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.
From the Flair bar atop the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Pudong, under July’s leaden skies; the futuristic skyline of Pudong contrasts with the elegant colonial style of The Bund on the Shanghai side. Shanghai is a city that has that magic romantic attraction blended in well with elegance, glamour, and sheer sense of global economic standing. The city used to be known as 'The Paris of the East'. While some old fashioned people may still refer the city with its nostalgic title, I however believe that this city has surpassed even the delights of New York and London (these two cities are not even close to where Shanghai is...in terms of everything...economically, culturally, and for beauty too). You realize this when you visit places such as the well renowned MINT club (you never know who you may bump into there). When you are in Shanghai, it feels like the center of the world (it really does).
The changes to the city in the last three years have been enormous. I used to live in Shanghai and nearby Suzhou for a number of years, and miss it so much. Make a point of coming here for a holiday, have lunch at the Yi Cafe at the Shangri-La Pudong (read this); afternoon tea at the Peninsula Hotel (read this), dinner at Le Sheng (read this!), have a drink at Hyatt on the Bund (read this); and then bop it off all night if you wish at the MINT nightclub or at Bar Rouge with some good company. Then bask in the history of the city which is spearheading China’s incredible growth.
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.
Opened in June 2010 during the Shanghai Expo 2010, The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong with 285 guestrooms including 58 suites and 49 Ritz-Carlton clubrooms is the second Ritz-Carlton property in Shanghai, and the seventh in China. As a natural ingredient of being a top brand such as The Ritz-Carlton, the luxurious package also contains a luxurious location, and the company could not have chosen a better position than Pudong’s new social and commercial hub and is beautifully positioned on the uppermost 18 floors of the Shanghai IFC South Tower. The beauty of this award-winning hotel is that it’s well placed at the centre of Shanghai’s most modern and most happening place for business and leisure. Luijiazui metro station on line 2 is around a 5 minute walk from the hotel and easily connects both Hongqiao international airport to the west of the city (about 25 km) and Pudong international airport to the east (around about 40 km). The best way to get from Pudong airport is to take the ultra fast Maglev train to Longyang station and then change to Line 2 on the metro and get off at Lujiazui station, or take a taxi from Longyang station (only 12 km away).
The hotel’s interior design is by Hong Kong’s Richard Farnell, and in line with Shanghai’s rich colonial heritage the concept of blending in the contemporary features along with those that would hint at new interpretations of the 1920s and 1930s Shanghai art deco. The heavily luxurious rooms themselves have amazing views across to the Bund and the Huangpu river- the most intact collection of Art Deco architecture anywhere in the world. You can see the futuristic pearl TV tower right in front of you from your bed and you feel like touching it with your hands. The buildings on the Bund themselves look like little pearls dotted around the banks of the Huang Pu. From the vast majority of the rooms one can have stunning views of the city across the Bund when you wake up in the morning. It will leave you mesmerized, especially on a hazy Shanghai morning when the mist slowly rises from below the roof tops. The view is almost dreamlike.
The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong has three dedicated floors at the Club level, and all the guests residing here and in the suites have complimentary usage of the Club Lounge on the 49th floor 24 hours a day. The best part of the Club Lounge is the five separate food presentations that are delivered every day. Its also the essential things in life that make a stay at The Ritz-Carlton Shanhai, Pudong extra special, such as toiletries in the Club floor and suites by Italian brand Parma De Acqua, still and mineral water by Ty Nant, coffee making machines by Rossi, luxurious bathrobes, hideously spacious bathrooms and a large selection of mini-bar items. Also, take note that the standard toiletries have a gold packaging rather than the usual silver packaging that most other Ritz-Carlton properties have.
Exceptional detail to attention is put into practice to make sure that no stone is left unturned. The experienced for the guest is meant to be first-class, and Mr. Rainer Burkle, Area Vice President and General Manager, and his team of brilliant staff have made sure that this is achieved. Indeed they did achieve the highest accolade possibly given when in April 2011, The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong won the ‘best luxury hotel brand in China 2011’ at the prestigious TTG Asia media awards held in Shanghai.
The highlight of the hotel’s culinary department is the award-winning Flair rooftop restaurant located at the 58th floor. Designed by the globally renowned Japanese company Super Potato, the Flair is Shanghai’s highest al-fresco dining venue and certainly provides the best views in town and has become one of the trendiest places to be in the evenings where you can meet like-minded individuals. The restaurant is always hosting popular chefs to display their exciting and popular dishes. In April 2011, the restaurant played host to the well-celebrated Thai chef and founder of the famous Blue Elephant cooking school and restaurant, Madame Nooror Somany-Steppe. Chef of the Flair, Mr. Tang Wan Thim has done an amazing job in producing one of the most vibrant menus around. With all the glitz and glamour around Shanghai these days, the 232-seat Flair is most certainly the place to see and be seen at.
Other culinary delights around the hotel managed by executive chef Mr. Dietmar Spitzer include Aura lounge and Jazz bar, Jin Xuan the fine Chinese cuisine eatery designed by Steve Leung and Scena Italian restaurant designed by world acclaimed ‘Super Potato’.
If, however, you fancy an evening tucked away in the comfort of your cosy room watching the never-dull Chinese TV then I’m sure chef Spitzer and his team would be more than delighted to conjure up whatever tickles your taste buds. Oh, and of course, who could forget the signature Ritz afternoon-tea that you can get at the Lobby Lounge?
The Ritz-Carlton Spa by ESPA featuring 10 state-of-the-art treatment rooms is one of the crème de la crème in the city. Private lockers for all the guests, plus changing rooms that provide privacy and exceptionally clean changing facilities complete with a shower and ice-bath. The sauna and the steam room have fascinating views across to the indoor pool (of course, no one in the swimming pools can see the people in the sauna). And its not just the sauna that has the views, but also each of the treatment rooms have a floor-to-ceiling window that allows guests to enjoy unparalleled views across of Shanghai- a view that can also be enjoyed from the VIP Bath in the harmony suite. The ESPA at The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong is headed by Madame Yoshiko Ichimiya who has many years of excellent experience in making sure the spa treatments provides one of the best experiences for everyone. Most men are not blessed with the velvety skin found on their fairer sex, but that does not mean that it cannot be achieved. The ESPA at The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong offers a few magical treatments that are designed to rid the roughness, including the 60-minute men’s purifying facial. Then there is the Jade QiYuan, which is a total body experience that restores the ‘Qi’ and ‘Yun’, rebalancing both the mind and body by targeting the typical areas of stress and also soothing the skin to melt away any tension.
Meetings are more of an art form at The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong, and the facilities are more than enough to be fit for a president or a captain of industry. Spacious conference rooms, high-end cuisine, superb IT facilities that can put you in touch with anyone and anywhere around the world at the touch of a single button and welcoming recreational facilities. The demand for world-class conference facilities in China is considerable, and so therefore The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong is fortunate to be heavily popular within the M.I.C.E industry. With more than 2,500 square metres of meetings and conference space including a 1,135 square metre grand ballroom, you’ll be left spoilt for choice as there is enough space for upto 1,200 guests at a time. It’s all well placed and planned to make sure that your luxury stay is an comfortable as possible. Effectively The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong can be your one-stop for eating, shopping, relaxing, sightseeing, or finding a perfect place to do people watching.
Located on the 58th floor of The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong, the award-winning Flair Rooftop Restaurant and Bar provides arguably the best views across the whole of Shanghai’s stunning skyline. The well renowned Japanese company Super Potato proudly designed China’s highest al fresco dining and wining point with its warm blend of rustic and contemporary designs creating a loft-like lounge ambiance.
The culinary adventure commences the moment you step into the rapid lift at the 50th floor that whisks you straight to the restaurant. The lift itself is a piece of art. As a guest enters the lift they are faced with a wall full of black wine bottles showing their backsides, while in the middle of the lift’s wall there is a square (approx. 1 foot in size) containing three different sized wine glasses made from crystals. As you stand in the lift for that 15-second journey to the 58th floor, a myriad of thoughts go through your head about your expectations of the food, the ambiance of the venue, and the type of wine that you will be presented with. More importantly you cannot resist but keep admiring the wall of wine bottles again because it’s just mesmerizing, when suddenly the door opens and voila! You have arrived at the 232-seat Flair.
As the doors of the lift open, the remarkable silence of the interior of the lift gives way to the clinking of wine glasses and rather pleasant sound of chitchat, along with the sound of some thumping grooves being played by the resident DJ. Around two waitresses dressed in traditional Chinese Qi Piao who will lead you to your table. Unless they have already been taken, it is highly recommended to pick one of the cosy lounge sofas next to the window, or you can always dine outdoor on any one of the 132 elegant seats to admire the Pearl TV Tower that stands right next door (weather permitting).
Flair is known to host many globally renowned chefs and in April 2011, the restaurant was honoured to have Ms. Noorer Somany Steppe of world famous Blue Elephant Cooking School & Restaurant. Ms. Somany Steppe presented some of her passionate and exciting Thai culinary creations, combining the full dining Thai experience with the presence of a native Thai resident DJ, and the hospitality provided by Thailand’s national flag carrier, Thai Airways International.
Some of the mouth-watering treats offered by Ms. Somany Steppe and her team of experts included ‘Blue Elephant Phad Thai’- a spicy and tangy flavoured rice dish containing traditional Thai spices blended in with small cubic chunks of chicken meat, and the ‘Free Range Chicken Curry’, a slightly spicy dish that will wake up your culinary delights.
Flair is one of those places where you’ll be left mesmerizing the views, the people and the exceptionally sensational food. There are staples from Japan, China, India, Taiwan, Vietnam and Thailand. The beverage menu is more than extensive offering signature cocktails and spirit selection. Vodka lovers would not be disappointed either as you can dunk yourself into 40 different varieties of the stuff- that’ll keep you busy all night!
You just cannot argue when it comes to luxurious food at a luxurious venue at good prices.
Book early to avoid disappointment.
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