Hotel Review: Andaz Shanghai
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This is an installment in my series on my January 2012 trip to China. Posts include: Help Me Plan My Trip To China, Flight Review: American Airlines 777 International Business Class to Beijing, Hotel Review: St. Regis Beijing, Beijing Overview: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Peking Deck, A Great Day at the Great Wall of China, Flight Review: Air China 777 Domestic Business Class, Hotel Review: Andaz Shanghai, Trip Report: Terra Cotta Warriors and a Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian, Hotel Review: Sheraton Xian, and My China Trip Wrap Up: China Eastern, Hainan Airlines and the Westin Beijing.
After Beijing and the Great Wall, I was looking forward to seeing a different side to China in Shanghai. Though I originally intended to stay at the Park Hyatt, I decided instead to stay at the recently opened Andaz instead. Especially when I found a room rate of 1,650 RMB ($260) a night…as opposed to the 2,300 RMB ($365) at the Park Hyatt. I considered using points at 15,000 per night, but Hyatt does not count rewards stays towards elite status (nor do they have a Cash & Points redemption), so I decided to suck it up and pay for the stay as part of my Diamond requalification. I generally like to get at least 2 cents per Hyatt point and this one would have been 1.7.
I was also interested to check out the hotel because there hasn’t been a huge amount of coverage of it yet, so it felt really new. While the Park Hyatt is in one of the skyscrapers of the Pudong financial district across the Huangpu River from the Bund, the Andaz is on the same side of the river as the Bund in a district known as Xintiandi, which has tons of shops and restaurants and reconstructed historic streets.
I thought the hotel itself was great. The building looked very cool—sort of like a ‘70’s version of a futuristic building with huge windows along the façade in jigsaw-like configurations. The hotel was originally supposed to open this month, but it had a soft opening back in October, and while many of the 307 rooms and suites plus the restaurants and bars were open, it still isn’t fully operational—concierge services were limited and the Optime Spa isn’t open yet. (Instead, I went to the spa at the Park Hyatt, which took just 10 minutes in a taxi in no traffic on a Sunday, though it can take much, much longer at other times.)
The hotel lobby was really nice, with a an open bar area where I met some friends one night and the service was great (not surprising because we were the only people there). The main restaurant, Hai Pai, is tucked away in the back of the lobby and has a nice outdoor seating area, though it was far too cold on my visit to take advantage.
I had booked a standard Andaz King room and was upgraded two categories to an XL Room, which turned out to be more of a suite, even though I didn’t use one of my Hyatt Diamond suite upgrade certificates. The reception staff was extremely quick and attentive, and got me checked in and up to the room immediately.
The room was definitely more of a suite, and was on one of the corners of the building, so I got views of Xintiandi and the streets below out of the floor-to-ceiling windows. There was also a Hyatt Diamond welcome amenity of fruit and water waiting for me.
The main room just had the king-size bed, some nightstands and a flatscreen TV, while just off it was an office and living room with a huge desk, another flatscreen, and a small, colorful Ikea-like chaise lounge with an attached table. There were dark wood floors throughout. The minibar came stocked with snacks, water, soda and juice, as well as beer, and as with all Andaz properties, all the non-alcoholic stuff was free.
There was also a fairly spacious closet and dressing room area as well as a pretty large bathroom. The vanity had two cool translucent plexiglass-like sinks, there was a separate bathroom, and the rest was a sort of open shower-bath suite with overhead and wall-mounted shower heads and an adjacent soaking tub off to the side.
When I said futuristic, I really meant it. There was adjustable LED mood lighting throughout the room, meaning I could make it not only as bright or dim as I wanted, but also change the colors from pink and purple to turquoise or just plain white. In the bathroom, the sinks and the bathtub glowed with turquoise LED lighting from underneath as well. It’s a little thing, but I really loved playing with it.
The floors in the bathroom were also heated, so no cold feet in the morning, and the toilet had a sensor so it opened automatically when you walked into the bathroom.
Breakfast was included with my stay, so I hit the buffet in Hai Pai one morning to sample the mix of Chinese and Western food, but hey, I was in Shanghai, so I had a couple of late nights and just ordered breakfast to my room one morning instead, which was also a great spread that you can see in the picture.
All in all, I had a great experience at the Andaz and am glad I decided to stay here instead of the Park Hyatt. While it definitely had stunning views of Shanghai the Andaz definitely felt like it was in a neighborhood and a better base for me for an on-the-ground Shanghai experience. I also appreciated my upgrade and all the cool room features and gadgets, and would definitely recommend a stay here.