Sexy and sophisticated with hidden details that both surprise and delight. This luxury hotel, situated next door to Jing’An Park and Temple as well as a myriad of shops and restaurants, is quite aptly branded as an urban resort. The Puli Hotel & Spa in Shanghai discreet entrance is set back from the main street which sets the stage for the resort experience I was about to encounter.
Stepping into the lobby was like stepping into tranquility, but not the boring tranquility, rather, a modern, hip tranquility that simultaneously pays homage to its Chinese ancestry (welcome pillars and floor tiles) and modern day Shanghai.
What can I say? The Puli Hotel & Spa is located in one of my favorite neighborhoods in Shanghai -Jing’An. It is quite an eclectic mix of locals and tourists; iconic brands and boutique stores at the full range of the price spectrum. Oh and quaint little shops and restaurants serving up delicious local foods.
What was my most memorable impression of this hotel? The smell! It smelled divine! Subtle and spa-like from the moment you enter the lobby, even the private spaces smelled like I was in a resort. They truly captured the urban resort feel. I didn’t want to leave, and the subtle details like the bamboo image projected on the carpet in front of the elevators, the convertible bath lights, stoneware headrests and Shanghai gray bricks made this ultramodern hotel warm and inviting.
The Virtuoso Experience
If you are gonna do luxury, do it right. That is, choose a property that is in the Virtuoso network (full disclosure – I am a proud virtuoso agent) and enjoy the perks.
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
- Daily Buffet breakfast for up to two in room guests
- Afternoon tea with a glass of champagne for up to 2 persons per room once per stay
- Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
I arrived a little after 4 PM at Shanghai International airport and within 2 hours I was checked in and escorted to my room where all the gadgets and amenities were explained to me. I took a few minutes to enjoy the view from my room, sampled my welcome gift (chocolate and wine, not the oranges) then quickly showered to meet my dinner guest. Ah the shower, rain and hand held – the shower is huge, completely seperate from the bath and the water was hot and powerful and washed the 16 hours of travel all away. Nothing beats a nice hot shower, well maybe a nice scented warm bath:-)
Restaurant & Bar
There is only 1 restaurant in the hotel –JingAn (contemporary french), but then considering the size of this hotel and the options right outside, this wasn’t an issue at all. As with the rest of the hotel, the restaurant is elegant, the staff attentive and the food delicious.
Dinner – They were out of the Pinot Noir I ordered and the Sommelier came over with a delicious (dry) Riesling for me to try – loved it, then a nice Burgundy. I love it when restaurants get service right.
Breakfast – Nice assortment of western and Chinese options. I went for the western. Coffee refill was a bit slow, or maybe I drink fast.
Bar – Nice well stocked bars in the restaurant and lobby or outside patio. While I didn’t spend much time at any of the bars, the Long Bar (lobby) seemed to be the most used. Overall, the lobby was a very social space.
My room was on the 15th floor with a park view (as opposed to the city view). The bed was amazing, and only my alarm could get me up; and the only two disappointing things were:
- I did not receive turn down service
- The blinds did not recede
Tip: Ask for the park view – I got the opportunity to look at a few other room categories and the park view rooms have the best views.
Dialed guest services and they picked up the phone promptly and addressed me by name, in English. I ordered a kids cheese burger (wasn’t very hungry) and beef pot stickers in the wee hours of the morning and it arrived within 20 minutes. It was nicely laid out and very delicious. There was no need to order anything to drink since I grabbed a can from the minibar (free and restocked daily). The tray pickup was prompt as well.
I had all intentions of utilizing the Anantara Spa in the Puli Hotel but there was just too little time and too much of Shanghai to see (my last visit was in 2013). I did go check it out though and that pool looked rather inviting – see for yourself.
Summing it all up
The Puli Hotel & Spa with 229 rooms is a smaller luxury hotel that rivals the more well-known international brands. I enjoyed my visit and would return for a more complete experience of the Anantara Spa and the afternoon Tea. I love the location, service and ambiance, and for my brief stay, it truly lived up to my expectations as one of the top luxury hotels in Shanghai.