Following my odyssey aboard Emirates Airlines A380 First Class to Dubai, I was relegated to flying Emirates Business to Shanghai so I won’t bore you with pictures of the bathroom that didn’t have a shower. Upon arriving in Shanghai, I made it by the taxi tricksters to the government authorized taxi line and waited for shifu (master worker aka the name used for all taxi drivers) to restore me to luxury by way of the Park Hyatt Shanghai.
For those of you who have never been to Shanghai, some background information is needed. Shanghai is divided into two sections by the Huangpu River: Pudong and Puxi with ‘dong’ meaning east and ‘xi’ meaning west. Pudong has been designated the business district and is where the majority of banks, law firms, and multinational institutions reside. It used to be residential area that has since transitioned into the hub of big business virtually overnight. In 2010, the World Expo was held in Shanghai and to make way for all the international pavilions, the government implemented their rendition of eminent domain and bussed out any remaining residents, buying their land at a bargain rate, to put it mildly.
Pudong is the side of Shanghai with the unarguably the best skyline in the whole wide world. There is a reason, besides aesthetics, that all the pictures are taken from Puxi of Pudong. Simply stated, Pudong is boring and Puxi is party. This takes me back to the taxi and my journey to the Park Hyatt. As I wrote here, taxi drivers in China, out of the kindness of their hearts, not only chauffeur passengers from point A to point B but also play the part of tour guide by showing passengers the entire city by driving around in circles even when unprompted to do so. In no mood to be ripped off after my long journey to China, I took a screenshot of the hotel’s address in Mandarin (a lesson more thoroughly explained in Lesson 4: It Pays to Get Robbed in my book). What makes the Park Hyatt stand out among all other hotels in Shanghai is that it is located on the 90th floor of the World Financial Center- the 7th tallest building in the world! A taxi driver would have to be completely and utterly clueless to not know where this building is.
My taxi driver was that driver. Just like my first time in Shanghai back in 2009, I was being driven around in circles on my way from the airport to my hotel. This time I was pointing out the window at the bat signal that is the illuminated World Financial Center screaming, “It’s the tall building!” in Mandarin. Yet somehow my pleas fell on deaf ears. Twenty minutes later, the driver finally had a moment of clarity, looked up at the night sky, and comprehended that the 7th tallest building in the world was home to the Park Hyatt.
Arriving Friday at midnight, I was graciously welcomed by the front desk after taking the Willy Wonka elevator to the top floor. As a Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum member, my room was upgraded and the view from the room when the fog finally cleared was spectacular. Right outside my window was the 16th tallest building in the world, the Jin Mao Tower, and what will be the 2nd tallest building in the world, the Shanghai tower. Their powerful presence had me both awe struck and feeling insignificant simultaneously. Upon entering my room, I took the standard photos for the blog and hastily made my way back to the magical elevator to catch yet another taxi to the famous Bar Rouge and then the infamous Mint. When I finally did return to the sanctuary of the Park Hyatt at 7am, I managed to negotiate a spot at the breakfast buffet, a privilege reserved for those holding Diamond status- a demarcation that I will once again strive to achieve.
I stayed at the Park Hyatt for 2 nights, using Mikey’s 2 free night awards (He was only there for one night) courtesy of the Chase Hyatt card and have nothing but great things to say about my stay. I have to add that the automatic toilet that lifted its cover when it sensed a user approaching was a nice touch.
I must confess that the luxury of the hotel is in every way Park Hyatt but the location unlike Park Hyatts in Sydney, Melbourne, and Istanbul to name a few is not ideal. As I said, Pudong is the business boring district and having to deal with the inconsistent taxi fares after the metro stops running (whether or not you are able to speak Mandarin) is an inconvenience that trumps the high sky vantage of the Park Hyatt. While I still give this resort a top rating, it nevertheless falls a tad short of the Waldorf Astoria Shanghai– the iconic resort located on the happening side of Puxi.