Shanghai Wonderland

4 Jan

I had planned to go to the viewing deck at the top of the Shanghai World Financial Centre, the second tallest building in the world (or something – Google is blocked in China), but there’s not much point when you can’t even see the building. It is on the right in this picture, but completely invisible:

Compare with:

So instead, let’s go underground. An hour in a taxi across Shanghai takes me to the Intercontinental Shanghai Wonderland, the world’s first underground hotel (or something).

I booked for 60000 points when it briefly became available after opening just a month ago. Availability soon vanished, but I’d been watching and waiting. Reward nights booked into a standard twin room, but I was upgraded to a Club king, without actual Club access, that is until I asked politely a couple of times. (It helps when you’re travelling solo, which means you won’t be a drain on resources, and a polite smiling persistence helped too.)

To the 12th floor, then. That is, down 12 floors. The hotel is built into an old quarry so the lobby is the highest point.

Everything is new and feels very luxurious. Even the corridors have a look of tasteful quality:

Great taste in decor all around:

The room is beautifully appointed and has a view through the bathroom and across the bedroom and over the terrace to the quarry.

It’s definitely classy. Automatic curtains and multiple lighting modes, a Nespresso machine and mini bar, a welcome platter of fruit, Ferragamo toiletries, an automatic toilet with heated seat and 3 different kinds of bum-washing, a huge rainfall shower and a stylish oval bathtub, with beautifully coloured marble and wood everywhere. It really is first class.

Then there’s the terrace with seating and views over the quarry lake. Here’s a view from the outdoor viewing deck up top:

Blimey.

The Club lounge is also very nice. Small, but through afternoon tea I was the only one there:

For 3 hours over happy hour, I was still the only one there, until a group of 3 came in for the last half hour. That meant I could have all the champagne and gin & tonics I wanted (after I’d tought them how to make one – it’s a brand new hotel). Also all the canapes were just for me, and the selection of Chinese appetizers, for free, was way nicer than the meal I’d had in the Waldorf Astoria at £50. They even had caviar.

Emily the Club Intercontinental manager came to talk to me, looking for feedback from a “very important Spire Ambassador member”, and also had a little good luck gift for me in advance of Chinese New Year:

At 7:30 every night there’s a light show in the quarry, which is quite surreal, and enjoyable:

All very impressive, and definitely well worth the trip across town. It would be even without the cloud and rain.

I’ve been promised a chance to see the suites on the lowest floor tomorrow. They are “underwater”. Instead of windows, the wall is an aquarium built into the side of the lake in the bottom of the quarry.

Shanghai Wonderland

5 Jan

First order of business is breakfast in the club lounge, where the menu is impressive:

And the food is utterly delicious:

The pot sticker dumplings are especially delicious. The hotel’s GM stops by for a quick chat about my impressions.

If you want breakfast in the main restaurant there is a huge choice including the usual western style, or loads of fresh ingredients ready to be made into something Chinese by one of the chefs at several live cooking stations:

There’s even ice cream:

All the public areas of the hotel are beautiful:

Perhaps the best part is the underground restaurant, not yet open but I get a guided tour from Emily. The walls are an aquarium. Hasn’t photographed very well, but there were plenty of impressive fish swimming about:

If you want to splurge on your room, you can have a suite. The lounge has an aquarium:

The bedroom is fantastic:

And you get a veranda that would be great in summer:

There is also a zip line across the quarry: