We used TA for booking this hotel and were not sure what to expect as there were some mixed reviews. Overall, it was a satisfactory stay for us, but of all the hotels we stayed at in a one month stay in South East Asia, it would rank near the bottom. Here are both the pros and cons as we saw them.
Yes, the hotel is a lovely old mansion with beautiful architecture. The rooms, while small, have beautiful, lush carpet and lovely period furniture. The sleeping room was tight, with little in the way of space to store clothes (almost none) and little in the way of space to put things. The best feature of the room was the large bathroom, which had a nice shower and a full size jacuzzi tub (an excellent feature save for the jacuzzi jets did not work). The bed was comfortable and the linens were nice.
The hotel is well located, a short distance (500m) from a metro stop on the excellent and cheap Shanghai metro that we used every day. It is down a quiet street and there are lots of restaurants and bars nearby. It has lovely gardens out front (but no where to sit to enjoy them) and is quiet once you are inside the walls.
So, that is the good, here is what we didnt like. Breakfast is served only in the room, even though they have plenty of dining facilities. Normally, room service would be nice but the room was so small that you essentially have to eat on your bed. That would be tolerable if the breakfast were great, but it was awful, the worst we had in a month of breakfasts included with hotels in Asia. We tried both the Chinese and English style breakfasts and they were terrible. First we started with the Chinese breakfast and were happy to see it included won ton soup. But the soup was bland, with only a few wontons, no greens and it was complelely cold. It was inedible. Also served was a terrible tasting juice, cold coffee and they forgot cream and sugar. The next day we opted for the english breakfast hoping that that might be better, and again we got cold coffee, dry toast and uncooked bacon and sausage. It was so uncooked that it was not edible. We are not fussy eaters - we eat street food with locals when we travel, and are game to try anything. This was simply bland food served cold two days in a row. The last morning we mentioned, politely, these things and especially asked that they please try and cood the bacon and sausages. Same result, uncooked food served cold. We gave up and went out for wonton and dumplings on the street.
The other complaint I would have was actually mentioned by several other reviews. And that is that they do not seem interested in their guests. Each day we were there, there was some important function going on - one day it took up the whole lobby and it was awkward coming in and out of the hotel as you felt you were intruding and in the way. There were tons of staff running around and catering to all of the attendees at these functions (who could not have been guests as the hotel is very small and there were so many there) and again it seemed we were in the way. I have no problem if their business model is to cater to local businessmen for business events that are more important to them then travellers and tourists, but if that is the case, then don't take in travellers and tourists. Otherwise, accomodate them and make them feel welcome. We never felt like the staff were there to provide services, and the few times we asked for information we got little in the way of assistance.
Another small point. We arrived early in Shanghai (6:00am) and I called about an early check in since we travelled over night. They accomodated us but only after we agreed to pay a half day room rate (and were politely told that that did not include breakfast that day - we didn't realize that that was actually a blessing). Over the course of our month in Asia (which included Vietnam, Laos and Camboida), we often had early check ins and late check outs, and were never charged and were always accomodated. Yes, the hotel did allow us a later check out (1:30om) for free, which we appreciated, but if the room had been available when we checked in, they could have offered it up for free. This compared to a hotel we stayed at in Hue, Vietnam which gave us a free room upgrade for three nights, and one in Hanoi that offered a free room upgrade for one night.
Lastly, and this to me was inexcusable, the hotel does not have any public computers to use in the lobby or elsewhere. We were travelling only with an iPhone (to keep our luggage size down) and had been using hotel computers everywhere to check flights, do research on what to do in the town, make reservations etc. They did offer us a laptop for one hour to use in the room (they wanted to charge $30 to use longer than an hour!) so we tried that, but it was old, would not load properly and was essentially unusable. We asked about an internet cafe - an annoyance to have to go to every time we wanted to go online - but they could not tell us where to find one. Come on Pei Mansion! Buy a couple of computers and put them in the lobby for your guests. It is inexcusable in this day and age, and at the price charged for the rooms, not to have computers available.
This could be a very, very nice hotel. It is a beautiful building and money has been spent on furnishings, but as one earlier reviewer noted, they havent seem to have figured out that they are running a hotel`and that service matters. Nice furniture and architecture does not make a nice hotel. It is only a start. As it stands now, we would not go back to this hotel and would not recommend it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Originally built in 1934, the building was designed for the family of the famous architect I.M. Pei (Louvre Pyramid, Paris). The PEI Mansion with its lush garden, is a luxurious oasis set in middle of downtown Shanghai. With its unique historical heritage, the PEI Mansion captures the essence of old Shanghai, a period when this great city was considered the ‘Paris of the Orient’. The building design reflects this wonderful by gone era with its graceful fusion of Classic French and Asian architecture that made Shanghai one of the world’s most beautiful and elegant cities. ... more less
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