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“What can I say? Easily the most elegant hotel I have ever been inside!”

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The Peninsula Shanghai
Ranked #13 of 5,206 Hotels in Shanghai
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 19, 2013

I have been to many elegant hotels, but nothing like this. I mean, wow!

This place is decorated in modernized art-deco style that gives it an old-world feeling, but decorations are so fresh and well-executed that it is hard to fault anything at all. The rooms are incredibly elegant and truly welcoming, and the thought that went into designing the rooms and the number of smart ideas inside that make your stay better is simply mind-blowing. I could go on forever about these things, like how the phone shows on the home screen the time in Shanghai and in your home city, or how a console on the desk constantly shows the temperature outside, as well as humidity, UV and wind chill so you can always dress right, to the nail dryer on the dresser in the dressing room!

Then comes the service. This is one of the best hotels I have seen as far as service. The concierge's advice as to where to dine did not disappoint, any request was always attended to promptly, and the man who managed the transportation desk even memorized the flight numbers and departure times by hard. The hotel's BMW 7's are labelled "Peninsula Edition" on the threshold and the back, are equipped with on-board WiFi, and the drivers keep informing you of the time to your destination.

Location on the Bund is probably the best in Shanghai, with views of the pearl tower and the modern side of the city, and many of the city's top restaurants and boutiques a short walk away.

The only item where the hotel under-delivers is the food. Food is decent but does not match the standard that you expect from a hotel of this level.

Would I return to this hotel? I would return to Shanghai FOR the hotel. If you're even in Shanghai, make sure you don't miss the opportunity to stay there.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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2  Thank Khaled A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 16, 2013

My family (wife + 3 kids) and I live in Shanghai. As we live in Shanghai, this Chinese New Year we opted to have a "Staycation" instead of dealing with the craziness of traveling during Chinese New Year. Because we know Shanghai quite well, and have stayed at numerous high-end hotels prior to settling down, we decided to try one of the hotels we had not visited. We had heard great things about the Peninsula and opted for a three night stay given the Peninsula's location on the Bund.

The Positive:
- Location: Hotel is located right on the Bund. Quick walking distance to the "Bund Sightseeing Tunnel" (which is lame, but provides easy access to the Pearl Tower and the other side of the Huang Pu River in Shanghai).

- Staff: Incredibly friendly and professional (with the exception of one bell boy and Chocolate Chef...more on that later down below and in title above)

- Rooms: Clean and modern and nicely decorated. Lots of nice features like adjustable lights, powered curtains, etc.

- Activities: We signed our kids up for 3 activities - Chocolate making, Kung Fu and a Treasure Hunt. My kids loved the Kung Fu class (teacher was friendly and actually taught quite a few moves). The Treasure Hunt was creative (age appropriate for a 3, 5 and 7 year old) and included a visit to an indoor airplane the kids loved playing inside of and ended with a ride in a Rolls Royce. A bit over the top, but for the price we paid (500 RMB a kid for each activity + a 15% surcharge), perhaps not too much over the top. The Chocolate Making Class was good, BUT PLEASE READ THE TITLE OF THIS REVIEW AND BE WARNED IF YOU'RE A GERMA-PHOBE"

- Pool: The indoor pool is beautiful, although VERY cold. The pro on that is there isn't mildew and the indoor pool area isn't muggy.

Negatives:
Chocolate Chef: Chef Dominic was friendly and the kids enjoyed the chocolate class. The big problem, however, was that while we were making the chocolates the chef licked his fingers (full on insertion of finger into mouth) and then proceeded to handle all of the chocolates that my kids were making. He also used his hands to handle the jelly beans that were handed out...and trust me, I watched him the whole time and he didn't wash his hands after licking his fingers. In fairness, my kids were doing it too, but it was their chocolate! Layer on the fact we paid 500 RMB + 15% service charge for each kids, this was pretty disgusting. At the end of the trip the staff asked how everything was and I shared this bit of information with them. They did call and apologize for the incident, as well as compensate us for the chocolate class. Not to sound whiny, but the money wasn't the issue, it was the whole experience left a bad impression on the hygiene used in the hotel as this occurred in plain sight! I should have said something while it happened but I didn't want to embarrass him. When you factor in how much we paid for the whole trip and this was the one event that day, it was very disappointing. To spend over $1,000 US per day on a trip and hope to bring home chocolates only to throw them all out because they were effectively contaminated with the Chef's saliva is a massive disappointment. This by itself brought what was otherwise an exceptional experience into one that was a major letdown.

Pool attendant: There was another kid horsing around jumping from the pool into the hot tub area, which was extremely dangerous (hot tub area is below the below area). Attendants were clueless and did nothing to instill a sense of order.

Bell boy: We arrived in the rain and the ground was wet and the bell boys set our luggage down in the water. This was especially frustrating as I had told them I would take care of the luggage (having known that this happens at many of the hotels I stay at and I absolutely hate it because the water seeps through into our clothes...which it did). Yes, we have lousy / cheap luggage, but I asked them not to take the luggage and they still did. I know they were trying to be helpful, but getting wet luggage is annoying.




Here are some observations from a "business standpoint". Although I wasn't traveling on business, as I travel throughout Asia extensively for work, I wanted to share what I would care about from a work standpoint:

Positive:
Free long-distance calls using VOIP.
In-room fax, printer and etc.
Staff extremely helpful and friendly. Also, the concierge were very knowledgeable and pleasant.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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6  Thank 901JeffB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2013

The problem with the Peninsula Shanghai is that every other hotel that I ever stay at will be judged against it, and will likely come up short. I've stayed at some of the best hotels in the world, including the the much lauded (and rightfully so) Park Hyatt in Tokyo, and the Peninsula is by far the best blend of "hardware" and "software" I've seen in a hotel, ever. I'll explain what I mean in a bit.

Full disclosure - I proposed to my girlfriend at the Peninsula last weekend and the Peninsula staff were instrumental in orchestrating the setup - so I am probably slightly biased, but even absent that fact, my stay was exceptional.

The Hardware

First of all, the hotel is beautiful. In typical Peninsula style, the building exterior is traditional and classy, but understated - and when you walk in, you know immediately that you're in a Peninsula. In the same vein as the Peninsula properties in Manila and Hong Kong, you're greeted with a gorgeous two story open lobby lounge/restaurant. I have a sentimental attachment to the Manila lobby and the Hong Kong lobby is world-famous, but the lobby is in Shanghai is now my favorite. I think that's mainly because it doesn't "feel" like a lobby. When you sit in the massive, comfortable chairs you feel like you're the only table in the lobby. The tables are spaced far apart from one another and the sound from the other patrons there (even during the busy breakfast period and equally busy weekend tea) seems to dissipate into the air despite the high level of activity. The ambience is helped by the fact that the check in counter is not "behind" the lobby lounge the way it is in Manila and Hong Kong - instead, check in is to the right, behind a wall. Therefore, the only people in the lounge are the people that need to be - nobody cutting through on the way to check in, and nobody loitering around.

The hotel website as well as other reviews I've read describe the interiors as "art deco". Let me dispel any notion that "art deco" in any way implies "kitsch" - this is as classy as you can get. I'm actually having a hard time describing it - it's like they took the spirit of New York's Chrysler Building and updated it to be relevant in 2013. Every detail has been thought through - even the elevator floor indicators about the exterior doors look like the classic bronze hands, but instead of actual moving hands, they are cutouts illuminated by LED lights - nice touch. The rooms are beautifully appointed in the same style, updated to make it more modern and "bright".

I'm a bit of a "techy", so I'm always on the lookout for how hotels integrate technology into their experience and I was beyond impressed by how the Peninsula implemented the technology. EVERYTHING is integrated and engineered to make your stay and experience simpler. It starts with the light panel as you walk into the room - every function is clearly identified and intuitive. So many hotels get this wrong - being "techy" just for the sake of it, and as a result, nobody can figure out how anything works. This is not the case here - and the design carries over to the bedside console which controls literally everything in the room, including the shades, temperature and humidity - yes, I said humidity.

Nobody ever talks about the phones, but these phones are worth taking about. They are fully digital and the software was built specifically for Peninsula - made to be integrated into their rooms. This was not some Cisco IP phone customized with speed dials for the relevant hotel extensions - this was very clearly designed from the ground up for the hotel, and I've never had an easier time reaching the relevant hotel staff from the phone - all of which saves times and helps the experience. When you pick up the phone to dial, the phone display says "press OK to mute room TV and music" - what?!?! In addition, the hotel offers FREE VoIP service through these phones. Yes, free. We've become accustomed to being gouged by hotels on long distance calls, and perhaps for some of their Ferrari-driving guests can afford to be gouged, but it's certainly nice when a hotel decides that it doesn't need to, or want to. Just press the VoIP button on the phone and dial any number in the world - free - and the connection is plenty clear. I mentioned earlier that my girlfriend and I got engaged on this trip - this feature was more than welcome and enabled us to call our parents to share the news with them. I should mention that the WiFi is also free at this property - unheard of for most 5 star hotels. Similarly, the entertainment system in the rooms are customized for the Peninsula. Each TV has a Peninsula media center attached that accepts VGA and HDMI connections, as well as USB and smart media, to allow you easily put your content on their TVs.

I wish I had more time to write about the other facilities in the hotel, but there are just too many things to mention. The hotel spa is top notch and its staff is great and well-trained. Sir Elly's restaurant provides a very scenic ambience and excellent food and the breakfast in the Lobby Lounge in the morning is very good - with a solid selection of main dishes coupled with buffet style pastries, breads and fruits.

The Software

Perhaps even more impressive than the hardware, was the service at the hotel. Many new, sleek hotels miss out on this aspect thinking that their facilities will compensate for the any shortcomings in its "software" - not so with the Peninsula.

My experience with the hotel's service began months before I ever set foot on their property. Part of the proposal very much relied on the Peninsula staff to coordinate - and they did not disappoint. I contacted Simon Huang, who is their head concierge, and he was a Godsend, literally superhuman at times. I told him the details of the plan, how I intended on executing it, and he took it and ran with it. There were some even some logistical elements that I had intended on taking care of myself - and even on those elements, he asked me what my plan was, and offered to take it off my hands by presenting me a well thought out and fully planned option whilst still leaving the option for me to proceed as I had planned. Just one example: I had planned on having dinner at a restaurant that a friend had recommended to me for the night of the proposal, so I told Simon that was what I had in mind. He respectfully suggested that due to the weather this time of year and the distance we'd have to cover, that another restaurant might be more suitable. He sent pictures of his suggested restaurant and the menu so that I could consider it, but he also made a booking at the restaurant that I had planned to eat at before reverting to me - impeccable service! He knew that he knew better, but still made provision for my plan nonetheless. Never did more than a few hours go between me sending an email and receiving an email response from Simon - even if it was just to say that he would work on it and revert once he had an answer. I will keep the finer details between me and my fiancee (and Simon, I guess) - but suffice it to say that he was on top of every detail and even mocked up the room on two separate occasions to ensure that I was happy with the way he had taken everything forward. If you're heading to Shanghai and staying at the Peninsula, I highly recommend that you contact Simon and his staff prior to your stay for suggestions on where to go, what to eat, and how to make the most of your time in Shanghai - and for those of you planning a particularly special holiday at the Peninsula, rest assured that you're in good hands.

The hotel runs like a well-oiled machine with every staff member embodying the same over-the-top, detail oriented service that Simon did. The staff at the spa that greeted us on our arrival the day after we got engaged even congratulated us on our engagement - obviously, we did not tell them that we had just gotten engaged. Finally, I know this is a minor point (but I'm pedantic about good service), we were at breakfast on our last day there and my fiancee was reaching over for the sugar to put in her coffee. The sugar happened to be on the other side of the table, so she was reaching for it. Before I even realized that she was struggling to reach it (I was focused on my crazy-fluffy buttermilk pancakes, shame on me), a busboy who had just cleared another table stopped at ours on his way back to the kitchen and moved the sugar closer to my fiancee so that she could reach it. If he hadn't stopped (and he had every excuse not to stop), we wouldn't have noticed - but in my book, stuff like this defines a culture of service (not just good training) and my congratulations to the Peninsula for providing this.

Many thanks to the staff and management at the Peninsula for what was an unforgettable weekend - and congratulations on an amazing hotel, you have much to be proud of.

-Martin

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank drm4rtin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2013

Very nice hotel that will surprise you behind each corner. It is build and decorated very classical style but with all the modern needs and amenities. The rooftop bar has a great view.

The rooms are big and the beds are great. Bathroom is clean and well lit. The service is of course perfect.

I would surely recommend this hotel if you want a top league hotel for a top league price.

I have had no food so far, but will try it next time.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled on business
    • Value
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2  Thank Larrysmith123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 31, 2013

Hotel has everything you would expect from a Peninsula - elegant decor, great room layouts, delicious food and excellent service. The only inconvenience that I found (I've stayed here 4-5 times) is that there are no international electrical sockets near the bed (so you cannot charge your iPhone and use it as an alarm by your bed - the charger is over by the desk). The only other minor item is that the more they know you, the better they treat you. Understandable, but the staff need to understand that everybody should be treated with same degree of warmth/care. I have stayed in all the major hotels in Shanghai and must say that this ranks as the best!

Stayed: January 2013, traveled on business
3  Thank John G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 28, 2013

This hotel is very great and their service is as it has to be. It is one of the best hotel in Shanghai. Tea Time is excellent. The rooms are very nice, comfortable and they have a glamorous modern touch. The hotel is located on the Bund side, so you can have a walk during the night over this area. My room has a incredible view of the TV Tower.

Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
2  Thank ACJI97
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 28, 2013

I have been traveling back and forth to Shanghai for quite some time and I must say, Peninsula is my favorite hotel in Shanghai. The room is amazingly comfortable and the gym and pool is one of the best. I stayed at the deluxe room facing Pudong and the Huangpu river and Peninsula does have one of the best hotel view. The bathroom is spacious and my gf loves the walk-in closet. Also tried the Chinese Restaurant, Yi Long Court, and that cantonese restaurant is great as well.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Ian L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Peninsula Shanghai

Address: No. 32 Zhong Shan Dong Yi Road, Shanghai 200002, China
Phone Number:
Location: China > Shanghai Region > Shanghai > The Bund
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Shanghai
#6 Romantic Hotel in Shanghai
#12 Business Hotel in Shanghai
#13 Luxury Hotel in Shanghai
#204 Best Value Hotel in Shanghai
Price Range: $384 - $692 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Peninsula Shanghai 5*
Number of rooms: 235
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located along the historic Bund with spectacular views of the Bund, Huangpu River, Pudong and former British Consulate gardens, The Peninsula Shanghai perfectly blends with the historic architecture of its landmark neighbours. The Peninsula Shanghai, which opened in October 2009, is the first new building to be constructed on the historic Bund in over 60 years. Offering the best of Peninsula traditions and a range of signature services and facilities, including Shanghai's largest guestrooms and the city's highest staff-to-guest ratio, The Peninsula also heralds the return of parent company, The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited, to Shanghai where it owned and operated four of the city's premier hotels in the 1920s to 1940s - The Kalee, The Astor House, The Palace and The Majestic. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Peninsula Shanghai Hotel Shanghai

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