BACKGROUND Andaz Shanghai became the 12th member of Hyatt Hotels and Resorts’ lifestyle oriented brand when it opened in October 2011. Predecessors are located in London, Amsterdam and the US, with two currently being built in Sanya and Tokyo.
It occupies one of two buildings that were left untenanted for some years due to a dispute between the owner and the original hotel management company. The Langham Xintiandi took over the opposite tower block.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? With its distinctive, irregular lattice-like façade – designed by well-known architects Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates – the 28-storey hotel can’t help but stand out in this much frequented district.
The lobby is a spacious one. It accommodates a small reception area manned by Andaz “hosts”, who not only open doors, hail taxi cabs and check you in, but also offer you a welcome drink or espresso and snacks, and cheerfully remain your all-around service touch point during your stay. Also here is the Andaz Lounge, which guests are welcome to use as their unofficial office to catch up on work or invite business partners over for casual meetings.
The artwork, which is a trademark of Andaz properties, is all by local artists and quite edgy; each is an eye-catcher, such as the row of rabbit-like figurines on a ledge, the colourful mosaic-like wooden divan, and especially the egg-shaped brushed-steel installation over the bar, which matches the slatted walls curving around the reception counter.
WHERE IS IT? Think buzzing nightlife and entertainment in Shanghai – Xintiandi comes instantly to mind, and the hotel is just steps away from all that energy.
ROOM FACILITIES Caramel-hued wall panelling with dark streaks contrasted with the striped flooring to give my 40 sqm Andaz King room a reassuring warmth. The headboard, made up of bright-red patterned fabric, was an art piece in itself, but was so busy it sometimes distracted me from settling down to sleep. Bedside controls manage the AC, mood lighting and drapes.
Instead of the usual rectangular work desk, the designer decided to try out a round glass table (with a philosophical line, both in English and Chinese, etched in the middle), which allows space to spread out one’s work materials or flexibility to face the room interior or the view of Xintiandi below. Charging outlets are embedded in the lower part of the nearby wall, and more are found in the panel under the 42-inch flatscreen TV and beside the phone.
One room feature that is hyped up is the LED mood lights on the ceiling and in the bathroom – specifically adding tones to the bathtub and sink. To be honest, I hardly used the system, preferring to use the regular light bulbs, but I delighted in the heated bathroom floor, which was welcome especially in winter.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS With a wealth of dining choices within easy access, the hotel wisely created experiences tempting enough to catch people’s attention. Éclair, off the lobby, is a good example, offering a tempting array of the classic French pastry, including such unusual flavours as Citrus and Grand Marnier and Raspberry. Adjoining the building is Hai Pai, a four-level hub housing two restaurants serving French and Chinese, a bar and private dining rooms. I dined once in the Chinese section and was served a succulent Shanghainese braised pork and xiao long pao (classic steamed dumplings). Diners can later move to alfresco seating outside for coffee or liqueurs and to watch the pedestrian parade.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES There are 11 options for conducting conferences or networking, from the Meeting Studios for 14 to 16 participants up to a ballroom for 330 guests in a banquet setup or 460 guests for cocktails. The latest in audio-visual systems further enhance these spaces.
LEISURE FACILITIES Optime Spa, spread over 2,200 sqm, combines a fitness centre using Technogym equipment, a 15-metre indoor pool and 10 ensuite rooms to enjoy soothing body therapies. The gym is open 24 hours for in-house guests, while swimming is allowed between 6am and 11pm.
VERDICT Some design-led hotels fall into the trap of wanting to appear so cool or cutting edge that they forget their primary duty of being welcoming. Thankfully, this Andaz does not.
Margie T Logarta
HOW MANY ROOMS?
307: 193 Andaz King, 51 Andaz Twin, 16 Andaz Large, 17 Andaz Extra Large, 15 Andaz Suite, four Attic, five Andaz Loft, one Andaz Large Suite and two Andaz Extra Suite, one Penthouse Spa, one Penthouse Sky View and one Penthouse Garden.
HIGHLIGHTS The heated bathroom floor, which we do not come across in many hotels in the region.
PRICE An Andaz King room in mid-April is priced at RMB1,600 (US$256) per night.
CONTACT 88 Songshan Road, Shanghai 200021; tel +86 21 2310 1234; www.andazshanghai.com