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.
The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong participates in The Ritz-Carlton Asia Pacific Asia Smile Week the Third year,(2-5 May, 2016)
In response to the success of Smile Asia Week in 2015, The Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts, Asia-Pacific have announced Smile Asia Week from May 2–8, 2016 to sell specially created limited edition cakes across Asia.
The campaign is to raise funds and awareness for the children suffering from cleft and other facial deformities. The charity partner is Smile Asia, a global alliance of medical charities that heals children’s smiles through its dedicated medical volunteers.
Around 10,000 staff of The Ritz-Carlton company from 22 hotels will bake 15,000 specially crafted limited edition Valrhona Chocolate Banana cakes that will result in 500 life-changing surgeries to the poor and needy children across Asia.
Shanghai, By Day and Night
Hotel suites have always been a decadent indulgence, whether you want lavish style or barefoot luxury, these treats offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The Presidential Suite at the Intercontinental Shenzhen, being the largest Presidential Suite in the city, offers no less. As China's first Spanish-themed luxury hotel celebrates its tenth anniversary in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, the accommodation has something special to boast about.
Situated close to the city's version of Asia's Silicon Valley and surrounded by lavish man-made spacious boulevards that adorn lush greenery, the hotel sets an iconic tone. A number of things make it stand out from the growing number of five-star properties that have been adding to Shenzhen's high-rise skyline. Firstly, the hotel has a large lifelike replica of a Spanish Galleon ship, of which the mast extends over the main road. The ship houses the flagship eatery, Galleon. Then there are the views from each of the 540 luxurious guestroom and suites, each generously spaced at 50 square meters, with all the modern amenities one can wish for, including Agraria and Salvatore Ferragamo. Think jungle chic, the hotel houses a lavish man-made beach resort hideaway- a heaven for the senses slap bang in the middle of a modern city.
Paul Hugentobler Regional General Manager InterContinental Shenzhen, told me that in his seven years at the hotel he has seen remarkable change, especially on how the hotel, as well as the IHG group in general, has embraced digital (all guests can order daily newspapers through apps hence saving trees), and caters to provide a luxury experience while maintaining the local environment.
You can effectively feel like a king (or queen) here, with each room stunningly decorated with the emphasis made on Spanish art.
With eight dining venues, each of which can be classed as a separate entity compared to the hotel itself, you'll be spoilt for choice. If you want me to describe the taste of the food at any of the eight fabulous venues, then it has to be the word fresh. Whether it is Brazilian, French, Chinese or the general cuisine at the Mercado Restaurant and Bar, the chefs are very good at bringing out the freshness of the ingredients. Some people say that Shenzhen is a cultural desert, but I wouldn't say so these days. The eateries at the Intercontinental Shenzhen bring along old cultures, old design and explosive tastes in the mouth- highly appreciated by all that come here. What also fascinates me the absolute decor of the restaurants - the decor of a restaurant can yell you a story of its own.
Shenzhen, being so close to Hong Kong and Guangzhou, has a culture nowadays that embraces change (and it has done so for many years). The locals have sophisticated palates with a taste for expensive ingredients like sea urchin or fresh sea water oysters. There is a certainly a prestige to them. Tastes do change here quicker than most other parts of the world but there are certain dishes that people always come back for. There is plenty of space here, too. Everything is just on a glandular scale.
Shanghai to Shenzhen...
London Black Cab...in Shanghai!
Indeed, the iconic London 'Hackney' black cab is now built in China. It is not uncommon to come across the London style black cabs in some Chinese cities, including in Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai (pictured). My wife and I were on our way to Shanghai Hongqiao Airport: Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
Located in the heart of Shanghai's French Concession on the fine Hengshan Road (known during the early concession period as the “Champs Elysees of Shanghai”), the Gallery Suites is boutique hotel housed in a 1933 heritage building. Once the home to a Russian princess (Olga Gregorievna Ogneff), the sophisticated accommodation was opened to the public in 2009 and offers 39 spectacular and generously spacious suites, which are all over 50sqm.
The oversized bathroom has a deep bath tub and two-person shower-oh and, in case you need them, there are authentic period oil paintings on the walls.
After The Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai Pudong, the Gallery Suites is my favourite hotel in this beautiful city. You can buy the art and other room amenities, including the bone china cutlery and rich dove feather duvets.
Bricks Made by Hand, Taizhou
A perfect start to any day is made with freshly cooked Dou jiang (豆漿) and Youtiao (油条). Thanks to my laopo (老婆, wife) for taking me to this amazing place in Taizhou.
It took some time, but I suppose it has to be done once in a lifetime. Getting married into a Chinese household...the first most important thing is to go and visit the girl's parents and get their permission. So this was the main reason I came to Yangzhou in Jiangsu Province.
Getting engaged in Chinese culture is quite an experience. Effectively I met the whole of my fiancee's family members and got permission (and questions asked) from each and every one of the senior members of the household. Not as nervous as I thought I would be. After all, it is a very serious lifetime decision. I had the honor of staying at my future in-laws home for a week, and had it timed perfectly because it was also Vicky's (my fiancee/wife/Laopo (老婆)) birthday on the 6th of April (me being a Capricorn and she an Aries - we are somehow a perfect match!).
There is plenty of eating and drinking (baizhou/strong homemade wine anyone?!) with the whole family for the full five days. So, yes, finally joined the wedlock club and can finally tell the world. A new life ahead!
I had the pleasure to visit Yangzhou with my fiancée, who is from nearby Taizhou in Jiangsu Province. The city has remained a leading economic and cultural center and major port of foreign trade and external exchange since the Tang dynasty (618–907), and home to the famed Yangzhou Fried Rice (揚州炒飯).
Far Away in the Land of the East Lies a City Rising From the Sea...What a Welcome from Nanjing!
Take-Off Lights on and Ready to Go!
Nine hours into the flight flying en-route from London Heathrow to Hong Kong, we came across some spectacular sights over Mongolia. Outside air temperature is -65 Celsius degrees. Not sure of the exact place, but it is around 150 miles west of the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar: Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
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