The Park Hyatt is the premium luxury brand of the Hyatt Chain, and positioned itself as premium luxury hotels in same class as Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton. Occupying the 79th to the 87th floor of the Shanghai World Financial Centre, the Park Hyatt Shanghai can boast of being the highest hotel in the world with the fame and novelty to go with it. It is also the most expensive hotel you can find in Shanghai with starting rates comparable to and in most case exceeding the most expensive hotels in Hong Kong. I rarely try any hyatt hotels because my past stays at Hyatts have all turned out to be a total disaster, to the extend that I usually go out of the way to avoid this chain. However, despite my previous several unpleasant experience with the Hyatt Chain, this hotel is generating enough hype that I was eager to give this hotel a try just to see if it does live up to it’s reputation.
Bad arrival experience
Unfortunately, from the get go, history seems destined to repeat itself. My arrival experience at this hotel left me unimpressed, unwelcome, underwhelmed and annoyed. On arrival, a bell boy ( which strangely was dressed smartly in tie and suit ) took my luggage bag and I was shown to the hotel’s speed elevator, which whizzed quickly in less than a minute to the 87th floor. The lobby indeed was quite...The Park Hyatt is the premium luxury brand of the Hyatt Chain, and positioned itself as premium luxury hotels in same class as Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton. Occupying the 79th to the 87th floor of the Shanghai World Financial Centre, the Park Hyatt Shanghai can boast of being the highest hotel in the world with the fame and novelty to go with it. It is also the most expensive hotel you can find in Shanghai with starting rates comparable to and in most case exceeding the most expensive hotels in Hong Kong. I rarely try any hyatt hotels because my past stays at Hyatts have all turned out to be a total disaster, to the extend that I usually go out of the way to avoid this chain. However, despite my previous several unpleasant experience with the Hyatt Chain, this hotel is generating enough hype that I was eager to give this hotel a try just to see if it does live up to it’s reputation.
Bad arrival experience
Unfortunately, from the get go, history seems destined to repeat itself. My arrival experience at this hotel left me unimpressed, unwelcome, underwhelmed and annoyed. On arrival, a bell boy ( which strangely was dressed smartly in tie and suit ) took my luggage bag and I was shown to the hotel’s speed elevator, which whizzed quickly in less than a minute to the 87th floor. The lobby indeed was quite impressive, but the weather was foggy hence not doing justice to the view. The check-in desk seems to be understaffed and there was a queue forming for check-in, not a good sign of a supposedly top-tier luxury hotel.
Upon check-in, I told the check-in lady staff that I have earlier requested by email for a room facing west towards Puxi and Jinmao tower which has the best view. I was immediately told this room wasn’t available because the hotel was “fully booked” but I’m sure she did not bother to check. Then I was told breakfast wasn’t included in my room rate ( it was ) and only after showing my booking, then she relented. Next she spend several minutes staring at her computer screen apparently “hunting” for a suitable room (??? ). Finally, I was next told the room wasn’t ready because they have to “put some fresh fruits” in the room first. And I was assured it would only take 5 mins and she will informed me once ready and show me to my room. I was invited to wait in their “living room” which is the hotel lounge. After 10 mins passed, no sign anyone is coming. Frankly, I’m not used to waiting at all for check-in when staying at luxury hotels. If it’s Holiday Inn or even a Hilton, fine, but this is the Park Hyatt. So I approached the front desk again asking where’s my room and was dismayed to find out that apparently, the room was ready a while ago, just that the lady who checked me in left the desk and forgotten that I was still waiting at the lounge. Another staff then handed me the room keys and wish me a good stay. No escort to room or they must have forgotten.
Upon entering, the room at first glance was indeed very impressive. It’s cutting edge modern contemporary and remind me of another hotel with similar styling, the Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong. However, a quick check on the room and I soon noticed significant wear and tear. Worst, the showerhead have ugly brown spots and the bedsheet have some brown stains. Yucks! Totally not acceptable! I immediately called Guest Service to complain and was promised they will send someone to check and clean it soon. Looking around the room, I hunt for the light switches and couldn’t find them ( it was hidden beside the bed ) and I couldn’t find the lights for the toilet cubicle which was very dark. The remote for the TV is hidden so I couldn’t switch on the TV. A lot of stuff are just not very intuitive in this room. Someone should have shown me the room being my first step here.
Another 10 mins passed and nobody come to my room yet to attend to my complaints. Also, my luggage wasn’t brought up. It’s starting to irritate me. Calls to guests service several times and they will say “I will check” but it’s a different person answering the call each time, which means I have to repeat the story. Getting seriously annoyed, I started to ask for the Manager on Duty. Shortly after, the assistant manager showed up and apologized, and promptly got the room cleaned and arranged the luggage to be brought up. The duty manager also came to apologize, and offer another room which has a better view and in much better condition ( much less wear and tear ). I took the opportunity to lecture them that since Park Hyatt positioned itself as a top-tier luxury 5star hotel ( and they certainly priced accordingly ), such service hiccups and housekeeping sloppiness are totally unacceptable. Furthermore, as a first time guest, I should be escorted to the room to explain the technology and features, not left me to figure things for myself. Both were very apologetic and said they will feedback my comments to management.
I booked a Park King room which measures a spacious 50-55m2 and decorated in cutting edge contemporary style. Everything feels very zen and there is a great view of Puxi and Jinmao tower. Unfortunately, it was quite foggy during my stay but that was not the fault of the hotel. I particularly love their closet design which has really cool lighting feature and each door can be folded inwards for easy accessibility or covered for privacy. There isn’t much furniture in the room, just a TV, a nice work desk, a day bed by the window and a small side table hence it feels very spacious. All the usual hotel amenities ( toiletries, towels, stationary etc ) are there but kept out of sight, hidden in boxes or behind doors which make the room feel uncluttered but frankly gets rather annoying at times if you are a first time guest hunting for stuff. The bathroom has dual vanity and a separate “wet room” which houses a fabulously large rain-shower and large tub. Strangely, the toilet cubicle was housed in a separate compartment away from the bathroom. There’s also a coffee machine and a safe. The room is also whisper quiet, evident of great sound proofing.
One feature missing is a in-room A/V system, surprised the hotel didn’t invested in one. The room features extensive mood lighting, which can be dimmed or brighten individually. Once I figured out the light function, it’s rather pleasant to use. The bed is very comfortable, feature silky smooth bed linens and face the windows. I had a great night sleep and it’s such a wonderfully elating feeling to wake up and draw back the curtains ( automated by the way ) and see the the entire Shanghai city below you.
Overall, it’s a very design driven room and indeed very gorgeous looking. It ranks easily as one of best hotel rooms I have ever stayed in. My few complains are the lighting is inadequate in the entrance foyer ( a bit dark and claustrophobic ) and the wetroom keep splashing water everywhere once the taps are on. Also, the toilet cubicle is quirky, with an accompany sink so shallow that I splashed water everytime I used it. The DVD player and iPod dock for some reasons are located at the bottom of the TV cabinet so one have to bend down to access it.
The hotel is gorgeous throughout. Everything is cutting edge contemporary luxury and the owner obviously spared no expenses to decorate the place. Clever use of partitions, mirrors and other ingenious design elements transform the place literally into an oasis of calm and a haven of luxury and style. The restaurants follow the same trend, although the 91st floor 100 century avenue is way more flamboyant. The Living Room ( ie the hotel main lounge ) boast the best view of Bund in Shanghai ( provided weather is fine ) and also served drinks and snacks. An excellent place to relax and / or meet guest. Also, it appears that the hotel is the “it place” for well-to-do or new money Chinese to hang around, all of them eager to flaunt their wealth but unfortunately some of them lack the class and manners to go with it. It’s quite common during my stay to see businessman talking loudly into their mobiles or parents letting their toddlers scream their lungs off in the lobby and spoiling the tranquil atmosphere.
I really like the food in this hotel and all the food served at all the food outlets are uniformly excellent. I had a quick afternoon snack at the Living Room and had the best tasting spring rolls I've ever eaten. The 100 century avenue restaurant is the highest restaurant in the world and have amazing 360 deg views of Shanghai. It served Japanese, Chinese and western with live cooking station. I had dinner there and food quality is excellent but very expensive. The dinning room serves buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. I find the breakfast good but lack selection. Items like waffles, pancakes are conspicuously missing. Service at both restaurants are attentive. No complaints here.
I also visited the swimming pool and small gym at the 85th floor. The pool looks really inviting and with surrounding cabanas it has a very resort feel.
This is one area where the hotel is lacking, as evident from the arrival experience. Also, there is inconsistent service level provided by the staff. Some are more friendly and helpful while a few acts so pretentiously that they are probably thinking we should be thankful to be staying at their hotel. In particularly, I find the front desk or the reception to be really inadequate, incompetent and snobbish due to my check-in and check-out experience. The need to wait for check-in was particularly unacceptable for a hotel of this class. Also, they appeared to be frequently confused while staring at their computer screen, not sure why.
After my strong complaint on arrival, the Duty Managers did their best to recover from the service hiccups including switching to a more pleasant room with a much nicer view. I was also offered a complimentary limo ride to the airport by the Duty Manager as compensation for the “inconvenience” I experienced during check-in. This is a much appreciated gesture since the limo ride was very comfortable indeed in a brand new S-Class Mercedes. But even this, the frontdesk staff managed to be confused over this. Apparently, instructions weren’t passed down efficiently and I was first told the limo wasn’t arranged and they need to reconfirm if it’s complimentary. And strangely, the limo managed to appear at the last minute. Hmm…. English proficiency is another weakness. I could barely decipher their English and end up speaking mandarin to them most of the time. However, this is understandable in China where English wasn’t widely spoken by most people.
Another service that isn’t up to task is the housekeeping which I find rather sloppy. I can easily spot traces of dirt and stains all throughout my room, on the taps or any shiny surfaces especially. Once again, hotels that positioned themselves as top-tier luxury hotels like Park Hyatt should deliver rooms which are spotless.
The Park Hyatt is designed and built to be a distinguished and unique luxury property. Certainly, throughout most of my stay and when things run smoothly, it does delivers a luxury experience befitting the Park Hyatt name and among the best I have experienced. Unfortunately, it does not have the necessary “software” to match the top notched hardware. The service staff, esp the frontdesk needs to improved. Perhaps my bad experience during arrival was an unforeseen and one-off hiccup but I’m judging this hotel based on it’s price and class. Despite the admirable attempts at service recovery by the hotel managers, it ultimately fails to deliver a perfect experience to merit my top rating. I’ll give it a 4 out of 5. Having said that, I will really like to return to the hotel again, perhaps when the weather is better and the view nicer and hopefully they work out all the service quirks by then.More
- Free Wifi