It’s easy to fall in love with Shanghai where threads of Chinese tradition survive beneath massive skyscrapers. The cosmopolitan city provides any conveniences a Westerner might need, English is common enough, shopping is amazing and the food is outrageously good. There’s no shortage of luxury hotels in Shanghai but we began our China family holiday hosted by Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai at Pudong.
Where is Pudong in Shanghai?
Shanghai is divided by the Huangpu river with the Bund and historic Puxi area on one side and the Pudong financial center on the other. It’s crazy to think—especially when you’re there staring at these architectural marvels—that though the area is literally only a few decades old, it’s now one of the world’s most recognizable skylines and important financial centers. It’s a pretty high-octane part of town. The hotel is located in Lujiazui where the action takes place.
The Luxury Hotel Mirrors the Glam of Pudong
After an almost 24-hour journey on Japan Airlines from San Diego, I let out an enormous sigh of relief after setting foot inside the lobby. I love the dark exotic wood, zen feel, sleek furnishings, incredible attention to the smallest details and, of course, flowers.
The hotel reminds me of a more intimate version of the also gorgeous Four Seasons Hotel Toronto. The restaurants areas are equally glamorous. We also loved this red crystal light fixture near the lobby elevators.
State-of-the Art Rooms with Views
Our Pearl View Junior Suite had a separate living area with a sizable workspace and floor-to-ceiling windows all around. The suite’s name is due to the perfect view of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the landmark building with two large orbs and a pointed top, as well as other famous buildings in the Shanghai skyline. Even our bathroom’s view was pretty spectacular.
Other amenities include two flat screen TVs, electronic black-out window shades, an iPad to order room service, a Nespresso coffee maker, fully-stocked mini bar with plenty of glassware, safe, huge closets, and a vanity area. We were certainly comfortable. This was our daytime view of the famous skyscrapers and Lujiazui Central Green.
We usually forget to pack something. But, waiting in the bathroom was kids toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo and lotion. Kids also have their own robes and slippers at Four Seasons Hotels. She received a stuffed panda at check-in and then a Smurfette doll arrived into the room at some point to coincide with cute and tasty Smurf in-room treats. Housekeeping eventually brought in an extra bed, too.
One of the Best Hotel Pools
As a frequent luxury hotel guest, I’ve spent time in some truly amazing hotel pools. This one isn’t particularly large or frilly, but is certainly luxurious. Hardly anyone was in it during our stay. I nearly passed out in a lounge chair because they’re so plush.
Drinks and snacks can be delivered poolside from the nearby bar area which has seating for those who simply want to relax and enjoy the panoramic skyline view, which is nothing short of amazing at night. The pool is in the chic FLARE Spa. I regret I didn’t have time to try a Guerlain spa treatment but certainly will next time.
Delicious Chinese and Western Cuisine
Dining at the signature Chinese restaurant, Shang-Xi, had been on my to-do list since I had written about Chinese New Year dishes on Taste by Four Seasons. The intimate 22-seat dining room is beyond elegant with its European opulence meets Asian glamor look. We were lucky to score a reservation. Yes, even Shang-Xi is kid-friendly.
Since my daughter is an adventurous eater, we stuck with dim sum (xiaolongbao and shengjianbao), noodles and a few other house specialties tough they can customize noodles or rice, I’m sure, to suit pickier palates. Kids cutlery is available.
All day dining happens in the French restaurant, Camelia. Those who love luxury hotel buffets are in luck. Choose from a breakfast, lunch or Sunday brunch buffet to enjoy on the lovely patio or comfortable dining room. Opt for afternoon tea or a drink in the wine bar. We grabbed an early dinner prior to seeing the acrobat show. I was asked to sample this chocolate and wine pairing that even my daughter thought was cool enough to photograph (hardship assignment, I know).
Don’t skip Camelia’s housemade macarons either. We also ordered our fair share of room service. Highlights include the Hainanese chicken on the night menu, barbecued pork, ahi tuna tartare, and watermelon salad.
My daughter drinks a ridiculous amount of fresh watermelon juice when in Hong Kong and mainland China. It was available throughout the hotel.
Benefits of Executive Club Level
I’ve become an advocate of Executive Club level rooms when it comes to family travel. Kids become hungry and thirsty at odd hours especially after flying long haul. The needs can be so immediate that there’s no time to order room service or head to a restaurant. The Executive Club at Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai at Pudong served a hearty breakfast buffet starting at 6:30 a.m. that included an omelette station, dim sum, congee, salads, baked goods, fruit, cereal and much more. Drinks and light snacks are available to grab throughout the day with wine and canapes served at night. Not to mention, the skyline view from here is also spectacular.
This is all included in a slightly higher room rate which based on my family’s consumption proves to be excellent value for money.
Things to Do with Kids in Pudong
Part of the reason why we chose Pudong is that a number of things to do in Shanghai with kids are located here including:
- Lujiazui Central Green is across the street from the hotel and a perfect place to take a walk with the stroller or let kids run around.
- Shanghai Ocean Aquarium is near the Oriental Pearl Tower.
- Shanghai World Financial Center Observatory is next door to the hotel. My daughter loved taking photos through the floor’s glass windows.
- Super Brand Mall has an arcade and H&M (we always load up on clothes here when in Asia). It’s near the Oriental Pearl Tower, too. The IFC Mall is across the street and home to more designer brands (yes, it’s almost the same as the Hong Kong IFC mall).
- The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel takes you to the other side of the river through psychedelic light displays.
- Shanghai Science and Technology Museum has over 100 hands-on exhibits.
- The Riverside Promenade has some green space for kids to run around, extraordinary views of the Bund and restaurants.
- Shanghai Natural Wild Insect Kingdom is exactly as it sounds… a place for kids to check out reptiles and insects.
- Century Park is about 3 miles from the hotel and has a mini amusement park, green space and small boats to ride.
Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai at Pudong offers a complimentary shuttle that takes guests within a 3km radius of the hotel, which is everywhere on this list except the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum and Century Park. Taxis are incredibly easy to come by in Shanghai, however.
Getting to Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai at Pudong
We arranged for a driver to meet us outside of baggage claim at Shanghai Pudong International Airport. The hotel cars are equipped with an iPad loaded with kids’ apps, snacks, bottled water, and complimentary WiFi. It took about 40 minutes to reach the hotel without traffic. Easy.
Drivers are available with advance reservation throughout your stay. I highly recommend using the hotel cars in lieu of taxis for long distances, especially if you will need a car seat. Taxi drivers can be a bit rough on the brakes which isn’t great for kids who get car sick like mine.
This is normally where I insert some sort of criticism but I actually don’t have any to give. I should point out that we planned our itinerary with the concierge team via email weeks before we arrived. They were able to arrange things like our high-speed train tickets to Hangzhou and tickets to the Chinese acrobats and bill it to our room. I highly recommend doing so in order to maximize time while there.
Also, Shanghai Disneyland is an estimated 45 minutes or so from the hotel.
We will be back soon, I guarantee it.
Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai at Pudong
Address: 210 Century Ave, Pudong‚ Shanghai, China, 200120
Phone:+86 21 2036 8888
Booking: If you are considering booking this hotel or any other Four Seasons, send me your dates as I have special amenities I can add to your room.