WHAT’S IT LIKE? Les Suites Orient takes its name from the historic, art deco-style structure – known as The Orient Building – which it occupies. John Liu, founder of Les Suites Hotel Group, has managed to infuse this latest addition to his boutique portfolio with the same spirit that made Les Suites Da-An and Les Suites Ching-Cheng in Taipei favourites with those who treasure intimacy and appreciate timeless design and unusual art forms.
The reception is on the third floor, ensconced in a lobby free of furnishings, except for a period illustration of the Bund and an antique piano. Natural light from picture windows helps create an airy, welcoming space.
WHERE IS IT? In the south portion of the Bund, within walking distance of the touristy Yu Gardens and a short taxi ride to People’s Square and Nanjing and Huaihai roads. Directly opposite Les Suites Orient is the ferry terminal where CNY2 (29 cents) will get you across to the construction miracle that is Pudong.
ROOM FACILITIES There are 168 guestrooms and suites and, due to the irregular size of the building, views differ in each unit but are of either the Bund, Yu Garden or Huangpu River or two of the three or – in the Orient Suite – all three. I was assigned the Bund Deluxe room, where the “wow” factor was apparent the moment I opened the door and was greeted by the brilliance of the Bund by night through floor-to-ceiling windows.
The desk was not overly large but at least the outlet panel was conveniently located just under the tabletop’s left side and above the personal safe, which was fitted into a drawer. Management should consider adding another socket so that one can charge one’s laptop, BlackBerry (or mobile phone) and camera all at the same time.
In the spacious bathroom, a 15-inch wall-mounted LCD TV keeps one occupied during a long soak and found embedded in the vanity mirror is a digital temperature indicator.
RESTAURANTS & BARS Complimentary breakfast in Les Suites’ Taipei properties is taken in a cosy living room setting, enhanced by an extensive buffet. Les Suites Orient has retained its generous morning spread, albeit served in a large dining room on the second floor that is anchored by a sturdy-looking table fashioned out of a single piece of wood.
If you don’t feel like socialising, you’re free to take one of the few stand-alone tables provided.
On the same floor, there’s a cigar bar, and Le Lounge, just next to it, reflects Liu’s fondness for designing elegant residence-type hotels. The towering bookshelves found in Les Suites Da-an are replicated in the Shanghai property. An extension of Le Lounge on the third floor boasts a number of corners to hold small meetings or chats needing privacy. There are work stations here.
BUSINESS FACILITIES Wi-Fi is available for free in the guestrooms as well as throughout the hotel. There’s a boardroom for 12 people and the 24-hour business centre can provide laptops and audio-visual equipment if required. All guests are entitled to two hour’s use of this facility per stay.
LEISURE FACILITIES The fitness centre is also open 24 hours and comes with free weights, treadmills and cross-training machines with flat-screen TVs and music channels. Yoga enthusiasts can keep up their practice on a special platform.
VERDICT This is a superb product, both for its hardware and its software. We can’t forget that room with the great Bund view.
HOW MANY ROOMS? The total inventory consists of 51 Shanghai Studio rooms, 14 Bund Studio rooms, 44 Shanghai Deluxe rooms, 16 Bund Deluxe rooms, 26 Shanghai Suites, 15 Bund Suites and 1 Orient Suite.
ROOM HIGHLIGHTS Outstanding factors were the spectacular view of the sweep of the Bund through the floor-to-ceiling windows – the first to capture one’s eye upon entering – and the room’s uncluttered design.
PRICE Internet rates in mid-September start from US$187 for an entry-level Shanghai Studio and from US$258 for a Bund Deluxe room.
CONTACT 1 East Jinling Road, Shanghai 200002, China, tel 86 21 6320 0088, www.lesuitesorient.com
Margie T Logarta