveniences of being 90 floors up and removed from the action – it’s not for me. If you are in town for meetings the Park is probably better, but if you are in town to visit friends, or for a holiday, Hyatt on the Bund is my preferred property.
Have you been to the Hyatt On The Bund? Do you have another favorite hotel in Shanghai?