While visiting our daughter who was studying at Donghua University in Shanghai, my husband and I stayed at the luxurious Mandarin Oriental in Pudong. Built in 2013, the property is also known as the “Art Hotel,” with 4,000 pieces of artwork displayed throughout the elegant property showcasing 50 different artists.
This area of Pudong is also known as “Skyscrapers in Greenbelts.” The most distinctive and unique skyscraper is the Oriental Pearl Television Tower. It looks like magenta luminous pearls that shine during the day and night sky of Shanghai.
While the Bund is located along the Huangpu River and is the oldest area in Shanghai, Pudong is newer. Less than 20 years ago, Pudong was all farms. This property is in the new Harbour City development. It’s the only hotel in the area with a private boat dock for elegant river cruises.
Guests are welcomed into the high-ceiling lobby with an impressive art masterpiece of 71,459 glass tiles. Each tile is 2″ x 2″ in size, displaying a mosaic of a forest. Nearby are large black stones carved as ripples in water. Above are circular light fixtures hung at angles that represent large diamond wedding bands.
The staff at this property is extensively trained in hospitality to please each guest from check-in to check-out. We were taken up to the tastefully-decorated second floor Club Lounge to enjoy a beverage and snack, as we were efficiently checked in and given our keys to an Executive view suite and an attached Deluxe Twin room for my daughters.
The Club Lounge benefits include breakfast, a light lunch and afternoon tea during the day. Evening cocktails and snacks are available before sunset. Benefits also include on-call butler service, concierge service and laundry, pressing and dry cleaning of two pieces of garments per day and unlimited high speed Internet access throughout the hotel.
Our room oozed elegance with its soft color palette decor and multi-million dollar views of Shanghai. Our room had a luxury sitting area and bedroom with a king-size bed dressed in luxurious Frette linens.
Inside the closet were silk robes and plush slippers. Beyond was the marble bathroom with a soaking bathtub positioned next to the floor-to-ceiling windows to take advantage of the magnificent city and river views.
I enjoyed the opulent bathroom amenities by Ormonde Jayne and plush terry bathrobes by Frette before touring the hotel with Cecilia Yang, the Marketing Manager of the property.
We met on the second floor to learn more about the local art. Among the prestigious names in the extensive collection is Chinese artist Lai De Quan, a national-level master artist whose pieces have been presented to several world dignitaries. “Master Lai has created 44 porcelain pieces especially for the hotel,” said Yang.
This talented artist invented a new technique of glaze painting directly onto traditional Jingdezhen porcelain for his panel collection, Scenes of Jiangnan. “Guests can see these on display in the guest room corridors and Presidential Suite,” said Yang as we walked past one of the artist’s pieces.
Yang took me to the MO (Mandarin Oriental) Spa to see a multitude of elegant porcelain butterflies. “No other living creature undergoes such dramatic change as the butterfly,”said Yang. “Guests feel rejuvenated after experiencing a relaxing treatment.” Each room is named after the word butterfly in a different language. The hallway was spacious and the Papillon spa suite had two tables and an extra large bathtub.
Strolling over to the restaurants, I learned that each one offers indoor and outdoor patio dining. Zest is the multi-station restaurant located on the LG level offering alfresco breakfast, lunch and dinner. Nearby were whimsical modern ink artworks by Da Cai. The focus was fish and inspiration from a quote from the ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuang Zi. “The artist reflects on the nature of how the behavior of fish resembles that of humans,” Yang informed me. “Cai also incorporates her passion for food.”
Inside the Art-Deco-inspired Fifty 8 Grill, I learned that the acclaimed Michelin-starred chef Richard Ekkebus oversees this French fusion menu using the freshest ingredients with exceptional kitchen craftsmanship. Inside the dining room are a few eye-catching art pieces.
Located on the lower ground of the hotel, the Chinese restaurant Yong Yi Ting’s chef Tony Lu prepares healthier dishes. “The food is presented in a refined dining way,” stated Yang. The star art piece is a lady in a traditional one-piece Chinese dress and a collection of linked chains hanging down near silk banners.
There is a private wine-tasting room situated inside the cellar for intimate wine-pairing dinners with regional Jiang Nan cuisine. Using only the finest and freshest seasonal ingredients, Chef Lu adds a touch of modernity to both his presentation and cooking techniques.
At the end of the tour, we visited the neighboring tower that houses service apartments, with studio to three-bedroom suites for long-term guests and expats.
After my tour, I learned that connecting eclectic art with luxurious rooms and fine dining appeals to Mandarin Oriental’s affluent guests.