The staffers immediately apologized for the noise (even though it was out of their control) and asked me if we would consider an upgrade to one of their suites -- Room 31. Still tentative, we asked for a room tour. Room 31 was a courtyard room that boasted an even better view of the city skyline, and most important it felt quiet. We took the upgrade, which was offered at no additional charge.
One big problem with the second half of the above equation, our room was "street facing" which meant it had both river and street noise -- and there in lies the biggest issue weighing on our minds that evening.
Wow. This room was the complete opposite of Room 15. Room 31 was light and airy, roomier, and flat out better designed than Room 15. Though the bath area was still peekaboo-ish, it was separated from the sleeping area by a wall and two small hallways, one with a desk, the other with a closet and a safe. Oh, and there was no dangerous in-the-dark step up to get into the bathroom area.
As for the peekaboo thing, the whole hotel kind of has that theme, but it is subtle. From the desk area in Room 31 I could peer down to the hallway area of the room below me through the glass window behind the desk, oh, and they could glance back up at us. Furthermore, the inner courtyard windows are designed as great big wooden shutters with mirrors on the inside, so you can look out into the courtyard via the mirror, or presumably, glimpse into rooms from the courtyard.
This isn't as offensive as it might sound. Turns out it is really no different that keeping your blinds open, and if you don't want to look around, you can easily close your room off from any portals.
The fact that the bathroom area and sleeping area were separate and distinct made all the difference in the world, well that and the quiet zen like state of the room replaced the endless bustle and buzz of room 15.
Free and fast. This is *huge* in China, where you will normally pay at least $14.99 a night for access. Remember, China has banned popular sites like Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, so you aren't getting on those sites without installing some sort of VPN solution.
Incredible. From a window seat you could look all the way down the Bund at the Shanghai skyline. Take a look at the photos.
There is a new restaurant inside the hotel called Table No. 1, opened by Gordon Ramsay apprentice Jason Atherton. Oh, and get this, it is a "social dining" concept restaurant, so if you come in a party of three or more get ready to make friends with your neighbors (you will be seated together at a long table), or at least listen in on their conversations. We didn't eat there, but patrons were raving about their food and this place seems set to become one of Shanghai's hottest new restaurants.
The rest of the hotel grounds include a courtyard, which attracts a bit of overflow from the restaurant, and a bar that was virtually empty while we were there. The real interesting thing about the hotel is the building. Post modern industrial design is probably the best description we can come up with for it. Let's just say you can see the bones of the building, but the interior is designed in such a way that it really seems to work. Check out the photos, they give you the best glimpse of what we are talking about.
Maybe in a couple years the south Bund will be just an easy trip down the Bund, but at the moment, it feels far -- prepare to taxi everywhere. Hotelier
Peng Loh Lik, of Singapore boutique hotel famed opened this place on May 5th 2010. Loh is big on trying to keep each hotel he launches true to its roots, no surprise here that in a former life Waterhouse was a derelict factory. Cost
Right around $1200 元 Yuan -- yeah same price for the Suite thanks to the awesome staffers.
The difference between Room 15 and Room 31 was literally night and day. It goes without saying that in small boutique hotels like this the room you end up with dictates how happy you will be with your stay. If Waterhouse turns into a social hub, which it probably will, plenty of effervescent guests will no doubt enjoy the first floor rooms. However, if you are looking for the best of both worlds, get yourself one of the courtyard rooms, and if you can swing it one of the suites.