This hotel is also known as the Oriental Bund Hotel if you book through a third party travel site, as we did. Hotel staff actually recommended this manner of booking, rather than directly through the hotel.
This hotel was probably the Queen of Shanghai when it opened some 15 to 20 years ago. It is a world class business hotel in construction and layout. Unfortunately, time is quickly passing it by. Other newer hotels have emerged, but none so nice, (with such a low price), are in this immediate area.
We booked the river view room, and the view is still spectacular. Nearby construction will at some point block the view, but fortunately, the pace of construction seems to be extremely slow. You may still have another year of unobstructed river views.
The room is huge. Even with the king bed, the space is luxurious. Added to that, an office alcove is located to the side, equipped with a rather large desk and wired complimentary internet. This makes the room more into a junior suite, without a door to the office area, however. A full closet, with bathrobes and slippers, glass shelved electric kettle area, a refrigerator stocked with the typical minibar beverages, (but enough room for your own purchases), and a well appointed bathroom stocked with plenty of those complimentary toiletries, indicate that this hotel was meant for serious business travelers in its heyday.
We paid about $90 US per night for our 5 night stay. This is an absolute bargain for this kind of accommodation, and was an outstanding headquarters for our Shanghai stay. Staff is reasonably friendly, (considering that this is Shanghai), and when you check out, they WILL send a housekeeper to your room to make sure that you have not looted the minibar. Therefore, allow a little extra time for checkout.
The hotel restaurant, while billing itself as western, does not really offer any western items for dinner. The breakfast is also likewise more Chinese than western. Nonetheless, I found an adequate array of items so as to not leave hungry. My Singaporean Chinese wife rather enjoyed the selection of Chinese items.
If you are taking a taxi to the hotel to check in, the address, 386 Renmin Road, is not the front door of the hotel. That address will actually put you in front of a nondescript array of shop stalls, and could be disconcerting. Not to worry, as the actual entrance of the hotel is around the corner on Yong An Lu. The lower floors of the building seem to be used for light industrial, and the hotel lobby is on the 8th floor.
If you want your hotel to be located in the upscale district surrounded by trendy bars and nightspots, this is not the hotel for you. If, however, you want to see life in Shanghai today, then the Xingyu is centrally located. From our room, we could see rows of small flats, and walking to the north, you can examine these modest homes.
About 3 blocks to the south is the Yuyuan Garden, and surrounding it, what I call the Yuyuan Garden Shopping Center. This is important if you want to know where the closest Starbuck's is located, as well as money changers who seem to offer fair exchange rates.
About two blocks west of the hotel is the entrance to the Shanghai Metro Number 9 line. It is very inexpensive, and quite easy to buy the single ride tickets. In the upper right corner of the ticket machine is a button to select English. We used the Metro quite a lot, and it is probably the best way to get around as there are currently 10 lines with more seemingly on the way.
In summation then, until the new construction blocks the view, the Xingyu Hotel offers plenty of amenities at an extremely valuable price. Despite these limitations, we would definitely recommend the Xingyu Hotel for your first visit to Shanghai.