Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Peninsula, Shanghai vs. the World Expo

Luxurious was the word.  The air-conditioned lobby was a welcome intermission  between the events of the day, a perfect break from the heat and humidity outside. And even if you can't really compare it to the bigger and more impressive lobbies of its sister properties in Hong Kong or Manila, it was quite sufficient. In the evening, the public areas are all nicely lit. Whoever designed this hotel has a thing for low key lighting and I believe it makes all the difference.

The room was very luxurious. The king bed was bigger than a regular king-sized bed--more like two double beds stuck together. More importantly, the sheets were of an ultra high thread count. I loved sleeping in.

The lighting was all electronically controlled so I didn't have to  touch too many switches to create the atmosphere I wanted. There was an iPod dock on the desk, a Nespresso machine in the bar, and two 42" flat screens--one in the bedroom and one in the living room.

 I liked this foyer

which leads to this living room

and through those doors on the right is the bedroom

This is actually a Garden Suite of the Peninsula Shanghai. Dh was here for a couple of full-day meetings and it made sense to book a suite and have the guys meet in the living room instead of booking another room at the business center. It was cost-effective this way, and one person got the luxury of staying in the suite. Peninsula's set up was ideal for this because there is a back entrance/exit through the dressing room, and the living room had its own powder room! 

There's a separate dressing room that included a vanity, his and her closets, a long luggage rack and a valet closet that could be accessed from outside the suite. The interior design is not exactly my type--I think the blue is too strong in the living room and there's too much black around. I actually left a pair of black pants in a drawer as I was packing because it wasn't visible.  (which, btw, the Peninsula  mailed back to me promptly!)

The bathroom is ultra-luxe with a TV facing the bathtub. Unfortunately all shows were in Chinese except for the news channels. With the waterfall fixture in the tub, it took only a few minutes to fill, and then you could control the lights from the tub.

I love being in uber-luxe hotels because I inspect all the interior details.

Soap "dish" carved into the granite counter

Unobtrusive drain in the shower 

Corner shower with a bench
 Convenience within reach

With all this luxury indoors, it was a major undertaking to go out into the heat and the crowd of the Shanghai Expo.  Really now, would you rather have this:

 At the Chinese Pavilion, even with reservations, it was an 1.5 hour line.

Or this?

A quick Expo review: I think the World Expo in Shanghai may not be worth the trip if you've traveled a lot. Almost all the pavilions had a 2 to 5 hours' wait to get in (the Saudi pavilion had an 8-hour-wait), and then inside, there was perhaps a video, or some displays which might have already been seen at a sophisticated trade show. If this is your only chance to see the world, then it probably would be worth the wait, as many Chinese people were patiently waiting in line. But with the internet (which is not extensive in China) or You Tube (which is banned in China), anyone can be an armchair traveler without having to to go through so much discomfort. If the lines weren't so long, or the weather cooler, maybe my Expo experience may have been different.

When the question was.."One more pavilion or home (meaning the hotel)?" Guess which I chose?

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