The elusive weekend getaway

Living in Shanghai, perhaps like any city, prompts regular Monday questions, regarding what you did on the weekend. This question, usually lent from colleague to colleague, is essentially just polite small talk. But ‘doing something’ on the weekend is something that can be very important for some people in Shanghai, because not all of us are thrilled about living in a bustling city.

It’s always a mental boon to be able to leave a city on the weekend and expereince greener things and better air. There are, thankfully, many options these days and here is a summary of three of our favourites.

Park Hyatt Resort and Spa, Ningbo

The Park Hyatt Resort and Spa has around 200 rooms. Some of them are ‘normal’, hotel-style rooms within the main building, others are individual ‘villas’, which are the size of a normal hotel room but are individual buildings, which is nice.

Ningbo is about 2 and a half hours drive from Shanghai. The city itself is nothing special and it is not known as a tourist destination. The Park Hyatt is a place to come for several days and not need to leave. If you do just want to get out a bit, then you can drive 5 minutes round the corner and take a typical boat out onto the lake.

Boat ride on Dongqian Lake

The hotel is a great place for couples or families – though although the restaurant had plenty of families with kids, there was no specific kids’ menu. As a Park Hyatt, they may feel no need to cater specifically for families, yet a childrens’ menu is something that they should strongly consider.

The “temperature-controlled” indoor swimming pool is beautifully designed and a great place for a swim and a relax on the swinging sofa-beds. The gym has top-level equipment and there is a games room with foosball, table-tennis and pool.

As we write, rooms are something like 1800 RMB a night, which is the most expensive of these three hotels, but if you like the Park Hyatt style then it’s well worth it for a few days break away from Shanghai (or any city!). The villas mentioned previously are worth going for. Nestled into the ground with balconies just a few feet from the water, the feeling is calm and relaxing, even for someone who finds it difficult to be calm and relax. With the water slowly flowing by, the birds chirping and butterflies, dragonflies and such floating around, it’s a much needed immersion into nature.

Hilton Qiandao Lake The Hilton on Qiandao Lake is nearly 4 hours drive from Shanghai, but it is well worth the extra travel (compared to about two hours to the other two places mentioned here). The air at Qiandao Lake is the freshest on offer close to Shanghai. The hotel itself is what you’d expect – good quality facilities and rooms.

The price is about 600 RMB a night, which is a fantastic rate. Lake-view suites are around 1500 RMB. Only recently opened, the restaurants are not all fully functional and it smells a bit of paint here and there. The swimming pools are totally unheated and are ice-cold – the major problem with this hotel currently. Yet it is still well worth a few nights here, just to sit on the balcony and enjoy quiet, fresh air and a feeling of nature rather than the usual city smog and savagery.

Landison Longjing Hotel, Hangzhou

There’s basically no reason why you shouldn’t visit this hotel if you live in Shanghai – it’s close by and easy to get to even without a car (take the train) and you will be greeted with a breath of tea-scented freshness every time you step out the door of the hotel. The hotel-website photos and description are a bit mis-leading, it has to be said: the ‘grounds’ of the hotel are non-existent, and it’s a small hotel with nowhere to really walk and explore on the grounds.

However, being in Hangzhou that doesn’t really matter, because there are endless, prettified tourist scenes to enjoy in Hangzhou – if you can escape the crowd. That point is what differentiates this hotel from the other two – this is not a hotel in which to ‘sit and do nothing’ in for days, but rather a very nice and quiet base from which to enjoy Hangzhou-tourism.

Rates can be around 1600 RMB a night, which is a bit pricey. Such is Hangzhou – a favourite holiday destination for foreign and local tourists. The best thing about this hotel is the more personal, quaint and almost family-run style. Hangzhou has many optins, including the real top-end, with Banyan Tree and Four Seasons – yet both of these would be around 3500RMB++ per night, and despite being amazing hotels, you may still feel as though you are ‘just another guest’ in the 5 star hotel machine process.

Choosing the Landison Longjing Resort gives you a feeling of being closer to the hotel and the staff, who are all incredibly nice and genuine.

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Categories: Travel

Author:developingcityblog

Foreigner in Shanghai

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