I want to start by saying that I have been to Shanghai before and was aware that this hotel was not in the prime location of the Pudong financial district. This was a personal trip and I stayed here because the room rate was almost half that of the InterContinental at Pudong. I have previously stayed at the InterContinental and the Courtyard Marriott in the Pudong area. My feeling was its a 5 star property, how bad can it get? and I was willing to make the 20 minute taxi ride into the Pudong area. I was totally wrong -
1. Checkin experience - They said they could not find my reservation, even though I showed them an email confirmation. Made me wait for 20 mins (I'm fine with it, software glitches can happen) but what got to me was they did not have the courtesy to say either thank you for your wait or sorry for your wait. It felt like they were doing me a favor by giving me a room.
2. Checkout experience - They made me sign 5 or 6 sheets of paper. Seriously? In this age when most companies are trying to go green you need to have my signature on 5 sheets. I did not have any room service or use the mini bar. I just stayed there for a night. In addition to this, there is a tendency for people in China, India and some other countries to jump the line while waiting. I am aware of this but what got to me was the lady at the checkout counter did not follow the protocol at other branded global hotels and locations to check me out first when she had acknowledged my presence in the line previously. Again, no sorry no apology. There was also a gentleman smoking in the checkout line and I'm assuming being a 5 star property you should not be allowed to smoke wherever you please.
3. Concierge - Limited spoken english skills (which is again fine), but could not provide any assistance or recommendations to grab dinner int he Pudong area. I have been to Shanghai twice previously and I had more knowledge about restaurants or malls with restaurants in Pudong that the two guys manning the concierge area. They can only call a taxi for you, don't expect any recommendations. This was my experience, maybe there are other people at the concierge desk who are more knowledgeable.
4. Front desk - During checkin I enquired about the spa services at the hotel. They had no brochure or even a phone number for me to call the spa. It looked like the spa service (which is on the 6th floor) was part of some other hotel. At other 5 star or even 4 star properties when you like to use some other service, the concierge or the service provider (like spa, tours, etc) call you to your room. I got no call from the spa service, infact I had to go to my room and call the operator later in the day.
5. Spa - Room had no brochure about the services and the rates. I called to enquire about their services, they gave me a brief overview, prices were fine however we were going to head out into the city so I told them I'll call back if I needed to use their services. They called me back at 11:30 at night to ask if I needed a massage. Who does that at a 5 star property!!! Any inclination of using the spa service the next day went away with that one call.
6. Water clog in the sink - When you are running a hotel mechanical, electrical and plumbing issues are bound to happen. I am not going to ding them for that. What got me was the guy who came to resolve the water clogging in sink used one of the room towels. Thats not the issue, the problem was he left the towel that he used to clean all the mess in the bathroom. Why would you leave a soiled, wet and dirty towel that was used to wipe out the clogging in the bathroom?
7. Air conditioning issue - At night we felt the room was just not getting warm enough for us. They sent a technician who said it might take time for the room to reach the 26 deg C temperature that we were hoping to have. It was at 18 or 19 deg the whole day. He suggested we get a heater, made a call to the front desk and left. In 5 minutes (kudos for that), a lady appeared with the heater, when I opened the door she just handed me the cable of the heater and left. I would have expected her to push the heater into the room and hook it for us, again wishful thinking or maybe I've been spoiled by my stays at InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and the Marriott's of the world.
Well everything was not bad, one star for the size of the room and cleanliness even though the bedding was a little worn. WIFI was free and the speed was good. We asked for a universal adapter which was sent up promptly and so was the plumbing guy to resolve the sink water clogging.
Hotels are in the hospitality business where courtesy and service are two critical parameters for being successful. You are there to make the stay comfortable and memorable. If I was staying at a one or two star hotel I would not expect more, but this coming from a property termed as being a 5 star is outrageous. I would suggest spending the extra money and staying at a InterContinental, Crowne Plaza or Courtyard. They are in Pudong area but more importantly the service resonates with the brand name.
And yes, all this for a one night stay.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Plaza Royale Oriental has a fine range of elegantly furnished guest rooms, conference rooms, function rooms, western, Chinese and Japanese restaurants, bars, and an International Spa and Fitness Centre. With a high standard of superb personalized services our aim is to provide you with a “home to come home to” where we delight in delighting you. As mainland China’s first Plaza Royale brand and Howard Johnson International’s flagship hotel in the region, the 522 room luxurious 5-star Plaza Royale Oriental Shanghai is located prominently on Pudong Avenue facing the Huang Pu River, a stone's throw from many CBDs and renowned landmarks. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Wyndham Grand Plaza Royale Oriental Shanghai Hotel Shanghai