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Hotel of the Month: Hotel Indigo Shanghai on the Bund

To state the obvious, there are plenty of options to choose from when picking a hotel in Shanghai – from Pudong’s towering monoliths to the restored classics on the Bund. But for many, these temples of luxury leave you with a sense of deja vu – each room, bar and ‘individual’ flourish seems to whisper “I’ve been here before”. Now, boutique hotels are popping up around town looking to buck the trend, offering the same quality of service but presenting a different kind of experience. The most recent of which is the Hotel Indigo Shanghai on the Bund, and TALK couldn’t resist having a look around.

When you walk into Indigo’s lobby you instantly know this is no ordinary hotel. The soft curving wood, plant life growing up the walls and impossibly cut stones leaking from invisible holes suggest you are stepping into a Dali painting – only a lot less disturbing.

The design of the hotel follows the chain’s ‘neighbourhood story’ policy where the interior decorators were tasked with creating a space that fuses modern comforts with artwork and materials sourced locally. The result is a collision of cultures that makes even a simple walk down a corridor an interesting experience. A particular highlight is the reclaimed metal cladding in the lobby, so invitingly tactile that few guests will be able to resist the temptation of running their fingers across it.

On the Bund you expect to pay a little more for your stay, simply because of the view. Guests at the Indigo will possibly be prepared to pay through the nose to take in the fantastic views in all directions, and the rooms are rather special too! From the quirky gewgaws and slightly dog-eared books on the shelves, to the flashes of colourful furniture, guestrooms here are a far cry from the generic luxury seen elsewhere. This is not to say they are any less fit for our city’s most discerning clientele. They have everything you could want – from Western TV channels and a well-stocked mini bar to lovely cotton sheets and spacious and comfortable bathrooms. The Hotel Indigo does luxury, but not as you know it.

All hotels these days, of course, have to offer more than just a comfortable bed and stylish décor. They have to occupy us in our moments of boredom. Indigo has covered this too with an engaging variety of activities. There’s a fully-equipped gym and pool for healthy sporty types, and if exercise isn’t your thing then there’s a book exchange, DVD lending facilities, cinema pods and even board games.

The world knows that Shanghai has some great dining, but you could do a lot worse than booking a table at the hotel’s Quay Restaurant, which has an enticing list of dishes at reasonable prices. Sold as a casual dining experience the quality of the food and atmosphere make it feel closer to fine dining than anything else. The fusion between local cuisine and rich Mediterranean flavours isn’t new to Shanghai, but Quay does it better than most, using the best possible ingredients, prepared and presented perfectly. And that’s not all; coming at the end of March is the Char Bar & Grill which promises to offer steaks to rival the best Shanghai has to offer.

If and when you end up needing a place to stay in town – one that gives you a flavour of the place and looks after your every whim - you really won’t do much better than the Indigo. It has taken the idea of a boutique hotel and challenged the luxury brands of the big chains at their own game. Combining faultless customer service with lavishly designed surroundings to create what has to be one of Shanghai’s nicest places to rest travel weary bones.

585 Zhongshan Dong Er Lu, near Fuxing Dong Lu Tel: 3302 9999


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