As China hurtles through to its new future there will be inevitable be surprises for every first time visitor to the country. My own particular myth buster was finding a quirky, colourful, boutique hotel in Shanghai and the Dorsett Hotel Shanghai was the perfect fit.
It wasn’t the V Junior computer that greets all visitors as they come through the door, or the multi coloured piano in the lobby, that stood out for me, but just its overall sheer individuality and excellent service. Everywhere is colourful and many of the rooms overlook Century Park; a bit of an oasis in a busy city and the largest green area of Shanghai.
As this 4 star hotel is away from the main centre, rooms are good value. The location it turns out is only a small disadvantage as line 2 – exit 4 – of the metro, comes out at the hotel itself, meaning there are no problems getting to places and it is cheap and convenient to go to the main part of town. This works well as there are no safety issues on the underground: I was certainly happy to use it in the late evening.
It’s also easy to come straight from Pudong International Airport via the fastest train in the world – the Maglev – which travels at 267 miles per hour and is in itself one of Shanghai’s must do experiences.
I was a little apprehensive at staying on my own, but it was re-assuring to find that most of the Dorsett Hotel staff speak English and were helpful in guiding me through.
The Dorsett Hotel Group is expanding rapidly and currently owns 33 hotels in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and the United Kingdom; with 9 more scheduled to open in Malaysia, the United Kingdom and Australia. It is quite unusual in that it both owns and manages all its properties.
My ultra-contemporary room overlooked the park and had a good balcony – an ideal view point to witness some of the locals people doing their early morning exercises – running and stretching- in the green space. It comes complete with small kitchen area, a large dual head shower and a bath. After having trouble in other parts of China it was also good to be able to have 24 hour free access to wireless and broadband.
There is a small fitness centre and two restaurants and a bar. I took breakfast each morning in Gusto on the Green which offered both western and Chinese food, everything from dumplings of all kinds, to my favourite Swiss Bircher muesli. A Brunch is offered on Sundays.
“On average” Doris Hui the General Manager told me “the hotel has 95% capacity.” So it was no surprise when one morning there was a slight wait to sit down for breakfast. The staff though, were totally on it and quick to point out an empty seat when it became available. “We prefer not to have a formal queuing system” explained Doris “We think that is a bit off putting first thing in the morning”.
The main restaurant is called Xin Guang and specialises in crab dishes particular the “hairy crab”, as prepared by its team of master Chinese chefs. Hairy Crab it seems is the Shanghai delicacy every tourist should try, but is only available in the autumn months. Apparently there are eight different tools used to deconstruct the crab, each designed for specific parts and it is a mark of dexterity and status to be able to eat it without cracking the exoskeleton!
There are 264 rooms and suites in Dorsett Hotel Shanghai and each one has good design features and thoughtful details, such as the directions to the hotel written out in Chinese – in case you need to take a cab home. Above all it was comfortable and a pleasure to relax in after some rather busy days of sightseeing.
Tell me more about the Dorsett Hotel Shanghai
Dorsett Hotel Shanghai No. 800 Hua Mu Road, Pudong New Area, Shanghai, 201204 People’s Republic of China
Tel: +86 21 3852 222
Rooms from £80 per night including breakfast.