On the Rise

The Pudong Shangri-La Hotel’s Tower 2 makes for a deluxe addition

By: Norman Sklarewitz

With an expansive gesture worthy of a Las Vegas showroom emcee, the manager hit a switch to part the heavy window drapes.

A floor-to-ceiling glass expanse awaited behind the curtains, revealing a night vista of the famous Bund, the busy Huangpu River and, in the foreground, a dazzling high-rise building.

“There’s your Shanghai,” he proclaimed with dramatic effect that also reflected major civic pride.

This sort of enthusiasm is endemic in Shanghai which, without question, has become China’s most important and dynamic center for commerce and industry. And the potential hasn’t been lost on the top international hotel organizations.

A case in point: the recent opening of the $138 million, 375-room Pudong Shangri-La Tower 2. The structure, completed in September, adjoins the original Shangri-La built in 1998, which is now referred to as Tower 1.

As far as the public and certainly the trade are concerned, “there is just one property, and it’s Pudong Shangri-La Hotel,” said Alan Briere, Shangri-La’s area director of sales and marketing.

A five-story building that features six upscale retail outlets, a ballroom (Shanghai’s largest) and business center, seamlessly connects the two structures. While there are two entrance driveways and separate check-in areas, all administrative, reservation and accounting functions are completely integrated. The main distinction between the two towers comes in terms of rates.

The opening of 36-story glass encased Tower 2 brings the room inventory at the Pudong Shangri-La Hotel to 981 and makes it the largest of all 48 Shangri-La properties and the largest deluxe property in Shanghai.

For marketing purposes, Tower 2 is positioned as part of a single complex, and the structure ups the already high Shangri-La standards a couple of notches.

For example, Shangri-La claims that its Premier category rooms in Tower 2 are the largest of any Shanghai property, averaging 581 square feet. In all, Tower 2 offers a selection of 15 room categories, ranging from Executive rooms at 430 square feet to the Pudong Presidential and the Shangri-La suites, each 2,162 square feet.

Corporate travelers often stay on the five Horizon Club floors. The well-appointed Horizon Club on the 29th floor offers members an elaborate complimentary breakfast each morning, beverages and cocktails all day and a variety of canapes and sweets served between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The room is open from 6 a.m. to midnight, and Horizon guests may register and check out at the reception desk there.

All Tower 2 rooms are expensively furnished and smartly designed. Muted wall coverings set off polished, dark teak wood panels, and the large bathrooms and entrances are decked out in white marble.

Tower 2 also features eight restaurants and bars, which range from the sophisticated Jade to the sushi bar and a small coffee shop on level one. Other outlets include the Yi Cafe unique even for Shanghai. The cafe is a collection of 10 open kitchen areas, each specializing in a different type of mainly Asian cuisine Malaysian, Indian, Japanese, Thai along with Western, Moroccan and Middle-Eastern, plus a deli and ice cream station.

Here, clients dine buffet-style for $25 at lunch or $35 for dinner. Another T-2 feature: The Bar offers one of Shanghai’s largest collections of single-malt whiskies.

Whatever your clients crave, the Pudong Shangri-La delivers.

Hotel Checklist

Pudong Shangri-La, Shanghai
33 Fu Cheng Lu, Pudong
Shanghai 200120 China

Hits: The hotels sits in the heart of the recently developed Lujiazui Finance & Trade Zone within the Pudong (“east of the river”) District where the new Stock Exchange is located along with dramatic-looking office and residential towers.
The staff is both pleasant and efficient.
Misses: Despite the hotel’s high-tech amenities, phone service was spotty. Incoming recorded phone messages on several occasions cut out. Fortunately, the telephone operator was able to retrieve the calls. The hotel’s administrative staff does not have voicemail on its phones, making for uncertain contact at times.
Be Aware: The hotel is about an hour from Pudong International Airport. Access to the Puxi (“west of the river”) District, which is metropolitan Shanghai, is via a nearby tunnel under the Huangpu River. (While only a short distance away, traffic can be heavy.)
Plugging In: Power is 220 volts. Each room offers a large work area with high-speed Internet connections, and all of Tower 2 is wired for Wi-Fi. Both systems are free to guests. In-room safes are large enough to store a notebook computer.
Clientele: The Shangri-La sees mainly
business clientele.
Rates: Executive Room from $370
Premier Room from $432
Premier Bund from $456
Premier Suite from $740
Horizon Premier Suite from $864
Upgrades to the Horizon floors in Tower 2 range from about $60-$125.
Commission: 10 percent