I spent this past weekend in Shanghai, thanks to a ~$715 fare on American between Los Angeles and Shanghai. There was even upgrade space, so I was able to confirm an upgrade to business class at the time of booking, which made this a deal I couldn’t turn down. Given that American AAdvantage is going revenue based in the second half of the year, this is the last chance to earn a huge number of miles for these types of trips.
I’ve already reviewed the Park Hyatt Shanghai (which is a great hotel), so figured I’d mix it up this time and stay at the Andaz Shanghai Xintiandi. I booked this three night stay in late February using Points + Cash. This is a Category 4 Hyatt property, meaning a free night redemption costs 15,000 points per night, and a Points + Cash stay (which is capacity controlled) costs 7,500 points plus $100 per night.
I booked a Points + Cash stay, since it also meant I could redeem an expiring Hyatt Diamond Suite Upgrade, which confirmed us into an Andaz Suite.
Our friend (and occasional OMAAT contributor) Matt decided to join Ford and me last minute, so he booked a paid stay, as the rate was only ~$190 per night (it was $300+ at the time I booked). I would have switched my rate, except I would have lost the Diamond Suite Upgrade at that point, since it had expired. Therefore I figured it was worth keeping my Points + Cash rate to preserve the suite upgrade.
We landed in Shanghai on American at around 4PM, and took the Maglev into the city (it’s not actually cheaper or faster, but it’s a really cool experience). Then we took a taxi from the station to the hotel, which took about 30 minutes, given that it was the middle of rush hour on a Friday afternoon.
The Andaz is located in the Xintiandi area of Shanghai, which is about a 10-15 minute drive from The Bund. The hotel is located in one of two similar looking buildings — the other building is The Langham Hotel.
The lobby of the Andaz is gorgeous. The lobby lounge is located just past the entrance, which is a beautiful space in which to relax during the day.
Then the check-in area is located to the right, which is partitioned off from the rest of the lobby.
Thanks to the Andaz brand concept, there’s not a formal check-in desk, but rather there are “hosts” who roam around. This is intended to create more of a personalized and informal interaction. That being said, the check-in area was consistently busy, so I’m not sure that was executed all that well.
We were quickly helped by a friendly host, who had us checked in within minutes. I booked two rooms under my Diamond account, and they honored Diamond benefits for both of them (which they didn’t have to), including complimentary breakfast. Matt was even upgraded to an Andaz Large King.
As is the norm at Andaz hotels, there was a huge fridge across from reception with water and soft drinks, which you can help yourself to at anytime (this is in addition to the complimentary soft drinks and snacks in the rooms). I always find that to be such an awesome feature, given how annoying it can otherwise be to secure bottled water or other drinks.
On top of that there was a machine with complimentary coffee, available 24/7. This is a feature I love, as someone who keeps a really weird time schedule and is also addicted to caffeine. This is the first hotel I ever recall staying at which offers complimentary coffee 24/7… that’s basically heaven for me!
In addition to that, they had complimentary croissants, muffins, and pastries available in the morning. That’s a lovely touch as well.
The host also explained that there was complimentary wine available in the lobby lounge from 6-8PM, which I’ll talk more about later.
With keys in hand we headed to the elevators, which were located down the hall and to the right.
In order to enter a floor number in the elevator you had to scan your room key.
Our suite was located on the 17th floor, while Matt’s room was located on the 23rd floor.
The hallways were super stylish thanks to the finishes and curves (both on the ceiling and in the hallway as such).
Our suite, 1717, was located at the very end of the hall on the right.
The suite featured a long entryway with a sliding door to the bathroom on the left.
The suite was a good size, though I found the living area to be a bit odd. Usually a suite living room has a couch, but this one just had a desk and then a glass table with two chairs. That worked well for me since I spend 80% of my waking life working or eating, making this a good setup. 😉
Waiting on the desk was a welcome amenity consisting of a bottle of red wine, fruit plate, box of chocolates, and a welcome card.
The bedroom was separated from both the living room and bathroom by a sliding door (the bathroom runs the length of the living room). There was a comfortable king size bed, which was neither too firm nor too soft.
There was a wall mounted flat screen TV between the two sliding doors.
Then closer to the window was a daybed with several pillows, along with a side table.
Across from that was the minibar and Nespresso machine. For what it’s worth, only the suites at this hotel have Nespresso machines.
Next to the Nespresso machine was an iPad, which had some of the controls for the lighting, blinds, etc. I found that to be a bit odd, given that in some cases the only way to control room functions was through the iPad, and that wasn’t otherwise made all that clear. I was looking around the room for light switches for 15 minutes before it occurred to me that the iPad might have the controls.
All the soft drinks in the minibar were complimentary, as is the brand standard for Andaz properties.
There were also some complimentary snacks, including chips, chocolate bars, and some small candies.
The bedroom was oddly shaped, so the hotel used the space creatively. In the back corner of the suite was an exercise bike.
The toilet was located in the opposite corner of the room, and was separated completely from the rest of the bathroom (you had to go through the bedroom to get between the toilet and bathroom). The bathroom featured one of those lovely automated Japanese toilets.
The bathroom itself featured cool backlit double sinks.
Behind that was the shower area, which featured a lit up tub, as well as a huge walk-in shower.
The shower was massive, and featured both a rainforest shower head and handheld shower head.
The toiletries weren’t branded, but were in cool bottles. Sheraton and Grand Hyatt really could learn a thing or two from Andaz when it comes to this. It’s much better to have cool-looking unbranded toiletries than to come up with a crap toiletry line specific to the brand. Maybe my perception was influenced somewhat by the design, but I thought the toiletries were quite decent.
Also in the bathroom area was a large walk-in closet.
The room featured views of the surrounding Xintiandi area. While they’re not the iconic views you may get on The Bund, I think the views are perfectly charming, and it’s especially nice how much greenery there is. The area is also a nice contrast between new and old world architecture, and has an East meets West vibe.
Overall I thought the suite was great, even if the design was quirky. It’s certainly not for everyone, especially for those looking to entertain, given the lack of a living room.
I also stopped by Matt’s room to take some pictures, since he was in an Andaz Large King. The room was also located at the end of the hallway, though he was on the 23rd floor. Upon entering the room there was a long entryway with the bathroom on the right.
The room wasn’t huge, though it was very nicely appointed. It featured a king size bed, and then a desk, dining table with a few chairs, and a plush chair in the corner of the room.
Andaz Shanghai large king room chair
It basically featured all the same furniture as the suite (minus the daybed and exercise bike), except in a more efficient layout.
The bed in this room also had a cool wall pattern behind it, which we didn’t have in our suite.
Across from the bed was a flat screen TV, which is also where the minibar was located. There was no coffee machine in this room, unlike the suite, which had a Nespresso machine.
The bathroom in this room was also well appointed. It featured a single sink, a partitioned off toilet, and then a walk-in shower, which also contained a soaking tub.
In terms of the hotel’s other features, the spa, gym, and pool are located on the basement level. The spa area has a bunch of tables with cool mood lighting.
The gym is open 24 hours, and features a good variety of modern equipment.
Then there’s also a really cool lap pool, which is in a glass casing, so you can look into the pool from the side.
Thanks to my Diamond status we received complimentary breakfast. Breakfast was served daily from 6:30AM until 10:30AM (11AM on weekends) at Hai Pai Restaurant, which was located just off the lobby. The restaurant was beautiful and intimate, with the buffet being the center point of the restaurant.
As a Diamond member you receive complimentary buffet breakfast, and then there are a few items you can order off the menu to supplement it.
One of the tables at the buffet featured fresh fruit, yogurt, juices, and cereal.
Then the main area of the buffet had everything else, including the hot options.
There were all kinds of pastries and breads. Unlike some other hotels in China, everything available was fresh and tasty. I’ve had way too many croissants and pastries at hotels in China which tasted like cardboard, though that wasn’t the case here.
The buffet also had salad, cold cuts, cheese, etc.
Then there was an omelet station, as well as several hot items, including veggies, an egg white frittata, sausage, bacon, etc.
Then there were the following a la carte options to supplement the buffet:
One morning I ordered the bean curd noodle soup, which was good.
Ford had an omelet one morning, which was rather large.
Overall the quality of the breakfast was good, though the variety wasn’t huge. I’d say the service was the most underwhelming aspect of the breakfast. While the staff were generally well intentioned, they’d be hard pressed to be less attentive.
Another standard Andaz offering is the complimentary evening happy hour, which usually just consists of complimentary wine.
In this instance the hotel offers the complimentary happy hour in the lobby lounge, which is a beautiful setting. At other Andaz properties you’re just sort of left to awkwardly consume the wine in the lobby, so I think this setup is great.
The white wine was surprisingly good, so we had a couple of glasses one night (the other nights we were out during the happy hour).
In addition to the drinks they had nuts, olives, rosemary sticks, etc., which I haven’t otherwise seen at other Andaz properties.
One day we even had lunch in the Andaz lobby lounge, since it was convenient. They were playing live music as well. I ordered a mushroom burger (random, I know), which was quite good.
Meanwhile Ford had a chicken salad and some dumplings, which he enjoyed.
The hotel is located in the Xintiandi area of Shanghai, which I love. Actually, staying in this area of Shanghai made me love the city more. While The Bund is the most iconic part of Shanghai, I far prefer staying here. Xintiandi features all kinds of cool restaurants, street cafes, etc. There’s a really cool pedestrian zone just a couple of blocks from the hotel, which has some awesome bars and restaurants.
Andaz Shanghai bottom line
Overall I loved the Andaz Shanghai. The hotel has its quirks, no doubt. For example, the layout of the suite was a bit odd, given that it didn’t feature a real living room.
At the same time I loved the overall design and decor of the hotel, and thought this was the most generous Andaz in terms of their complimentary coffee and evening drinks. The Diamond breakfast here was also good, and the staff in the hotel were generally friendly.
Perhaps most of all, though, the location of the hotel is great. We were able to walk out of the hotel and go to all kinds of great restaurants and bars without even having to take a taxi.
I’d give the Andaz Shanghai two thumbs up. I’d definitely like to return, though there are several other hotels in Shanghai I’d probably review before returning.
Do you have a favorite hotel in Shanghai?