HOW MANY ROOMS? 720 guestrooms, of which 55 are suites. The categories consist of deluxe room (30-35 sqm), executive room (40-45 sqm), executive suite (63-87 sqm), Sky suite (124 sqm), River View suite (114 sqm), Marriott suite (164 sqm) and Chairman suite (245 sqm).
ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The work desk is well thought out and useful, with the outlets firmly placed on the wall and the lamp providing light in the right place. The large windows that let in ample sunlight create a cheery atmosphere.
PRICE Internet rates for an executive King room in mid-January start from RMB1,980 (US$314).
CONTACT 555 Xizang Road (Middle), Huangpu District, Shanghai 200003, tel +86 21 2312 9888, www.shanghaimarriott.com
VERDICT The staff, particularly those manning reception, shone with their cheerful mien and prompt responses to our requests. We enjoyed interacting with them.
BACKGROUND The Marriott Group now boasts 23 properties in Shanghai falling under its different brands, including Shanghai Marriott Hotel City Centre, which joined the collection in November of last year.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? An extremely spacious lobby is framed on one side by a grand staircase that sweeps up three floors and catches the eye immediately. The team at reception were instantly welcoming, with one of them suggesting that I sign up immediately as a Marriott Rewards member to enjoy free internet access in the room and meeting areas once I registered. When I asked if I could have my China SIM card topped up, they said they would attend to it, which they did. To see a set of young professionals so motivated in their job gave me a feeling that my three-day stay would be a pleasant one.
WHERE IS IT? The hotel overlooks People’s Square – the geographical centre of the city – and is near several tourist landmarks, Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street, People’s Park and the Bund. The nearest subway station is the People’s Square metro hub (connecting lines 1, 2 and 8).
ROOM FACILITIES I had an Executive King room that enjoyed abundant morning sunshine, which did the trick of perking me up for the day’s appointments. The necessary corporate tools were scattered around the 40 sqm room, including a glass-topped desk and adjustable lamp, conveniently located electrical, cable and USB outlets (with one more socket by the bed), a tan leather executive chair (though I would have preferred one of those Herman Miller Aeron types), iPod docking station-cum-alarm clock and an appropriately large flatscreen TV. Internet access is automatically free for Marriott Rewards members. (Visitors, however, get free internet in the lobby, lobby lounge and restaurants, but not in the meeting spaces.) The bathroom was well lit and boasted a huge round mirror as well as the more personal face mirror that I find to be an indispensable grooming aid.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS I was able to try three of the hotel’s five F&B options. I had breakfast at the Shanghai City Bistro, which boasts an extensive spread of both Chinese and Western offerings. I had drinks with friends in the Lobby Lounge, comprising the lobby section and the stylish Winter Garden Atrium set under a glass canopy from where a network of candle-shaped lights hang. And finally I enjoyed dinner at the famous Japanese chain Inagiku, where the chefs outdid themselves with a kaiseki dinner that featured delicacies such as snow crab with egg, lobster with starch, sesame tofu and tenderstem broccoli, premier wagyu and asparagus small hotpot, among others.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES The entire fifth level is dedicated to events with two pillar-free ballrooms, catering for 220 and 550 guests, each with pre-function areas. The bigger ballroom features a high-resolution 9x5-metre LED screen that will answer planners’ needs for staging impressive presentations. Thirteen breakout rooms, including seven with natural light, are available for a variety of setups.
Following Marriott’s “Spirit to Preserve” policy, the hotel is all for companies hosting “green events”, with meeting packages that feature linen-less conference tables, bamboo stationery sets and recycled paper, etc. Or they can use up their event’s remaining carbon footprint through a carbon offset programme.
LEISURE FACILITIES On level six you can find the spa with six private rooms, the fitness centre and a 25-metre indoor pool with a glass roof that lets in natural light to illuminate your lap exercises. The floor-to-ceiling windows look down on the activity in the Winter Garden.
Margie T Logarta