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Hotel of the Month: Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund

Classy, exclusive and part of Shanghai’s history… all of these words could be used to describe Shanghai TALK, but there is another institution that fits this description – The Waldorf Astoria. Once the legendary Shanghai Club and one of the few remaining heritage structures in Shanghai, the newly renovated – and soon to be fully open to the general public – Waldorf is making waves in the hotel community. And for good reason, this place is amazing.

Just walking into the lobby makes you feel like you should change the track on your iPod from the latest Lady Gaga song to something classier by a long dead European, probably German, composer. The place oozes understated class and TALK’s hat goes off to the people behind the renovations for keeping so much of the original design intact.

The first thing to strike us was that there is no reception desk. Rather than the traditional way of checking in, there is 24 hour butler service to cater to your every need. The attitude is that the “Waldorf will never say no,” according to Public Relations Manager Suki Pan.

It would be impossible to write about this building and not talk about the legendary Long Bar (pictured right). Once the longest bar in Asia, it was destroyed by the Japanese back in the day. However, it’s been painstaking rebuilt using original photographs and the result feels suitably historic and begs to have a gin and tonic drunk on it.

But there is more to the hotel than the history of the building. We are talking about the Waldorf Astoria here. These are the people who brought us the red velvet cake and Waldorf salad. Both are delicious, both are available at the hotel and both deserve to be tasted at either the Long Bar or Salon de Ville.

The rooms themselves are something to behold. In addition to the usual flat screens and gorgeous bathrooms there is also a keyboard allowing you to turn your TV into a computer for those dopey enough to have forgotten their own. Unsurprisingly, the rooms aren’t cheap, with the River View suites setting you back a cool RMB 14,000 per night. But, in fairness, the view out over the Bund and towards Pudong is both spectacular and worth every kuai.

Looking to the future, the hotel is building a tower at the back with another couple of hundred rooms. The new tower will be finished soon and will include all of the amenities that you would expect from a hotel like the Waldorf Astoria, including a state-of-the-art gym for those on a quest for a more callipygous body.

Overall the Waldorf Astoria is both an essential part of Shanghai’s history and a luxuriously modern hotel. It’s the meeting of two worlds and the guys who put it all together have done a fantastic job.

Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund, 2 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, near Guangdong Lu. Tel: 6322 9988.


Photos courtesy of Derryck Menere


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