Tried & Tested

Hotel check: The One Executive Suites Shanghai

31 Aug 2013 by Clement Huang

BACKGROUND

Having managed hotels since 1897, Kempinski thought it could parlay the experience to the luxury serviced residence field, starting out in 1993 in Beijing, and now boasting 15 properties globally. In Asia, the product is present in Bangkok, Jakarta and now Shanghai. 

The One and its just launched sibling Grand Kempinski Hotel Shanghai (the former Gran Melia Shanghai that was taken over in 2010) strengthen the venerable hospitality company in a fiercely competitive market.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

Gleaming glass, honeyed marble and art-deco touches (most obvious in the details of the main entrance door and lighting fixtures) come together in what is a product that announces itself to be in the boutique luxury tier – and proud of it.

The lobby is small, but doesn’t feel so because of the high ceilings, and warmth is provided by the mosaic accent wall behind the reception desk and white sculpture of a Chinese gentleman whimsically bowing a welcome to guests.

WHERE IS IT?

The Jing’an neighbourhood is undergoing a major transformation with several mega commercial-retail projects on the cusp of creating a dazzling new CBD. The Jing An Shangri-La, central to the 450,000 sqm Kerry Centre, recently debuted with 508 guestrooms and a classy steakhouse. 

The One’s entrance is set back from the road, and is thus not easily seen, so be mindful of nearby landmarks when returning from appointments in a vehicle not hired from The One. The discrete entrance, however, creates the feeling of your own private address in a city whose endless dynamism can sometimes be wearying.

ROOM FACILITIES

The objets d’art and books on the shelves, and the artwork on the walls of my 72 sqm Superior Suite looked to have been carefully handpicked to enhance the luxurious ambience.

The usual corporate tech tools are available: wifi access and LAN cable, iPod clock radio, connections for MP3 players and iPod, multi-line telephone with voice mail, LCD flatscreen TV, and computer-size safe with charger. Internet access – available and complimentary throughout the building, including public areas and restaurants.

Long-stay guests can avail themselves of the installed appliances such as the electric cooker, refrigerator, washing machine-dryer, coffee- and tea-making set and chinaware. A fax machine and butler assistance can be requested.

Desks positioned by the charming window seat and the round dining table in the living room provide a choice of work areas. While room service is available, heavier selections can only be ordered from 7am to 9.30pm, and after that only lighter items such as soups and sandwiches.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS

Unlike most serviced apartment operators, The One has more than just a residents’ breakfast room.

It boasts three restaurants: Suyang Club for light Huaiyang cuisine, Hashiya for Japanese favourites, while the Lobby Lounge also doubles as a bistro-bar, providing casual dining throughout the day, with German and local Chinese specialities in the menu as well as high tea and drinks.

BUSINESS FACILITIES

Two function rooms are located just off the lobby. One comes with a round table for 12 persons, and the other, called the VIP Room, is less formal with a sofa arrangement and can also accommodate 12 persons. This is set up as a smoking room in the evenings.

LEISURE FACILITIES

A well-lit gym is managed by Tera Wellness Club, which oversees more than 30 similar facilities throughout China.

There’s not that much room to manoeuvre though as the entire room is packed with equipment, but the floor-to-ceiling windows with a view are the designer’s trick to giving an illusion that there is more space than is really available. 

VERDICT

Once construction in the neighbourhood settles down, Jing’an will be another dazzling feather in Shanghai’s ever-changing cityscape, and The One will definitely benefit from its location there. I was impressed by the alert staff and quality workmanship put into the public areas and residences.

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