Shimmering Shanghai from the Hyatt

C’mon, everyone needs a bit of luxury in their life! Don’t deny it! An occasional treat, enfolding your fragile body – desperately crying out for a bit of tender loving care – into the arms of extravagant opulence, is a wonderful restorative practice. And nowhere more so than in China’s economic powerhouse, the glittering city of Shanghai…

Straddling the Huangpu River and nestled between Hangzhou Bay in the south and the mighty Yangtze River in the north on China’s eastern seaboard, Shanghai is the nation’s driving economic, financial, trade and shipping force. Since 2000, the economy has grown in leaps and bounds further accelerated by the successful Word Expo hosted in 2010. And it was the Expo that placed Shanghai firmly in the sites of tourists that wanted a bit more exoticism for their hard-earned cash.

Shanghai's Pudong area with the Oriental Pearl Tower in ascendancy
Shanghai’s Pudong area with the Oriental Pearl Tower in ascendancy

For Western visitors, Shanghai is the perfect introduction to Asia. A rich blend of East and West combined to provide an exciting Asian flavour, with the Western influence affording a cultural safety net, should it be needed.

But where to stay while indulging in the undoubted delights of Chinese culture and cuisine?

The answer… Hyatt on the Bund!

To understand the beauty of the Bund, visualise the Huangpu River drawing a liquid line between old, stately, colonial Shanghai on the one side, and progressive, modern, dynamic Shanghai on the opposite bank. The Bund is a golden boulevard, perhaps the most beautiful in the world, lined with grand European colonial architecture. The concourse hugs the Huangpu River for almost two kilometres and stretches from the scenic Waibadu Bridge in the north to the River Cruise terminal in the south.

Hyatt on the Bund is an imposing twin-towered building on the western shore of the Huangpu River just north of Suzhou Creek that opens up like a flower onto the river and astonishing views of Shanghai’s dual but complementary personality.

Arrival

Hyatt on the Bund has a spacious and welcoming lobby that assures the guest that he or she is valued. This is further underscored by the seamless, professional and friendly check-in process, which soon sees the guest zipping heavenward in the escalator towards an assigned room.

Room view towards Oriental Pearl Tower
Room view towards Oriental Pearl Tower

Rooms

Hyatt on the Bund has 631 rooms and suites classified as Standard, View, Grand Club and Suite. This is a luxury review, so head straight up to a River View King room! Located on the upper floors, access to the room is via proximity card. The 45 square meter room is very comfortably furnished with a king bed, flat-screen LCD TV and work desk. IPod docking and high-speed Internet access neatly rounds off technology requirements. The bathroom exudes style with a deep soaking tub and rain shower. However, this all pales into insignificance compared to the view… Oh, what a view!

View

It is easy to suffer writer’s diarrhoea and jot down a long list of adjectives, which I won’t do. But the view is a.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y. stunning! Looking south, the Bund reclines luxuriously along the western shore in golden splendour. Majestic old-world architecture harking back to the Roaring Twenties, a time of années folles when mystery, adventure and the extraordinary became, well, commonplace. Glance towards the opposite shore and modern China soars garishly into the 21st Century, skyscrapers vying with each other to reach ever higher. And in-between, on the influential Huangpu, river craft of all sorts, from neon-lit pleasure craft to lumbering ocean-going vessels, flow past in a non-stop parade of Chinese and international commercial transact.

View from lift over Puxi
View from the Hyatt toward Puxi

Dining

Aroma on level 2 serves an extensive buffet based on an open-kitchen concept. Six stations present a variety of Japanese, Chinese and Western delicacies with a pastry counter for after-dinner dessert. While some guests might be slightly hesitant to sample sashimi that has been left out in the open for a while, the roast duck, wok and noodle dishes certainly satisfy demanding palates.

If buffet is not your style, Hyatt offers Xindalu in the lobby, which serves authentic Chinese regional dishes, and Vue Restaurant on level 30 in the West Tower for classic European fare.

Entertainment

Sipping a champagne or exotic cocktail with an expansive view of the Bund and Pudong is all possible at VUE Bar on levels 32 and 33 in the West Tower.  The open-air terrace with daybed seating and a whirlpool bath is situated on level 33.

Amenities

The Hyatt on the Bund boasts an all-weather swimming pool with a depth of 0.8 to 1.3m on the lower lobby level. Guests may also avail themselves of the fitness centre and Yuan Spa, which all form part of the hotel’s recreational and wellness offering.

Service

The quality of service is exemplified by an incident during a stay when, bedded down for the night, an inquisitive knock sounded at the door. Upon closer investigation it proved hotel security had picked up on their proximity access database that the bedroom door had not been shut properly and they wanted to make sure the lawful occupants were safe and sound. Superb!

View over the Bund from the Hyatt
View over the Bund from the Hyatt

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