I was skeptical about staying at a Howard Johnson, since in the U.S. it is associated with lower quality hotels. But this place was fantastic! The lobby was very grand. My room was huge-a sitting room, 1 gorgeous bathroom with shower and tub plus another 1/2 bath. It was spotless. The bed was extremely comfortable. The room was huge, very quiet and had all the necessary amenities.
The staff was very friendly and spoke great English. They exchanged money on-site (not every hotel will). The location was wonderful-in the heart of the action and about 15 minutes walking from The Bund. I had the breakfast buffet for about $17 and it was great. ( heard others say that the dinner wasn't very good, though.) They let me store a bag there for several days for free.
I stayed in another hotel right down the street for more money. It was nice, too. But I felt this hotel was a better value and overall much nicer.
All in all, I would highly recommend this hotel. I wish I had more time in Shanghai.