Raffles Hotels and Resorts became the latest international hotel brand to enter Shenzhen’s hotel sector earlier this month when it opened the Raffles Shenzhen – currently only one of two Raffles hotels in mainland China after the Raffles Hainan in Sanya. The new hotel is now the 14th property worldwide for the Accorhotels-owned brand.
The luxury hotel brand is expanding its global portfolio, with Raffles Maldives Meradhoo also having opened this month and five new properties in the pipeline set to open in the coming years. The brand’s first property, Raffles Singapore, is currently under renovation and is expected to open to the public again in August this year.
Where is it?
Raffles Shenzhen is housed in one of the high-rise buildings (T7) at One Shenzhen Bay, a group of mixed-use skyscrapers developed by Shenzhen-based real estate group, Parkland Group. The development is located in the city’s Nanshan district, an emerging financial and technology hub and the headquarters of China’s most well-known technology giant, Tencent. It’s also close to the Qianhai and Shekou areas, part of Guangdong Province’s pilot free trade zone area.
Traffic permitting, getting to Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport takes approximately 35 minutes by car. It’s also only a few minutes away from Shenzhen Bay Port, one of the road borders between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, from which it takes less than an hour to reach downtown Hong Kong.
What’s it like?
The hotel occupies floors 33-45 as well as 70-71 of the 72-storey tower, which also has a Raffles Brand Residence. The hotel concierge is on the ground floor, and guests will need to take a lift to the lobby on the 34th floor when checking-in.
Once inside the lobby, reception is on the left-hand side, where you can also see the hotel’s signature art piece – a square-shaped wooden board with an aqua blue surface and rounded edges, the design intended to signify harmony. There are three counters for check-in and check-out at both corners, one of which is dedicated for members of the group’s loyalty programme, Le Club Accorhotels.
After finishing check-in, you’ll need to take another set of lifts to transfer to the guestrooms, which are all located on the 35th to 45th floors. There are two other lifts that take you to 70th and 71st floors where the hotel’s Chinese restaurant, Long Bar and concert hall are situated.
It’s here that I ought to mention one of Raffles’ standout features, its 24-hour butler service, to which all guests have access. As soon as I entered the hotel, a young female butler came by to greet me and assist me with my luggage. After I arrived at my room, she gave a brief introduction of the in-room facilities, and even offered to lead me around the hotel later. What’s more, whenever I called the service centre to ask for something, she invariably arrived at my doorstep very soon after.
Most parts of the hotel, from guestrooms to restaurants, are equipped with floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing guests to get a panoramic view of the Shenzhen Bay area from high above, including the Shenzhen Bay Port, Shenzhen Bay Bridge, and the northwestern Yuen Long district of Hong Kong. I’ve travelled a lot between Shenzhen and Hong Kong via the Shenzhen Bay Port, but this was the first time I’ve been able to get a look over the border facility from above.
Weather permitting, you can even see Shenzhen’s Futian business district off in the distance in the other direction.
The property has 168 guestrooms and suites, with sizes starting at a generous 60 sqm. The rooms and suites are divided into seven categories, the most lavish of these, the Presidential Suite, measures about 434 sqm. Some of the guestrooms have spectacular sea views, so try to get one of these rooms if you can.
I was staying in a 60-sqm Deluxe City View Room with a king-sized bed on the 39th floor. It was a pity that I didn’t get a sea view room, but members of staff assured me that guests staying in city view rooms can expect a good view of the sunset against the cityscape instead.
At 60 sqm the room is rather spacious, helped by the floor-to-ceiling windows that allow ample natural light to flood in. During the day, the curtains will open automatically when you enter the room. A sofa and a work desk are positioned in front of the window and the hotel also offers a full stationery kit with a pencil, ruler, eraser, stapler, clips and sticky notes.
The overall design and layout of the bedroom area exudes a warm ambience. The headboard features traditional Chinese ink wash painting, which matches well with the two Chinese-style wall lamps and the soft and warm light. There’s also a pillow menu offering nine types of pillows from which to choose.
The mini bar, hidden inside the wardrobe beside the TV, was stocked with complimentary juices (orange, lychee and coconut water) as well as nuts, chocolate bars, Nespresso coffee capsules and a TWG tea collection of English breakfast tea, vanilla bourbon tea, oolong prestige and grand jasmine tea.
The bathroom was also sizeable, outfitted with Tuscan Soul toiletries by Salvatore Ferragamo. If you feel like having a bubble bath, you can just call the service centre and ask a butler to arrange one for you.
Preparation takes around 30 minutes. A word to the wise, 10pm seemed to be a peak hour for bubble baths. When I called the service centre at around 10:20pm on my second night, I was told that I might need to wait for another 10 to 20 minutes, as there were many calls coming in asking for this service. Luckily, just a few minutes later, a butler rang my bell and arranged a bath for me.
On the opposite of the bathroom is a small dressing room with dedicated space for guests to place their luggage. Some other in-room amenities like slippers, a safe, night robes and clothes hangers can be found here.
Food and beverage
There are six restaurants and bars in the hotel. Raffles Patisserie, located by the entrance of the hotel (8am-8pm), offers a selection of French pastries, desserts, as well as refreshments for take-away.
Sky Café on the 34th floor serves international buffet for breakfast (6:30-10:30am) and dinner (6-10pm).
During breakfast hours, in addition to the buffet offering international fare along with Chinese noodles and dim sum, an à la carte menu is also available. Some of my travel companions spoke highly of the fresh vegetarian options as well. For lunch (12-2:30pm), a set menu is offered for guests at the moment, though I was told by members of staff that a buffet lunch is set to be introduced at a later date. The food selection for the buffet dinner was even more impressive, especially the seafood and dessert sections.
Lobby bar RUI Lounge (10am-12pm; afternoon tea 2-6pm) and Japanese restaurant Kokoni – offering a dinner-only Japanese kaiseki (5:30-10:30pm) – can also be found on the same floor. A nice touch at Kokoni is the origami paper cranes and swans that are placed on each diner’s placemat.
Yun Jing, occupying the entire 70th floor, is a Chinese fine dining restaurant featuring innovative Cantonese cuisine for lunch (11:30am-2:30pm) and dinner (5:30-10:30pm). Besides a main dining hall and a few small private rooms, there are five larger private rooms themed with different stones and gems. The largest sapphire-themed room can accommodate up to 18 guests and is equipped with an open kitchen.
An iteration of Raffles Hotels’ renowned Long Bar is perched high up in the building on the 71st floor, open from 2pm to 12am (1am on Fridays and Saturdays). There’s a cocktail foyer at the entrance as well as a mezzanine floor inside with two small private rooms. Afternoon tea (2-6pm) is served based on reservations.
Here you can also savour the lychee-infused Shenzhen Sling, a local twist on the famous Singapore Sling cocktail originally conceived of in the Long Bar at Raffles Singapore. A non-alcoholic version made with lychee tea and ginger beer is also offered, which tastes sweet and refreshing.
In terms of fitness and wellness options, there is a 24-hour fitness centre outfitted with Technogym equipment and large windows overlooking the sea.
The 25-metre long indoor swimming pool is located next door, open from 6am to 10pm daily. The pool temperature generally ranges from 26 to 28 degrees Celsius. There are also two Jacuzzis set to a warmer 38 degrees.
Raffles Spa (10am-11pm) can also be found on the same floor with six treatment rooms as well as sauna and steam rooms.
Meeting and event facilities
Raffles Shenzhen has 3,000 sqm of event space, including a 1,250-sqm pillarless Grand Ballroom and eight multi-function halls all located on the second floor.
The property also houses the Sky Concert Hall, which at 320 metres above ground on the 71st floor is acknowledged to be the world’s tallest concert hall by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. There’s even a helipad at the rooftop of the building, which can also be used for event purposes, though unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to get a sneak preview.
The Raffles Shenzhen lives up to the brand’s reputation for luxury. Its facilities, service and in-room amenities are of a high standard. I was particularly impressed by the Raffles butler service. The professionalism and attentiveness of the hotel’s butlers met all my needs in a timely fashion and I felt I was being well taken care of, with the butlers making me feel at home.
- Best for… a number of high standard facilities as well as timely and quality service offered by the Raffles butlers.
- Don’t miss… getting a Shenzhen Sling at the Long Bar while enjoying a good view overlooking the Shenzhen Bay area.
- Price Internet rates for a Deluxe City View Room in mid-July start from RMB2,250 (US$326), tax and surcharges not included.
- Contact T7, One Shenzhen Bay, 3008 Zhongxin Road, Nanshan District, Shenzhen, China; +86 755 8666 8666; raffles.com