Quiet corners do exist in Shanghai, China, and the Renaissance Shanghai Caohejing Hotel, part of Marriott, is located in the middle of such an oasis. Surrounding the luxury hotel at 397 Tianlin Road is the Caohejing Hi-Tech Park, a vast neighborhood of office buildings in the Xuhui district, where most of the business activity takes place indoors (we’re talking microelectronics, optoelectronics, computer software, and other techie pursuits).
Even though Shanghai is the largest city in the world with more than 24 million inhabitants, the economic hustle takes place elsewhere — accessible via the Metro. A station for lines 9 and 12 is about a fifteen or twenty-minute walk from the hotel at Hongmei Road and Caobao Road. The lobby never seemed crowded. That might have been because I was there on a weekend — the streets of the Xuhui district also were quiet.
Rows of parked bicycles line the park’s roads, the colors showing which bike share company owns them. If I’d been in Shanghai longer than a weekend, I would have figured out how to use them (it involves a phone app — no docks; you just scan a code, the bike unlocks and off you go).
The hotel’s 373 guest rooms are in a tower overlooking the city — so all boast city views. The color scheme involves brown, tan and a soft golden hue. There are the expected amenities for a five-star property, including in-room safe, hair dryer, bath tub, and separate rain shower room. The WiFi was free and fast — only appropriate for a business hotel catering to the tech industry.
A spa offers massages, facials and more. The indoor pool is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., but the fitness center is available 24/7. All Marriott hotels, including this one, are smoke-free.
Four restaurants encourage you to stay in the hotel for dinner. Wan Li Restaurant offers Cantonese and Shanghainese cuisine, Café BLD is the all-day casual dining spot, and the Lounge is a bar-cum-coffeehouse.
My choice? The Smoki Moto Restaurant which specializes in Korean barbecue. As I was a solo diner, I was pleased to be seated at the large, round counter with service from the middle. All of us were mesmerized by our cellphones as the staff barbecued tasty morsels in the individual grills.
Room rates start about $200, and you can buy a package that includes a buffet breakfast. You can make a reservation at the hotel’s site, or at one of the usual booking sites such as Hotels.com or Priceline.
(Photos by Susan McKee)