It’s been 30 days since we crossed the border from Mongolia to China. It has been an amazing journey with a lot of surprises. One thing is for certain: China is a country with one of the most variety in terms of culture and nature that we have visited so far…so one month is merely not enough!
Now we’re in Shanghai, our last destination before flying to the Philippines.
This gigantic city is special; it has the rich history and sense of community like Beijing, but it is markedly less polluted and more foreign friendly (English is more widely spoken). On the other hand it has the cosmopolitan feel of Hong Kong with shopping malls, cozy café’s, colonial architecture and modern skyscrapers.
During our quick stop in the big city we had the opportunity to stay at the five-star Grand Hyatt Hotel, located in the famous Jin Mao Tower, in the bustling skyscraper district Pudong.
Lets give you a glimpse of our wonderful stay:
We arrived by train from Beijing at the central railway station in Shanghai. From there it was easy to catch the subway to Lujiazui. We easily spotted the Jin Mao tower at the exit; it’s one of the tallest buildings in China and has unique Chinese tiered pagoda-style architecture, unlike the other more typical modern style glass buildings. Interesting fact, we noticed that the structure of the building revolves around the number eight, which is associated with good luck in Chinese culture. It has 88 floors and the tower has an octagonal shape!
We were greeted with welcoming smiles at the hotel lobby on the 54th floor. The 548 rooms are situated on the floors above from there, so you’re guaranteed a superb view over the Shanghai cityscape from your room.
The check-in was managed swiftly and after a super fast elevator ride we entered our room on the 77th floor. We were surprised; the room was massive (40m2)! We were quickly drawn to the floor-to-ceiling windows; the view across the Huangpo River is just breathtaking, lined with lit up colonial buildings by night! The room interior had a classic Art Deco style but with an elegant touch of the local culture. The wall above our bed was artistically decorated with golden Chinese calligraphy, translating to “welcome home”. The spacious bathroom had a stylish mix of white marble, glass and mirrors, the highlight being the separate bathtub with a river view! The 40-inch LCD TV offers a wide range of international satellite channels, including HBO, and a good selection of HD movies on demand without extra charge. Ása really enjoyed the lovely tea and coffee-making facilities in our room but Andri was in love with the touchscreen remote enabling him to adjust the room’s lightning and draw the curtains without getting out of bed!
Notice the beautiful calligraphy art above the bed
After a reviving sleep under a soft feather down duvet we headed down for the breakfast buffet at Grand Café on the 54th floor. The dining area is filled with natural light from the two-story high window front offering panoramic views of the city. The word “Grand” describes the open kitchen buffet adequately, with a team of chefs ready to cook your omelet, slice your ham or help you make your own rice dumplings, a Shanghai special. Aside from a variety of exotic local dishes you’ll find all the best from Western cuisine as well; high quality yogurt from Switzerland and Germany, freshly baked multi grain bread and a selection of French pastries. Not to forget Andri’s favorite: spicy pork sausage with Dijon mustard and honey…yummy! If you’re not the buffet-type you can also choose from the á la Carte menu. Aside from breakfast, Grand Café is open 24 hours and serves an amazing lunch and dinner buffet.
Club Oasis Spa
The swimming pool at the Club Oasis Spa on the 57th floor is one of the highest pools in the world, so once again you won’t have to complain about the view. It’s 17 m in length and 1.6 m deep so taking a few laps is easy and comfortable. We recommend visiting during evening hours (it’s open until 11 pm); the atmosphere is so relaxed and the pool is beautifully lit up at that time. The gender separated spa facilities are free of charge for hotel guests, so make the most out of your stay and soak in the marble Jacuzzi, get your blood flowing in the hot and cold plunges, visit the sauna and fall asleep in the relaxation room. If that doesn’t make you sleep like a baby you can go for a range of facial treatments and massages for a decent price, including oasis stone massage, aromatherapy and oxygen spa therapies.
Relaxed atmosphere at Club Oasis Spa
The fitness center is also located at the Club Oasis on the 57th floor and is open 24 hours daily. It boasts of the latest gym equipment and is filled with natural light. The treadmills facing the windows give you amazing views of the sunrise during your morning run. If you need any advice for weight lifting or basic exercises don’t hesitate to ask the on-site personal trainer.
The Grand Hyatt has many dining options; at the restaurant Canton you’ll find the best flavours in Cantonese cuisine. At the floor above (56th) you’ll find three top notch restaurants with an open kitchen, live-cooking concept, serving everything an international traveller might be craving:
Innovative Italian style restaurant providing an elegant yet comforting dining experience. The food is light and full of fresh flavor. Rarely seen in Asia; here you’ll find authentic oven brick pizzas and home-made pasta!
Here you can watch your prime steaks being cooked to perfection with the built-in central grill and rotisserie station. In addition to premium cuts of beef you’ll find jet fresh seafood (from our home country, Iceland) and an extensive wine list.
High class Japanese restaurant serving top quality sushi, sashimi and yakitori. Don’t miss out on their extensive sake list!
Our highlight during our stay was definitely the Sunday Brunch, a brand new concept, offering the best from all three restaurants and a free flow of champagne. For only 488 RMB this is a killer deal that you can’t miss out on. We’ll let the pictures talk!
The Patio Lounge
After entering gastronomical heaven you can move into the Patio Lounge for some desserts, sitting at the base of one of the largest atriums in the world. This 33 story barrel-shaped spiral is nothing short of spectacular and seemed to amaze us every time. With a live jazz trio playing every weekend, this is the perfect setting to enjoy delicately crafted cakes and snacks with your afternoon tea. Our favorite were the Belgian waffles and the Gelato bar!
Club Jin Mao
This is the one of the best restaurants to truly experience the best from Shanghai cuisine. The view from here is unbeatable and if you’re looking for exclusive dining you’ve come to the right place; they have 6 private dining rooms with different capacities. Shanghainese cuisine has a reputation for sweetness; actually more sugar is used in Shanghai than in any other part of China. Having a sweet tooth ourselves we really enjoyed the glazed sweet and sour pork ribs and the deep-fried mandarin fish served with hot and sweet sauce and pine nuts. We also tried the steamed pork soup dumplings (Xiao long bao) filled with crab meat and roe, served hot in a bamboo basket. It is one of the most famous dish to come from Shanghai, with paper-thin skin, filled with rivers of flavorful soup. It’s a must try at Club Jin Mao.
Cloud 9 Bar
At the hotel’s top floor (87th) is Cloud 9, a chick bar with exquisite 360 views of Shanghai cityscape. The bar has different sections depending on what you’re looking for. One of them has a dedicated dance floor with a DJ spinning the latest tunes every night. The sport bar section is lined with TV screens broadcasting live sport events and offers Erdinger, a German wheat beer, on draught. In another area you can enjoy a glass of the finest whiskey and cigars in a more quiet setting. I recommend trying one of their signature cocktails from the cool lit up menu.
It’s one of the most important things you look for in a hotel. You don’t want to spend to much of your holiday getting from point A to B in busy traffic. You want to be close to the action and the main sights but still in a safe quiet area. Well, the Grand Hyatt has it all; located in the centre of Pudong, Shanghai’s financial and business centre, it’s a short walk from the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower and only a single subway stop from the picturesque Bund and some prime shopping at Nanjing East Road. Even closer is the Super Brand Mall, connected to the hotel on the first floor. The close-by Lujiazui subway station connects you to the rest of the city with ease. We recommend visiting Shanghai’s vibrant art scene. Head to the Power Station of Art, the first state-run museum dedicated to contemporary art in mainland China. The M50 zone has a number of galleries and art cafés that are worth to visit. Lastly indulge in Chinese modern art at the China Art Museum, the largest of its kind in Asia.
Ása with the Jin Mao Tower in the back
Historical architecture at the Bund
One of the many art galleries at district M50
The Grand Hyatt with its personalised service and unmatched views, is one of the finest five-star hotels we have stayed at so far. Our top three highlights were the awe-inspiring atrium above the Patio Lounge, the Sunday Brunch offering everything our taste buds have been craving after backpacking through rural China, and lastly the unbeatable view of Shanghai. If you ever pass by this booming city we truly recommend staying at the Grand Hyatt!
For bookings and other enquires, check out there website here
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