BACKGROUND This hotel was originally going to open in late 2008 as Conrad Shanghai, with Jumeirah Shanghai across the street. But the global financial crisis put a brake on the projects, even though much of the hardware was already built. After some months, it was finally announced that it would become The Langham Xintiandi and the other tower would be Andaz Shanghai. At the time of my visit in June, finishing touches were still being made to amend the décor and make it consistent with the Langham brand.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Distinguished by its window-wall patterns in Chinese granite, the eye-catching exterior treatment was designed by Kohn Pederson Fox Associates and is derived from traditional Chinese latticework. The interior is the work of award-winning design firm Remedios Siembieda, and also incorporates a lot of Chinese design elements, interpreted in a contemporary way. Walking into the lobby, the atrium immediately gave me a sense of space, with the green hues adding a sense of calm.
WHERE IS IT? As its name declares, this property is located in the famous entertainment district of Xintiandi – developed by Shui On Land (also a majority stakeholder of the hotel) from a neighbourhood of shikumen (stone gate) houses – an architectural style unique to Shanghai that blends Western and Chinese elements.
A host of restaurants and bars in Xintiandi offer everything from Chinese and Italian fare to Japanese cuisine, and some of them offer outdoor seating. Unique shops can also be found here, including the four-level Xintiandi Style mall that opened last year. It aims to feature local fashion talents. Being able to stay right across the street from this entertainment hub was a bonus, and there is also direct access to the Xintiandi Station of Metro lines 10 and 13.
ROOM FACILITIES Because of the curvilinear shape of the building, many of the rooms are unusually shaped. My Grand Corner room, facing east, was one. The 43 sqm space felt very comfortable and stylish, with details such as rich, stitched-leather headboards and green-and-gold wool carpets featuring a paisley-like motif. The floor-to-ceiling windows offered great city views, and I appreciated the king-size bed, large work desk and ample closet space. The espresso machine was also a nice touch.
The umbrella in the closet, which I used because I arrived on a rainy day, was not the usual dull design but featured a subtle, dark floral pattern. The pens in the room also had a floral pattern, but much showier in the hotel brand’s signature pink colour – little things that guests rarely pay attention to, but when extra effort has been made, it can really make an impression.
A 40-inch flatscreen TV, an interactive digital audio system that includes an iPod docking station, and wifi complete the tech features. Other room types include the 40 sqm Grand Room and 48 sqm Grand Studio, while the Langham Club Grand Room and Langham Club Grand Studio, on the 23rd to 28th floors, come with perks such as lounge access, late check-out and butlers. There are six types of suites starting from the 55 sqm junior suite.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS Not all the food and beverage outlets were open when I stayed, but I did get to visit fine-dining Chinese restaurant Ming Court, specialising in Shanghainese, Sichuan and Cantonese dishes. The public dining hall, with full-length windows looking out on what has become the XTD elevated outdoor lounge, is streamlined and chic – with just the right amount of ceramic decorations to highlight its ethnic identity. I was particularly impressed by the seafood dishes. Other outlets that have since begun operation are Cachet, serving Western and pan-Asian fare, and Cachet Martini Bar.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES There are nine venues spread over two levels, including the Xintiandi Grand Ballroom that can seat up to 600 delegates. One of the highlights is the Meetings Suite, which is specially designed as an all-in-one facility integrating meeting, dining and relaxation. A designated section featuring a range of PCs can be accessed anytime, a definite plus for meeting delegates who don’t want to carry their laptops around all day.
LEISURE FACILITIES There is a well-equipped 24-hour fitness studio and a 25-metre heated indoor pool. A Chuan Spa has also just opened here.
HOW MANY ROOMS 357 guestrooms and suites
ROOM HIGHLIGHTS Everything works in the room at the touch of a button and the oversized bathtub is a great way to relax after a long day
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in mid-December start from RMB1,900 (US$299)
CONTACT 99 Madang Road; tel +86 (21) 2330 2288; http://xintiandi.langhamhotels.com
Although many of the facilities were not open when I stayed, the elegant spaces and rooms made me feel like a privileged guest. With the hotel now fully operational, I will definitely make a point to return.