Hotel Showcase: Andaz Shanghai

In our Hotel Showcases, we review Shanghai’s hotels in an honest and fair light. Too often, the writer of hotel articles will be told the claimed hotel concept, the stats and bumf by a hotel staff member, and parrot the official details which may be irrelevant to the normal hotel guest.

You know, such as mentioning details that ‘the paintings shown in the lower lobby are by this certain artist which is in-keeping with the concept of ‘natural urbanisation”, or somesuch guff.

Rather, we’ll review hotels clearly and honestly, as you’d do so yourself. Here we go:

Andaz, Shanghai

Andaz is relatively new to Shanghai. It’s true that there are literally scores of new hotels to be finished and opened in Shanghai over the next few years, but Andaz may have come in at just the right time, as one of the first boutique hotels in Shanghai which is also a part of a major hotel chain: Andaz is a Hyatt hotel.

Andaz (6)

‘Boutique’ itself is a word that is over-used: small businesses will prefix the word to whatever they do, in order to sound bespoke, recondite and pretty. ‘Boutique design agency’, for example.

But in reality, boutique applies perfectly to Andaz, as they take a bolder, left-field approach to the standard hotel template. Small touches and design freedom are the hallmarks of Andaz:

The lobby space is fully used as a ‘guesthouse’-styled, welcoming grotto (yes I used the word grotto) which serves simple and succulent satisfaction: yummy snacks, quality burgers, and one of the absolute best hot chocolates in Shanghai.

The rooms are Scandinavian in texture: rock bathrooms and wooden bedrooms.

The swimming pool (and gym area) is un-apologetically outlandish.

The outdoors terrace is begging for a swanky, private event of some kind, where cleavage-bearing beauties sup slow-poured cocktails to only the funkiest beats.

Andaz (21)

The private function room on the terrace has a private lift, enabling an exclusive and special feel.

The private function room on the terrace has a private lift, enabling an exclusive and special feel.


Andaz is a Hindustani word meaning ‘unique style’. So these features are the keynotes which form the flavour of your experience at Andaz Shanghai. Yet more than this, the hotel must maintain a human quality that is not based on a concept or design blueprint.

Rather, the service is the main notable, ‘take-home’ memory of any hotel, and the service provided by Andaz is very good for the level and cost of the hotel.

That was a deliberate sentence rather than a general one: the service does come under “very good”. “Excellent” would be over-doing it — but then this is all relative, and if you want, nay demand, “excellent” service then you should realise that you may need to stay at a hotel which costs more than double as does Andaz Shanghai.

So in this case — bearing in mind the possible China standards of the absolutely terrible service out there — the “very good” level of service here is a pleasure, and something to enjoy.

Andaz (31)

The best of Andaz Shanghai:

– the lobby space: relaxation with moreish snacking treats

– the stunning swimming pool, ripe for underwater photo poses

– the kitsch bath-wetroom

– friendly, human service

Andaz (25)

What should Andaz Shanghai improve on?

– Promotion: Andaz may still be an unknown quotient for the people of Shanghai. I hadn’t seen details of many of the strengths that Andaz had to offer until I visited to make this review. And believe me: that lobby hot chocolate is worth a clear shout from the rooftops, as you declare proudly into the night that liquid-cocoa desires can be fulfilled here.

– the Haipai menu. Haipai is the ground floor restaurant. The food is definitely good. But the menu is packed with unhelpful and meaningless dish descriptions, by the dozen. Maybe the Chinese descriptions are well-known, set dishes and diners will know what to expect. But the English menu simply says the fish type (and there are many), with a vague and unclear description of how it is served … with no accompanying photo. One photo for each dish, please.

– Increase food selection: allegedly, there is to be a newly renovated bar space in the hotel. This is crucial for Andaz, as now (2013 – 2014) is the time of many a renovation in Shanghai: successful venues are establishing concepts that are both (1) clear & definite, but also (2) welcoming and affordable. Lower entry prices are coming into the f&b market, as venues seek to be seen as open, fun, and in-line with the new developments and expectations of entertainment and f&b.

So, the new bar concept is absolutely crucial for Andaz. Another random ‘hotel bar with snacks’ is not going to cut it in today’s Shanghai.

It must have a concept that is both unique, but also not unique for the sake of it! Something that does meet a clear want of Shanghai’s customer and also has the flexibility to offer different moods and products over a 24 hour span.

Hindustani definition, don’t let them down now!

Here is a photo gallery with more photos of Andaz Shanghai:

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Categories: Community, Food, Travel


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