W Shanghai – The Bund is the latest addition to the city’s already iconic view and the only hotel in Shanghai with an outdoor pool overlooking the futuristic cityscape.
Its enviable location on the bank of the Huangpu river is just a short hop across the water to the Oriental Pearl, Jin Mao and Shanghai Tower, and only a short walk to the International Cruise Terminal metro station.
The interest from local residents has already exceeded expectation according to Global Brand Leader, Anthony Ingham, and with two restaurants, two bars and an AWAY spa there’s plenty to keep guests entertained and pampered.
YEN restaurant serves traditional Cantonese cuisine with global ingredients. The menu includes crab and pork dumplings, wok-fried radish cake and lemongrass-infused Ai-Yu jelly. After dinner, the attached speakeasy bar, Liquid, is a chilled out spot to enjoy a drink and take in the view.
There’s also New York City bistro The Kitchen Table offering up-market surf and turf with a great wine selection, and WOOBAR, serving an extensive menu of endlessly inventive cocktails, including sesame-infused Negroni.
The hotel’s striking semicircular design means most rooms and communal spaces afford panoramic views over the city. ‘The design flows, it’s a great place to walk around with lots to discover,’ says general manager Christian Humbert.
The Shanghai influence extends throughout the hotel from the long, narrow brickwork – inspired by the French Concession – to ‘Electric Laneway’, a neon art piece in the foyer modelled after the washing lines and lane houses that dissect the city.
There are Asian references throughout. The dumpling and chopstick throw pillows are a nice touch, as are the blossom mosaics in the spa and mood lighting inspired by Shanghai’s many highways – ribbons of red blinkers that wind between the skyscrapers.
‘We really focused on narrative with the design to help our staff connect with guests,’ says Humbert of the brand’s meticulous, verging on obsessive, attention to detail. ‘There’s a story to every feature.’
When Culture Trip spent a few days at the W Shanghai, it became clear why the hotel was fast emerging as the spot for locals.
‘Great hotels create really distinct experiences,’ says Anthony Ingham. ‘They are more than just a place to eat, sleep and shower. They are a microcosm of human life.’
W Shanghai has a team of people dedicated to creating these distinct experiences. Its Insiders (the W’s expert concierges) can source last-minute tickets, dinner with a view and exclusive access to up-and-coming talents in fashion, food and the arts, including Jasmine Ting, co-founder of fashion label Arete, who gave Culture Trip a tour of her studio.
‘Our Barcelona property has become a destination not because of its striking architecture but because of the vibe,’ explains Ingham. ‘That’s what we’re creating here.’
A city this energetic, eclectic and astounding needs a hotel to match – and the W is well on its way to becoming synonymous with Shanghai.