The staff at The Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai Pudong, which by the way is my favorite of all the Ritz-Carlton hotels I have reviewed so far around the world, really know how to make an engagement special. All I said was that I will be arriving with my Laopo (老婆, wife/fiancée), and they had the whole suite decorated as I have never seen before. A big thank you to the team there. The whole room was heavily decorated with a sea of fresh roses.
In September 2015, the company introduced a fresh new brand-voice to keep up with the times. It was a refreshing feeling to experience this new brand tone and voice in the Shanghai property- everything just seemed to be rejuvenated- except that the first-class luxurious trademark service was still the same. The views, the glamour, the food, the smell, the experience- this flagship property in Shanghai has it all. I feel like coming back here again and again.
The hotel has also introduced a couple of special packages, including guests to embrace its rich heritage with a new immersive experience, “This is Shanghai.” It basically balances modern luxury with the glamorous, art deco design inspired by the roaring 1930’s, and the hotel is the perfect place for guests to learn about Shanghai’s legendary history and gain insight into its bright future. Included in the three-day packaged tour, is a half-day architectural tour by local historian Dr. Spencer Dodington. The packaged tour allows travelers the opportunity to deepen their understanding of life in the world’s largest city and celebrates the best of Shanghai’s seductive and storied past, present, and future. It also includes Tai Chi classes by grand masters and a visit to a famed tailor. Offering guests a luxurious way to explore the city’s rich past and vibrant present, the “This is Shanghai” package starts at approximately 5,880 USD per package based on double occupancy. (This price is subject to 15% service charge).
This time around, I had the pleasure of being accompanied on this press trip with my fiancée, and so it was good to get her viewpoint and prospective on things as well. The Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai Pudong is a whole lot more opulent than most of its neighbours. Despite the rapid growth of the area around the property, it remains a firm favorite with the good and the great- everyone from foreign dignitaries and stars prefer to stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai Pudong. Despite another Ritz-Carlton property to be introduced to Shanghai, this flagship property will always remain a firm favorite with both of us.
The Spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai Pudong
Being a chocolate fan, Vicky, my fiancée, opted to try the chocolate spa treatment at The Ritz-Carlton Spa.
Who can resist the allure of chocolate? According to the staff at the Spa, the scent of chocolate stimulates “happy feeling” endorphins, which create feelings of well-being and can actually reduce stress. Vicky certainly agreed to that!
After having a cup of rich hot chocolate drink, Vicky enjoyed immersing her senses with the aroma of a full-body chocolate scrub, a personalized chocolate massage and a soothing chocolate wrap with a chocolate facial. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The spa features a private shower room and is equipped with luxurious amenities.
RMB1,800 (approx. £180/US$230) per person for 120 minutes
This treatment includes a chocolate scrub, chocolate body massage, body wrap with a chocolate facial, and home-made chocolate as a dessert after treatment.
Jin Xuan Dining Experience
I last dined here in 2012. It was a great pleasure to be back at Jin Xuan again, and this time it was a different and special experience all together as both Vicky and I indulged in scrumptious Cantonese Dim Sum in the company of spectacular views and the sound of the beautiful Zheng being played in the background. Chef Daniel Wong's whimsical culinary creations are to die for. It is not just food but sheer art, and one cannot argue with the fact that he is a most certainly a culinary artists wearing a neat chef's hat. There must be something special about the cookery of a chef who's food makes grown men giggle with glee. Indeed, food has always been a form of art, and both need an immense amount of creativity- the only difference being that Chef Wong has to do it many times over, with speed and accuracy. That in itself is just amazing. The end result? Priceless tasting food.
After a gap of 9 months, I had the chance to go back to The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong. Every time I visit The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong, my jaw just drops like an apple falling due to the forces of gravity. Why? Simply because of the stunning architecture of the hotel’s spacious interior and the warm surroundings that make a sheer comforting place to be at. Though most of the other 5-star hotels in Shanghai are of a very good quality as well, the key aspect that distinguishes The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong from the rest is the aroma of being surrounded in a cosy outfit by the nearby beautiful buildings, such as the futuristic Pearl Tower, and the Jinmao tower. Almost every room has a beautiful view of one of the ‘pearls’ of the Pearl Tower.
This time I got to try the very best of Cantonese cuisine offered by the spacious Jin Xuan restaurant located on the 53rd floor of the hotel. Again there is that sense of warmth offered, blended in with the spectacular décor with superlative affectionate service. Total seating for main dining area is 52 seats, six private dining rooms of 64 seats, and two VIP private dining rooms of 40 seats. The dishes created by the Chinese Executive Chef, Ooi Soon Lok, are just out of this world. It has become a trademark of his to churn out the best of the east and the west in all of his dishes. Take for example dishes such as the ‘wok-fried Australian beef tenderloin, black pepper sauce’ or the ‘signature steamed assorted vegetables with brown sauce’. The former dish was the one where my first reaction was to think ‘Australian beef is wok fried?’, but the Malaysian born Chef Lok has managed it in such a neat way that one can enjoy the sweet tenderness of the beef that is western styled itself, but made using a very authentic Chinese way. It just melts as you take each bite. Lovely chunks of the beef dance in well with the green, yellow, and red peppers. Fabulous. The latter dish is just nothing short of a miracle in the plate created by Chef Lok. From a distance, one may be greatly mistaken in thinking that this dish is all made up of meat products, but in fact, it’s all vegetables! The carrots, the mushrooms, the cabbage, the lettuce, and even the tomatoes all provide a wonderful combination to please the eye and the tongue. It’s the kind of dish that would bring along a smile on your face no matter you are a vegetarian or not.
Chef Lok, who has over 20 years global experience in luxury cooking, has the charm to delight diners with his on the spot creations of culinary extreme. He recalls picking this skill of cooking quickly on the spot while he was working at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, and later at The Ritz-Carlton, Guangzhou (Lai Heen Restaurant). It was in South China where he learnt that chefs needed to work extra fast as compared to other places he had worked at before, such as Singapore, because the diners in places like South China don’t have much time to eat lunch or dinner because of their hectic lifestyles. He fondly recalled creating this ‘steamed assorted vegetables with brown sauce’ dish in Hong Kong, and it has been a firm favourite for many of his regular diners since then. Having tasted this particular dish myself, I must say that even I may become a member of his fan club. The food he creates has a smooth flair to it, and it goes without saying that all those that try and taste his delightful dishes at Jin Xuan would be let completely gobsmacked.
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