Tried & Tested

Hotel review: Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai

24 Nov 2019 by Seher Asaf
Four Seasons Shanghai

Background

Four Seasons Shanghai is a 37 storey high rise located in the centre of Puxi, on the west side of  Shanghai’s Huangpu River (the other side is called Pudong). The hotel is within walking distance of a major shopping mall and a number of cafes, including most notably the world’s biggest Starbucks. It is also only a one minute walk from the People’s Square which is home to tourist attractions such as the Shanghai Museum and Grand Theatre. Guests can also walk to Nanjing Road and Huaihai Road, which are major entertainment and business districts in Shanghai. 

The hotel, which opened in October 2002, was revamped in 2015. A total of 196 out of the 420 guest rooms and suites were renovated, along with the ballroom, restaurants and main lobby. 

What’s it like?

Four Seasons Shanghai features design that brings east and west elements together to create a regal yet modern aesthetic throughout the hotel. One of the first things I noticed within the hotel were the Chinese paintings and bronze antiques against the neutral-toned furniture. 

Although the hotel is located on the edge of a busy road, it feels like you’ve been whisked far away from the hustle and bustle of the city once you step into this 420-room property. There are plenty of ceiling-length windows on the ground floor that let lots of natural sunlight flood into the main space and a number of quiet places where you can hold meetings, or simply focus on some work while connected to high-speed wifi. 

Upon entering, guests are greeted by a podium decorated with flowers. Behind it, there is a tall golden-bronze textured piece of artwork. The shape of the chandeliers is quite unique:

Four Seasons Shanghai Lobby

The smell of freshly baked goods and coffee from the Qi Coffee and Bar on the left wafts through the main lobby and concierge area.

Qi Coffee and Bar at Four Seasons Shanghai

The concierge and check-in are both on the right of the hotel. Here’s the check-in area:

Four Seasons Shanghai check-in area

Here you have the concierge:

Four Seasons Shanghai concierge

There’s some seating in this area next to tall windows peering into a laneway leading up to the entrance of the hotel:

Seating by the check-in area at Four Seasons Shanghai

Where is it?

The hotel is situated in the Jing’an neighbourhood. It’s about an hour drive from Shanghai Pudong Airport and a 40 minute drive to the Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station and Hongqiao Airport. While there are many modern malls and buildings in this part of the city, this area is also home to historical houses, buildings and neighbourhoods, including the French Concession – an area full of tree-lined avenues, hipster cafes, relaxed restaurants and bars. The location is great for corporate travellers looking for a ‘bleisure’ experience.

Four Seasons Shanghai also offers Vintage Jeep tours that take guests off the beaten path and into some of the hidden areas of the city. The tour guide in the four-seater jeep will guide you through alleyways that lead to 300 year old houses in the city and meet locals who can tell the story of old Shanghai. During my stay, I joined one of these tours, which was around two hours long, though the hotel lets guests customise the itinerary if they want something shorter. 

The room

I stayed in the hotel’s 61-sqm Grand Premier Room on the 24th floor. It’s quite generously sized for one person. The room had one bedroom, a marble bathroom, a work desk, a coffee table, couches, and a refrigerated private bar.

The hotel describes the new colour palette for the newly-refurbished rooms as “restrained and textural”.

Four Seasons Shanghai Grand Premier Deluxe room

The bed faces the TV which comes with a DVD player:

Four Seasons Shanghai room

There is a comfy couch with a coffee table by the window on the left side of the bed which lets in a lot of natural light during the day (a great area for casual business meetings with two to three people):

Four Seasons Shanghai room

There is a small sofa placed along the side of the bed with a coffee table:

Four Seasons Shanghai room

Here’s the work desk which comes with a multi-line telephone, notepad and pens:

Work space in a room at the Four Seasons Shanghai

Here are the snacks near the refrigerated private bar (most of them are cookies):

Four Seasons Shanghai snacks

By the bed there is an outlet (the iPhone charger in the photo is mine) and three different lighting options: ceiling, reading and night light.

Switches by the bed in Four Season Shanghai's Grand Premier Room

The room also has an electric curtain system that allows guests to open/shut both the rolling shutters and the window curtains by flicking the following switches (this is perfect for those who don’t want to make the journey from bed all the way to the curtains when they’re already snuggled up in bed):

Curtain switches in Four Season Shanghai's Grand Premier Room

The bathroom, which is stocked with thick Terry bathrobes, a hair dryer and some basic amenities, features black marble furnishing and earthy tones:

Bathroom in Four Seasons Shanghai

There is also a walk-in shower on the right-hand side of the bathroom:

Shower at Four Seasons Shanghai

The L’occitane amenities in the bathroom:

Bathroom amenities in Four Seasons Shanghai

The view from the room offers a peak into the hustle and bustle of the city as you can see cars whizzing by along the busy Shanghai roads. If you look closely you’ll see Shanghai’s red brick houses known as shikumen, a traditional Shanghainese architectural style combining Western and Chinese elements:

View from Four Seasons Shanghai's Grand Premier Room

The Lounge

On the highest floor of the hotel, the 37th floor, is the Executive Club Lounge. If you’re here on a solo trip for work, this is the perfect place to hibernate in because it has pretty much everything a corporate traveller would need: a boardroom for private meetings, workstations with printers, two desktop computers,  snacks, and a breakfast buffet in the morning. The design is quite elegant and relaxing with warm lighting, soft furnishings and several interesting artworks throughout the space. In the boardroom, some of the stationary is kept in a gold box decorated with Chinese calligraphy.

Executive Lounge in Four Seasons Shanghai

Here’s a closer look at a small round table near a window with a view of the city:

Tables in Four Season Shanghai's Executive Lounge

When you walk in, you’ll see the following arrangement on the left hand-side:

Artwork in the Executive Lounge

On the left of the lounge is the boardroom where there’s a long table with seats for seven people and it’s also stocked with basic stationary such as pens, paperclips, and notepads:

Boardroom in the Executive Lounge

There are also two work stations in the lounge. Both are stocked with a printer and a desktop. Behind the workstation, you’ll find books on Chinese history, architecture and culture.

Work Station in the Executive Lounge

The breakfast spread in the morning (from 6.30am to 10am) includes a variety of basic breakfast food options: cereal, fruits, breads, Chinese specialities such as dim sum and noodles. There’s also a chefs station where you can request omelettes or an eggs Benedict. If you’re looking for a wider variety of foods, it’s best to head down to the hotel’s Cafe Studio which has more Asian-style food.

Breakfast at the Executive Lounge

Food and Drink

Café Studio, located on the 1st Floor of Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai, offers all-day dining with buffet-style food. During my breakfast here on the third day of my stay at the hotel, I noticed that there is a wide selection of both Western and Asian-inspired home-style cooking. There’s even a live cooking station here where you can pick some of your favourite vegetables and noodles and ask the chef to whip up your very own soup noodle right in front of you. For the slightly less adventurous folks, there’s an omelette station where you can ask for an eggs Benedict or an omelette (similar to the one in the Executive Lounge).

The atmosphere here is quite cosy and the ceiling length windows allow for plenty of natural light to seep into the restaurant space. It was quiet here when I had my breakfast making it a perfect place to check work emails or make phone calls.

Cafe Studio

There’s also the American-style Steak House which, along with meat, also has fresh seafood and an extensive salad bar selection. There’s a private dining room for larger gatherings.

Helmed by master Chinese chef, Michelin Plate Award winning Chinese restaurant Si Ji Xuan offers Cantonese-style cuisine such afternoon dim sum and there’s also selected Shanghainese specialties. If you’re looking for a more filling meal, this is the place to go.

Si Juan restaurant

Finally, the hotel’s Lobby Lounge is for light meals, afternoon tea and evening cocktails. The ambience here is friendly and relaxed making it a good place to hold casual one-on-one business meetings or to just unwind during your downtime. Plenty of comfortable and colourful couches here.

Leisure Facilities

The hotel’s 24-hour Fitness Centre has treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bikes. There’s also an area with yoga mats and weights here. There were oranges, blue towels and headphones available on a table waiting at the entrance.

Fitness Centre

Near the Fitness Centre is the hotel’s pool which also has a number of tables and chairs for those who prefer to lounge than go for a swim:

Four Seasons Shanghai pool

The hotels’ Qin the Spa offers 37 spa therapies and beauty treatments, some of which are inspired by Chinese wellness practices. Located on the sixth floor, this spa is chic in its design with its black tiled floors, red marble tables and flickering candles throughout the main entrance. You can get full head-to-toe massages or opt for something that focuses on a specific area.

Four Seasons Spa

Meetings & Events space

Banquet and conference facilities at Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai offer about 1,290 square meters of meeting space in seven function rooms, each with individual foyers for coffee breaks and cocktails. There is also a ballroom that accommodates up to 700 people, ideal for large-scale corporate events. The hotel said outdoor catering services with choices of menus prepared by Four Seasons Shanghai’s chefs are available for home and office parties.

Verdict

Overall, the Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai has all the key facilities a business traveller on-the-go would need: a spacious and secluded lounge with a boardroom for larger meetings, a comfy room where you can unwind, and a number of on-site dining options. Business travellers who like to carve out time to explore the cities they visit will enjoy staying in this part of the city as the Puxi area is brimming with history, old Shanghai architecture and culture. However, if you have meetings or work that requires you to visit the Pudong area, then perhaps it’s more convenient to book the Four Seasons property on that side of the city.

 

Quick facts

  • Best for… business amenities. There’s definitely everything you need on site to stay productive.
  • Don’t miss... If you want to make this a bleisure trip, definitely opt for the hotel’s old Shanghai Vintage Jeep tours, but if you prefer to keep the trip strictly business, then perhaps you could ask for your own customised noodle soup and watch the chef whisk it in front of you at the Cafe Studio.
  • Price…Starting price for a Grand Premier Room is USD$285 average per night before the addition of the service charge plus taxes per night.
  • Contact…+86 21 6256 8888, 500 Weihai Rd, Jing’an, Shanghai, China, 200041; fourseasons.com/shanghai/
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