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Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental
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Reviewed January 26, 2012

This is an update from my review on Feb 20, 2011.

Came back because: 1)still a better value than the Meridian (my 1700 rmb/night included suite, breakfast and club access as opposed to 2500 rmb at the Meridian for the same package), 2)The constant feedback from the GM (Mr. Niesel) on this site had implied that the management was going to be very receptive to customer feedback and that my previous concerns would be addressed. See below for the details:

The good: I won't rehash what others have said (including myself in my previous review), the grounds, furnishings, bathroom accessories (Hermes branded) are luxurious and top-notch. The bedding and every detail (even Sofitel symbol pressed into ashtray sand on every floor) is what I would expect at a luxury hotel. I also give kudos to the hard-working and detail oriented cleaning staff who made our suite spotless each day, scheduling around our children's schedule. Check in and check out was fast and smooth (although, unlike other reviewers I was not there during a busy time so I cannot comment on when the front desk is busy). Daily turn down service, complimentary pastries on check in, everything involved with 5 star treatment! Happy hour at the club great. BUT....

The bad: Upon arrival to our room we discovered that the heater did not adequately heat our room. Maintenance had to be called after which the heaters started working correctly, interestingly BOTH heating units (we had a suite with two rooms) had to be adjusted, both just happened to be broken? Or both turned down to save costs? The dinner buffet- 268 rmb per person plus 15% surcharge- and only coffee, tea and water included- not even juice or soda! And as others have mentioned the cooking stations- sushi, pasta, carving station woefully understaffed, you basically had to yell into the open kitchen and get someone's attention before you could get any of these services. During busy times in peak season I could easily see this situation turning into long lines and unsatisfied customers. Happy hour also had food stocking issues, basically food not restocked until serving stations empty which meant calling downstairs and getting more food brought up. If you want to eat at happy hour, get there early would be my advice.

The very bad: Now which is worse: Management that replies to every Tripadvisor review, giving the impression that they are proactively addressing complaints- but then no evidence of this is apparent when you actually go, or simply not replying at all? I would say the latter. It would seem that Mr. Niesel takes every complaint seriously and makes every effort to retrain and improve the services of the hotel, but from the repeated complaints this doesn't appear to be the case. Maybe it's better not to reply!

Case in point: See my Feb 2011 review for background details.

We came again hoping to be able to enjoy the pool during winter. The pool was AGAIN disappointingly cold; we promptly complained- we complained to three staff and got three different replies: 1)It's broken and will be fixed tomorrow (the same reply we got last year) 2)We'll turn it up and it will be warmer tomorrow. 3)The temperature is fine. This time, based on last year's experience we got the manager- a Mr. Mathieu (French?). His reply? "Thank you for letting me know, I just checked with the staff and they said it was fine, I'll make sure it's warmer".

Well, this probably explains something- if your management depends on STAFF feedback to gauge how things are doing, of course everything will always be fine! It's not staff that you should be asking but the *customers*! Will the staff volunteer that they are getting complaints about the temperature? Probably not.

The next day the pool was slightly warmer but our children's teeth were still chattering after 45 minutes. Lest you think it's only our family, there were several other Chinese families that were also wrapped in several towels because of the water and air temperature in the pool area. The day after, back to freezing cold.

Now I don't expect you necessarily to change a whole pool's temperature based on one family's preferences since some will want it hotter, some colder- you can't please everyone. But at least have staff trained to address the issues consistently, not to make up answers. And the Manager on duty should have gotten more information to get feedback instead of promising that it will be 'warmer' and leaving it at that. He also very enthusiastically encouraged us to contact him for any other concerns but quickly walked away without leaving us any way to find him again.

Am I being picky? Well, if you want to market yourself as a 5 five Western luxury hotel and charge us for it, have service to back it up.

Second example: We wanted to plan a trip to nearby Sculpture Park, because we had Club access we engaged the "Butler" who was suppose to meet our various planning issues. Question 1: We don't want to eat there, can the hotel arrange a to-go/picnic lunch, reply "Ask the downstairs restaurant", Question 2: I know you can find us a taxi ride there, but what if we can't find a taxi back?" Reply: Ask the concierge. I hope they are not paying these "butlers" too much.

To the concierge: Can you help arrange a way back for us since it may be hard to hail a taxi from the park entrance? Reply- There's a hotel there, just find it and they can get a taxi for you. "Where is this hotel?" Don't know "Are you sure they will help us"? Yes, don't worry. "What if the hotel isn't near the park entrance? "No other way to help you".

Had issues with the concierge before, posted complaints and had Mr. Niesil reply. But again, not much difference. My advice? Better to seem like you're not reading the reviews, than to post that you are reading our complaints but still have the same issues over and over.

We did overall enjoy our stay, don't misinterpret our complaints, but would recommend people go with the proper expectations, to not be shy about getting management involved since that seems to be the best way to get the results you may expect. I still think from a grounds and facility point of view, that there are few other places that can match this place in terms of tangible things like rooms and grounds in Shanghai, but the service is still lagging far behind the claims of being 5 star and certainly the price. Just prepare yourself and enjoy the scenery if not the service!

Room Tip: Club on 5th floor, best to be on the same floor
  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank bearfamily777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2012

Our family visited Sheshan Sofitel during Chinese New Year holidays. The hotel itself is quite new (3y), nice decoration and comfortable rooms. Location is really out SO of Shanghai.
The room rate is high, like a 5 star hotel in central Shanghai, and out of the free swimming pool and the gym, be ready to pay for any option: 300 RMB for tennis at night, 350 RMB for dinner...
Too expensive!

  • Stayed: January 2012
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1  Thank AsiaTrottersChina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 20, 2012

Looks good from far but far from good! Apart from the nice decoration of the lobby, rooms, restaurant and karaoke, there are some killing details showing a poor management.
Evil is in details... As for example the dust, waste and hairs remaining behind my room door for more than a while. Front desk people hardly talking To me in English and so slow. Corridor carpet full of stains. No bell boy willing to help to carry our luggage upon our arrival...
Food at the buffet restaurant was good, with nice choice, but cooks were not really available at their station (pasta)...
So overall experience was not bad but better to not expect any specific requirement as probably employees will not understand and consider the request as they did with mine.
It was to cold for outdoors. Therefore The swimming pool is under maintenance... Chinese way:open access and dirty construction site!

  • Stayed: January 2012
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2  Thank caroennico
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Hong Kong
31
Reviewed November 11, 2011

The room is located near the elevator and at night the noise of the machine located at the upper floor affected the sleeping quality. During the evening , try to take the food at the hotel, the 2 western resturant being in a mess as suddenly many groups of customers arrived. Check with the Chinese resturant , seems it is more for expensive deluxe dinner for groups people party. Really not good for dinning at the hotel.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SofitelSheshan, General Manager at Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental, responded to this reviewResponded November 21, 2011

Dear Guest,

Thank you very much for your review and for bringing to our attention the less than satisfactory experience you have encountered while recently staying at our hotel.

We apologize for the inconvinience we made during your staying period and the said circumstances which had been pointed out to me have been discussed with the Department Heads concerned.The issue will be resolved as soon as possible.

We also kindly suggest if you have any problem during your next stay, please feel free to contact the duty manager at anytime.

Thank you once again for taking the time to review your experience and we look forward to welcoming you again to Sheshan.

Best regards,

Damian Niesel
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 26, 2011

the location of the hotel is so close to the city center (40mins) and yet you feel like you are out of the hustle and bustle of the city, checked in at a club room, amazing facilities - great design of contemporary style mixed with local chinese culture (typical of good sofitel hotels). The club lounge was spacious, Happy Hour was not too well organized, but still was worth it. The hotel would be amazing in the summer months with the huge swimming pool they have running all around the hotel. All in all, amazing facilities, ok service. Would go back

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with friends
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1  Thank QueenDinChina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SofitelSheshan, General Manager at Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental, responded to this reviewResponded November 3, 2011

Dear QueenDinChina,

Thank you very much for your kind review highlighting your positive experience while recently staying with Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental.

I am very delighted to see that you were satisfied with our facilities and enjoyed your stay.

We have also taken note of the shortcomings you mentioned and we will make more effort to improve our service. We hope you can have an even better experience during your next stay in our hotel.

Thank you once again for taking the time to review your experience and we look forward to welcoming you and your friends during summer at Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental so that you could fully enjoy our magnifique outdoor swimming pool.

Best regards,

Damian Niesel
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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