First look: The Sukhothai Shanghai

19 Jun 2018 by Valerian Ho
The Sukhothai Shanghai entrance


The Sukhothai Shanghai is only the second Sukhothai Hotels and Resorts property in the world, joining the brand’s other property in Bangkok, Thailand. This contemporary lifestyle hotel is a new member of the independent collection Small Luxury Hotels of the World, and had its soft opening on April 28 this year.

Where is it?

The hotel is situated in the new HKRI Taikoo Hui complex in Shanghai’s Jing’an district, which is also home to a shopping mall, an office building, Swire Hotels’ recently opened The Middle House property and the first overseas Starbucks Reserve Roastery. Traffic permitting, it takes about a 30-minute drive to get to the hotel from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport.

The Sukhothai Shanghai lobby stairs

What’s it like?

Jing’an is a busy district, but the hotel feels quite settled in the surprisingly uncrowded Taikoo Hui complex, meaning it retains a feeling of privacy.

Whereas most hotels offer a spacious lobby with a front desk situated directly in front of the entrance, The Sukhothai Shanghai is a bit different. Decked out in a grey colour palette, the lobby features a long, wide staircase in front of the door that leads up to the event spaces on the second floor. Tucked away behind the staircase are two restaurants and the lobby bar, whereas the check-in area itself is located off to the right-hand side of the entrance, with a long wooden front desk and some simple but comfortable seating. This setup reflects the hotel’s focus on it welcoming walk-in customers for meetings and gatherings, and not just guests staying at the hotel.

Rather than check-in at the front desk, however, I was escorted to my room by a member of staff and checked-in there, so even though the hotel is open to delegates you don’t lose that all-important sense of guest privacy. The process was smooth and the member of staff was friendly, explaining the room’s facilities and patiently answering my questions.

The Sukhothai Shanghai King room

The rooms

There are 201 rooms and suites spanning from Level 3 to 17, the hotel’s top floor. I was staying in a Premier King Room on level 6. This is a spacious accommodation and the simple furniture and design used within the room give it a distinctly residential feel.

Guests concerned about being eco-friendly will be glad to know the property uses diatom-silica clay walls, which are claimed to be highly effectiveness in purifying the air purification, regulating the room’s humidity and absorbing sound. If that’s not enough, there was also an air purifier in the room that was already turned on before I entered.

The room is spacious enough that the designers have been able to place a sofa in the middle of the room in front of the 55-inch TV without it feeling like you are too close to the TV while sitting there.

The Sukhothai Shanghai TV menu

You can also connect your own device to the TV via wifi to display images and video, or bring up the in-room dining and minibar menus up on the screen. Both local and international TV channels are also available.

The Sukhothai Shanghai workdesk

The room also has a wooden work desk located in the corner that has plenty enough to place documents and a laptop without it feeling cluttered. Power outlets are located close by on the wall, and I was particularly enamoured of the design of the table lamp, which was like a glowing magic ball.

The room has a very high ceiling and the view is spectacular, overlooking Taikoo Hui, the surrounding high-rise buildings and the relocated century-old European mansion, Cha House. If you ever get tired of the view, though, curtains and blinds can be shut using the panel next to the bed.

The Sukhothai Shanghai king room bed

The king-sized bed is very large, even for me. At a height of 1.9m I’m used to sleeping at an angle, but here I had plenty of room to lie properly and roll about without falling off the edges. The mattress is also very firm, which is always good for supporting your back.

The Sukhothai Shanghai minibar

The fridge is stocked with complimentary soft drinks and beers. Since the temperature and design of the fridge is similar to the wine cellar, cold white wine is also provided, though this does come with a charge (starting from RMB398/US$62). If that doesn’t strike your fancy, there’s also red wine (starting from RMB398/US$62) and Monkey 47 Gin (RMB888/US$139) made by the hotel’s gin bar on offer in the room.

Overall, the hotel’s in-room service is incredible. In addition to closing the blinds and placing slippers next to the bed, the staff also will prepare decaffeinated tea leaves, allowing guests to have a better night’s sleep.

Not only that, but having requested a wakeup call the previous night, I was then asked in the morning whether I wanted tea or coffee as a wake-up drink, and found myself greeted by a trolley outside my door with a freshly brewed pot of tea. Very thoughtful.

The Sukhothai Shanghai bathroom

The spacious, semi open-plan bathroom also features the property’s grey colour scheme and is quite spacious, offering a large bathtub that took a surprisingly short amount of time to fill.

The Sukhothai Shanghai bathtub and shower

The shower, meanwhile, is thoughtfully designed with the tap located at the opposite end from the water output, allowing guests to adjust the water temperature before actually getting in the shower.

The Sukhothai Shanghai bath kits

You can actually turn on both the rainfall and the regular shower head at the same time, giving you incredibly strong water pressure that feels like you are bathing under a waterfall. Amenities are from Grown Alchemist, an Australian organic brand.

The Sukhothai Shanghai kits

Amenities are located on a tray hung underneath the basin and comprise a toothbrush and comb. This does become a bit inconvenient if you’re tall as you have to bend down to pick up items from the tray each time.

The Sukhothai Shanghai La Scala

Food and beverage

There are five F&B outlets located on the ground floor. These include: the all-day-dining Urban Café; La Scala Italian restaurant; Urban Lounge; Beans & Grapes; and The Zuk Bar. The Urban Lounge is particularly worth checking out, as it features a gallery with over 100 kinds of gin and premium tonics from around the world, and offers a range of beverages from classics such as a gin and tonic to modern twisted cocktails.

Grand Shanghai Ballroom


As mention, the Sukhothai Shanghai has a range of function rooms on level 2, located atop the main staircase in the lobby. These range from the 15-sqm Beijing Room to the 300-sqm Grand Shanghai Ballroom. The historical Cha House can also be used for events such as product launches and banquets.

The Sukhothai Shanghai spa


Located on LG1, The Retreat offers a range of Southeast Asian healing therapies and wellness programmes. Guests can also workout at the Fitness Studio or take a dip in the 25-metre-long heated indoor pool, of just relax in the sauna and steam rooms. If you’re looking to explore the area a bit, the hotel also lends out bicycles to guests.

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