There are blue skies in Shanghai.
And old and new parts of Shanghai - leading to a dilemma as to whether I should edit my photos so to depict old Shanghai in black and white, or new Shanghai in colours. I've heard of Shanghai referred to, bizarrely, as a 'mixture city' - one of the many comical direct Chinese to English translations one would often come across. Almost as bizarre, or ironic even, is that these old, height restricted buildings at the Bund come face-to-face with skyscrapers, such as the Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai World Finance Centre and the latest, Shanghai Tower unashamedly proud of its new nickname as the 'tallest building in China' at 632m. Yet the divide between these architectural styles is only divided by the Huangpu river.
There are also two Ritz-Carltons in Shanghai - the Portman in Nanjing Xi Lu and the modern Ritz-Carlton in Pudong. Pudong can easily be found - it's the area surrounding the tourist-packed Oriental Pearl Tower. And by modern, this hotel was built in mid-2010, where my visit was a few months after its 5th anniversary. Since its establishment, the Ritz-Carlton quickly racked up awards such as, 'Best City Hotel in the 2010 Best of the Best Awards by Robb Report Lifestyle' and 'Top Hotel in the World' by Conde Nast Traveler (and then 'Top Hotel in China' the following year).
The last time I was in Shanghai was 2009, and a lot has changed. Shanghai frequently goes by the name, 'Paris of the East'. Pudong is Shanghai's new commercial and financial epicentre. It's the home to China's tallest buildings, largest companies and luxury hotels. Ritz-Carlton Shanghai Pudong sets itself apart from its competitors - you can practically get away with never being outdoors (if that's what you desire). The hotel is linked to the Shanghai International Financial Centre, making it similar to the Ritz-Carlton in Hong Kong (though linked with another shopping mall). Guests are merely an elevator ride away from luxury brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Dolce & Gabbana.
In comparison to the sizes of standard guest rooms/ suites in China, the Shanghai Bund Suite offers a lot more space. It's a one-bedroom suite complete with a separate living room and a walk-in closet - there's ample of space for the heavy luggage travellers. As a guest of the suites, Ritz-Carlton comes prepared for the business-savy. Local calls are complimentary, secretarial services are available (printing/ courier services), meeting rooms can be booked. My stay for two nights meant that the limousine services and pressing service for my suits came extremely handy. I usually have mixed opinions about club lounges due to their private atmosphere - so private that they often take away the views along with the crowds and the hot food. The club lounge at Ritz-Carlton Shanghai Pudong retains the views of the Bund and it had a unique private member's club feel to it.
The services are all available at the discretion of suite guests. It's unlikely that suite guests would be able to make time for the caviar party that happen every Friday evening at the hotel, but it is the availability of these luxurious options that is important - because many Chinese hotels merely offer the surface of luxury and often neglect the core. As a result hotels in China are often incomparable to international standards. Ritz-Carlton Shanghai Pudong is an exception to this. If a hotel in China is comparable to those in Europe, it's most definitely in the league.