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Hotel check: Grand Kempinski

Published: 02/07/2014 - Filed under: Home » Archive » 2014 » July/August 2014 » Tried and Tested »

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TESTED BY Dan Booth

HOW MANY ROOMS? 686 rooms and suites 

ROOM HIGHLIGHTS Generous lobby, generous rooms, and killer views of Pudong and the Bund. 

PRICE Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in June started at CNY1,500 ($244) for a Superior City View room. 

CONTACT Grand Kempinski Hotel Shanghai, Lujiazui Ring Road 1288, 200120, Shanghai.  Tel +86 21 3867 8888  kempinski.com/en/shanghai.

BACKGROUND In May 2013, Kempinski Hotels took over the Gran Melia Shanghai which had first opened in 2010, and reflagged it the Grand Kempinski Hotel Shanghai.  Kempinski already has a Shanghai property, THE ONE serviced residence, but the opening of the 678-room Grand Kempinski Shanghai represents the group’s first hotel in the city.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? The lobby is immense, but somehow not overwhelming, with plenty of glass and marble and appropriately sized pieces of colorful décor splashed tastefully here and there.  The helical double staircase is especially grand – made me wish I’d packed a tux.  Some hotel lobbies promise more than the rooms can deliver. That, however, is certainly not the case at the Grand Kempinski Shanghai; this expansive welcoming space was the perfect setup for the gracious and well-designed rooms which await the hotel’s guests upstairs.

WHERE IS IT? The Grand Kempinski is located across the Huangpu River from the historic Bund in fast-growing Pudong – in fact the hotel’s imposing front portico and sign are clearly visible from the river. The property is nicely tucked in among the important high-rises that mark the financial district of Lujiazui, an enclave within Pudong. The hotel is about 45 minutes away from both of Shanghai’s airports – in good traffic. 

ROOM FACILITIES The rooms at the Kempinski come with two kinds of views – spectacular and more spectacular.  On the one hand, there are city vistas of Pudong’s prodigious and ever-changing skyline; on the other, the sweeping panorama of the busy Huangpu with the Bund and the rest of Shanghai beyond.  The Bund views cost a little more, but if you can swing it, in my opinion, it’s money well spent.  My Executive Bund View room was vast – over 500 square feet – and impeccably appointed.  The big picture window gave out onto the river scenes, and the drapes and every other fixture in the room were readily accessible from the bedside remote controls.  The marble bath, like everything else in the room, was big and well designed, with a soothing rain shower and a jetted tub.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS The four on-site dining options run to the eclectic, featuring all-day dining with extensive buffet in Elements, Mediterranean cuisine at Acqua, a taste of Spain in Albero and, naturally, Cantonese in the fine dining Suntime Century, which features all-you-can-eat dim sum.  Part of the lobby is given over to a large lounge area with an extensive selection of libations, and the added charm of high tea served in the afternoons. The party’s on in Havana Nights, where you can learn the salsa; or head up to the 30th floor to Red Passion to enjoy a nightcap, DJ beats and more of those sensational skyline views.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES The hotel offers a free-span Grand Ballroom with a capacity of up to 800 guests, plus 13 meeting rooms and the Huangpu Auditorium, Shanghai’s only dedicated hotel auditorium space. The facilities are equipped with a simultaneous interpretation capabilities, plus comprehensive technology, high-speed internet and WiFi. 

LEISURE FACILITIES The health and fitness facilities at the Grand Kempinski are, well, grand.  The spa has three treatment rooms and a number of spa suites, which also feature a steam room, bath and open terrace. The gym and 20-meter indoor pool are both stunning bits of interior design, in addition to having those outstanding 30th-floor panoramas.  

VERDICT From the décor to the service to the views, Kempinski has created a property here that offers a superb luxury experience.  In Shanghai’s increasingly crowded high-end hotel category, the Grand Kempinski Shanghai is a standout. 

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