Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Shanghai Shanghai

It kinda sucks when our entire weekend getaway was washed out by the continuous rainstorm, but if there’s any comfort from all that, at least this time we stayed in a lovely hotel and got more time to spend inside our room with possibly one of the best view in the city. It’s been years, over a decade even, since we travelled to Shanghai, so we decided to pop by during the July 1 long weekend.

We were looking for somewhere convenient and nice to stay and Waldorf-Astoria Shanghai ticked all the boxes – it certainly helped when I got some hotel points to redeem for one of the nights. The hotel sat nicely in the middle of The Bund and just a block off the exit from the highway that went straight into Hongqiao, where Shanghai’s "other" airport is located. So it only took us a quick 30 minutes taxi ride to reach the hotel from airport, even taking annoying Shanghai traffic into consideration.

The hotel stretches over two buildings with drastically different characters, with the front (the old wing) a heritage building built over 100 years ago with the classic Baroque style façade and interior, and the new inter-connecting building at the back with most of the rooms and facilities in modern and luxury style.

Check-in was a blitz and they gave us an upgrade to the one with panoramic river view - what a contrast to the experience we had a few months ago with another hotel chain a few months ago. The room was spacious and tastefully done, classy but not over the top. Of course what we loved best was the view, with the funky landmark Oriental Pearl Tower right in our face across the river as well as the northern part of the Huangpu river banks. During our stay we spent way too many times just looking at the window over barge ships sailing along the river and the crowd braving the rain at the river promenade enjoying the signature view of the city.

Breakfast was another highlight, both in terms of quality and quantity. The long buffet table at the Grand Brasserie at the level below lobby was filled with goodies – anything from pastries to charcuterie and Western and Chinese dishes – we could easily skip lunch just by indulging ourselves in the morning. And there’s also a few items made to order and delivered to our table. It’s always hard to find good pastries in China no matter where we go but here they did it perfectly right.

We also stayed in for lunch one afternoon at their Chinese restaurant called Wei Jing Ge. It’s housed on the roof of the old building with the classic dark wood décor. We went for their unlimited weekend brunch menu which basically means we could choose everything from their dimsum menu. Seems a bit counter-intuitive to have Cantonese style dimsum in Shanghai but they also had a few local specialty dishes too. I especially enjoyed the cold drunken chicken appetizer dish, pan-fried pork buns with crab meat and the guo-tie (pan-dried dumplings) with yellow croaker fish and preserved vegetables.

The classic Cantonese style dimsum we ordered were also decent – it’s been a while since we saw the giant dumpling in superior soup served at restaurants these days and this one was well executed with the dumplings well-wrapped and stuffed with numerous ingredients and served in soup with dried conpoy. We finished with a pair of desserts – including the egg tart and deep-fried milk custard. Well, apart from my complaint about exorbitant price for a pot of tea, this is not a bad choice for us getting stuck in the rain (plus we were given hotel credits to spend as part of our room package so that's a good way to use them).

On the last night the sky finally cleared momentarily, so we went for a stroll along The Bund and finished with a drink at the Long Bar, said to have re-built based on the original one, which opened in 1911 in the same building back in the good old days of Grand Shanghai. Love the classic décor with the signature long bar that stretched from front to back. I was impressed with the wide selection of cocktails and Waldorf’s signature cocktail was just the perfect one as a nightcap.

We didn’t expect our Shanghai trip to be more about the hotel stay than anything else, but we certainly weren’t complaining. This is one of the better places we stayed in China.

Where? Waldorf-Astoria on the Bund, 2 Zhong Shan Dong Yi Road, Huang Pu District, Shanghai, China
Web: www.waldorfastoriashanghai.com/en

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