But guests aren’t there for the real estate. Its Marriott’s unwavering quality of service that has them coming in droves and returning time and again.
I’d always associated Marriott International with luxury living, but my stay at the hotel surpassed even my highest expectations of the brand.
The first thing that impressed me was the express check-in – I’d barely had the chance to admire the lobby’s dragon-shaped chandelier and grand water fountain when I was whisked off to my Executive Suite. The time it took from my arrival at the lobby to the moment I walked into my room was two minutes, and that included check-in formalities and delivery of luggage to my room! It was definitely a welcome respite after my long commute.
My living space for the next three days was not unlike a suite on a luxury cruise liner, with polished wooden walls lined with gold frames, along with posh couches and tables fit for a king. The 27-square-metre room was partitioned into two areas: the living area and the bedroom. This, along with thick glass windows, ensured that I was acoustically isolated from the bustle of Shanghai, a definite plus for a light-sleeper like myself.
When it comes to dining, the Shanghai Marriott City Centre is an F&B powerhouse. The five restaurants and lounges on its premises, offering various cuisines for varied tastes – Man Ho (authentic Chinese cuisine), Inagiku (premium Japanese fare), Shanghai City Bistro (all-day dining), Java+ (great pastries) and The Lounge (relaxing drinks and snacks) – leave guests spoilt for choice.
I started my gastronomic journey with a visit to the Shanghai City Bistro. Not only do they serve food from different regions of the world, they also employ chefs from other countries, such as India and Japan. As it was my first time in China’s biggest city, I decided on its namesake dish – Shanghai noodles. I watched as the chefs prepared the addictive mix of noodles, dark soy sauce, shiitake mushrooms and vegetables in the open kitchen. The lightly seasoned dish was a fabulous introduction to my dining experience at the hotel.
Of course, this delicious dish was just a pre-cursor to the next meal – one that I was looking forward to. My next stop was at Inagiku, the first Shanghai branch of the century-old Japanese brand. I was captivated as the chefs showcased their prowess at the various counters, preparing sushi, teppanyaki and tempura staples. Inagiku is renowned for its tempura, so I made sure I sampled the vegetarian platter, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. One of the most important elements of tempura is the batter, and with the perfect mixture of fluffiness and crispiness that melted in my mouth, Inagiku had that down pat. Served with a variety of dipping salts, the dish permanently raised the bar for what I would consider good tempura.
Another notable restaurant is the Man Ho, where authentic Cantonese and Shanghai cuisines are the order of the day. The restaurant seats more than 200 guests but is always packed. I was told that demand for Man Ho’s world-class menu is so great that guests often have to book up to two weeks in advance, especially on weekends!
For guests staying in the hotel’s Executive rooms, the Executive Lounge offers a quiet spot to take in panoramic views of the city over snacks and a cup of coffee.
One unique Marriott feature I found particularly interesting is the hotel’s use of technology via the Marriott’s Meeting Services App, which allows event organisers to request coffee or stationery supply without leaving the event venue – a very innovative feature indeed! The hotel chain obviously values its business guests as much as it does those seeking leisure.
The unmistakable Marriott hospitality, with its outstanding service, food and facilities, truly make for an affair to remember.
Address: 555 Xi Zang Road (middle), Huangpu District, Shanghai, China