_There are not that many places in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen where you can just be spoiled to a lavish feast and feel like an Emperor (or an Empress), except at China Lodge at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Shenzhen. Providing some of the finest views across to the whole of Lowu district, Shenzhen’s most happening place, China Lodge is a place to be if you want some privacy, intimacy and some luxurious food that brings the best of Cantonese, Chinese, and Western cultural fusions altogether on one table. When you consider the amount of massive space dedicated to each of the 14 luxurious private dining suites on the 35th and 36th floors of the hotel, you realise that this is not just a restaurant but a Mecca for serious eating. Allow the local boy, Chef Scott Xu, a native of Guangdong Province, to show off his innovation gastronomic skills. Chef Xu is someone who happens to possess some intuitive abilities when he is presented a few ingredients, and some kitchen tools. Maybe he wants to prove how good he is, but for sure, you’ll be left with a jaw dropping dining experience. With so much competition lurking around in China these days, the rush to be one of the best designers of a perfect dining plate is on in one of the world’s fastest economies. There is certainly no shortage of a beautiful presentation when it comes to good food.
Yes, it is costly, but then again you do exactly get what you pay for (maybe more). The key is that China Lodge prides itself in using one of the best ingredients, and the best cutlery to present it in- there are no real boundaries for diners in terms of showing off to their invitees. Each of the 14 suites accommodates anything upto 20 diners with guaranteed spectacular views from every suite. Each suite comes along with butler service, an en-suite toilet, a large television, and access to the internet. Some may even go as far as thinking that if you want to show off how much wealth you possess, or perhaps you want to treat your close ones to a truly 5-star dining experience for a special occasion, then China Lodge is the place.
Though purely a Cantonese style restaurant based on a native Cantonese concept, however the dishes created by Chef Xu contain a delightful fusion of Eastern and Western tastes. Take for example one of the starters such as the ‘goose liver, wok-fried with shelled shrimps, and chive flower’; or the ‘suckling pig cum in plum sauce’. For those of you that don’t know, suckling pig is a very traditional must have Cantonese delicacy dish where the skin of the pig should be crisp and the meat should be just perfectly tender for the tongue. With this particular dish Chef Xu has turned that traditional dish into a Western style concept by wrapping the suckling pig into a sushi style roll (but wrapped with lettuce and not seaweed!), and then decorated it with a sprinkle of plum sauce. It’s the same concept that goes well with the ‘goose liver dish’. The way you are meant to eat it is to put a spoonful of the ingredients (that’s the complete mixture of the shrimps, chive flower and goose liver), into a iceberg lettuce leaf. With each mouthful, that crunchiness texture should include a blending of all the flavours and juices of the goose liver and the shrimps. Both the goose liver and the shrimps are traditional Cantonese fare, however it’s the style of putting everything into one leaf that makes it a Western style dish, but in Shenzhen!
Some other specialities include ’king eel, steamed, with rice wine sauce’, and ‘whole tomato, braised, and mixed with cereal crops’. The king eel is special because the eel is fed with coconut flakes whilst in the farm, so the end result of the texture and taste of the meat has a lovely soft yet milky flavour to it. But wait till you try the bright red tomato filled with cereal crops. This hot dish is fabulously attractive from the inside, just as it is attractive from the outside. The brightly red boiled tomato (no colour preservatives) contains an extravaganza of cereal crops. Very healthy, and ‘out of this world’ delicious would be the words that conjure up once one takes a spoonful. All the dishes take into consideration various health issues that diners may have, and a personalised menu can be provided upon request to the individual dinar. Even the desert is not as heavy as one may imagine. Take the Mango pudding for example, which contains freshly cut mangos surrounded in a freshly squeezed mango sauce. Just scrumptious. So get ready to be amazed, and enjoy a truly magical experience whilst sitting on top of China’s Prices for a set menu start from around 700RMB (approx. £70) per person.
Occupying a key spot right in the heart of Shenzhen’s most happening place, Luohu, the 491-room Grand Hyatt, Shenzhen is also at the centre of the city’s modernist landscape that is changing at an ever-dizzying pace. The beauty of the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen is that you can easily get to downtown Hong Kong within 40 minutes either by driving or by taking the highly convenient metro. A vast majority of people from Hong Kong prefer to live and work in Shenzhen. This is especially true for those who are increasingly looking at Shenzhen as a destination for M.I.C.E. activities, and the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen would be a preferred choice any time of the year for that.
Like the majority of the newest Grand Hyatt properties in China, the first thing that strikes the visitors is the spacious and rather futuristic lobby on the 33rd floor. This is where your Grand Hyatt Shenzhen experience starts because guests check-in and then are ushered to their respective rooms in style. There are breath-taking views of Shenzhen on both sides of the lobby. On one side, you can see the lavish MixC, the city’s largest shopping mall, which houses the largest number of international luxury brand retailers in China, an Olympic-sized skating rink, and Park Lane Manor, the most exclusive residential property in Shenzhen. Further onwards is the current tallest building in Shenzhen, the Diwang that is soon to be overtaken by the Kingkey 100 finance centre, as it will be the tallest building in Shenzhen as well as one of the tallest buildings in southern China. While on the other side one can view the vast lands that go across into Hong Kong across the border.
The eight venues for dining are the true jewels of the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen. They really do bring a feeling of true paradise to this restaurant and it is in these eateries that you can truly spoil yourself. Each one caters for different tastes and there is plenty of variety in terms of the ambiance, the feel, the look and most importantly, the taste and style of the food. For those who really pamper themselves with ridiculously good food and to enjoy the surroundings it will take at least a week I should say to absorb the true atmosphere of all the eight exciting and innovative dining venues. For those who have time as their enemy, it would be good idea to start at The Lounge located on the 33rd floor, adjacent to the Sky Lobby. This is the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen’s focal space where you can indulge yourself with various refreshments, light snacks, and evening cocktails throughout the day. It is also perhaps the best place to do people watching, if that is what you like doing while having a signature coffee. For the next culinary showcase, it would have to be the 226-seat (including a 10-seat private room), Show Kitchen, located on the 25th floor below. Here you can drown yourself in the thought of tucking into any of the delights on offer at four distinctive open kitchens: Asian, Japanese, Western, and Seafood. The beauty of it all is that this allows the guests to dine among the live culinary action creating an interactive restaurant experience.
Three places that would be notable interest for luxury foodies are Belle-Vue, China Lodge and 1881. Belle-Vue is a European restaurant where classic western cuisine is prepared à la minute on 10 tableside cooking stations; while China Lodge is situated on floors 35 and 36 and comprises of 14 premium private dining suites, which cater to parties between eight and 22 guests. 1881 offers an authentic Sichuan cuisine set on the ground floor of the hotel.
The fun part starts in the evening when most diners head off to the 109-seat Penthouse located on the 38th floor. An amazing fusion of Eastern and Western music tastes that blend in perfectly with some unique fashionable and innovative experiences. These experience-focused areas include a Living area with a resident DJ on most nights, a kitchen featuring a teppan hot plate; a balcony, a terrace, and an illuminated bar serving premium spirits, wines, champagne and cocktails as well as imported premier cheese and charcuterie.
One of the biggest things that may surprise you is that the vast majority of the classy and super-rich crowd are local mainland Chinese people who know how to enjoy a good wine and company in true style. This is where the future of China, and indeed Shenzhen, is and this is just the beginning. Would you believe it, wine tasting in China and especially in Shenzhen? It was almost unheard of just a few years ago. It just demonstrates the face pace at which this city (and country) is growing, and how rapidly the demographics of modern Chinese cities are changing. A final big atttraction for the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen is the spectacular terrace-bar, which has become one of the hottest bars in town for an evening drink or informal dining after a good meal. Usually people first have a meal in one of the hotel’s other seven restaurants’ before making their way to the top to while away their evening. It is here that you will bump into perhaps the who’s who of Shenzhen (or Hong Kong).
Each of the 491 contemporary guestrooms (including 53 suites and 48 long-stay serviced apartments) provide panoramic views across this booming metropolis. What impressed me most was the remarkable way in which all the Canadian marble floor tiles lined up neatly next to each other. It really is amazing the way the construction and architecture have blended in perfectly to make sure that the pattern on any one-tile matches exactly in terms of micro-scale detail to the tile placed next to it (or the tiles that surround a tile). This also goes true for the imported mahogany that is used to construct the furniture and the doors of the rooms. How it all perfectly matches together is perhaps a secret that only the architects and interior designers would know. The best part of the guestroom is the airy, spa-style marble bathroom, housing an over-sized rain-shower and separate bathtub. Equally hi-tech is the main room, which is equipped with automatic time-controlled curtains, a self-contained workstation with wireless, high-speed Internet access, a multi-channel 40-inch LED television and DVD player, an iPod® docking station, and dual phone-lines with voicemail.
Another interesting aspect is the ‘magic sliding door’ that separates the bedroom with the bathroom. When the bath is not in use, the door acts like a see-through glass, however when someone takes a shower or bath then all they need to do get privacy is to close the sliding door, and instantly the doors frost over to block the view both ways.
If you are residing in any one of the Grand Club rooms from the 22nd to the 31st floor, then you have complimentary access to the massive Grand Club Lounge on the 25th floor. Not only does the Grand Club Lounge provide stunning panoramic views across the metropolis, but also it can be used to just relax with a lovely wine, or to catch up on any work in tranquil and private surroundings. There is ample Space for holding short corporate meetings as well, with a meeting room fully equipped with interactive technological facilities.
You cannot come all the way to the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen and not try one of the signature treatments at the Shui Xiang Spa (translates as “water village”). Highly recommended is the signature Shui Xiang 90-minute massage that will not only cleanse your body from the inside but also open up your five senses and will refresh the most important parts of your body including the brain, the kidneys, and your skin. The Shui Xiang therapists’ are well trained to not only give you the best relaxing experience ever but also vastly improve your blood circulation. The expansive 3,132 square meter Spa has been created in the style of a traditional open-air Beijing hutong (Chinese courtyard residences), with 13 individual Spa ‘houses’ circling a central water feature which is a very much important part of Chinese Feng Shui as it brings prosperity and fortune. The majority of the houses feature private outdoor terraces that offer somewhat eye-widening views of the Diwang building in the background. Each Spa suite contains a private lounge area, bathroom, shower room, and therapist’s pantry. Nine of the suites feature private steam rooms with a heated treatment bed and four have outdoor bathtubs. A visit to the Shui Xiang Spa will round off a perfect stay at the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen.
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