The Waterhouse at South Bund
What We Love
- An eye for authentic and industrial chic details, down to the tin trays that date back to the Cultural Revolution
- Spectacular views of Pudong from the rooftop bar
- The reception’s elevated ceilings and unfinished walls up the cool quotient
What To Know
- Room 17 has a window visible from the lobby
- The nearest metro station is a 15-minute walk away
- Free WiFi
Once a dockyard warehouse, this South Bund hotel was designed by locally based studio Neri & Hu to preserve many of the building’s original features – the metal window frames have been left intact, as well as the raw shell of the industrial building. Inside, however, it’s all concrete, brick, glass, and steel deployed to great effect, with a creative merging of the public and private (unexpected windows connect the public spaces, bathrooms have glass doors).
Bed and Bath
Of the 19 rooms (11 of which are suites), the ones to book are those that have double-height windows with views of the Huangpu River. Tiny foyers make each space feel bigger, while contemporary, minimalist touches – white walls, polished timber floors, an occasional wall of exposed brick – as well as furniture pieces by Hans Wegner, Arne Jacobsen, and Finn Juhl are not-so-subtle nods to Scandinavian design. What’s more, the Copula rooms can be connected – handy if you’re traveling with friends.
Table No.1, the brainchild restaurant of Michelin-starred British chef Jason Atherton that occupies the hotel’s ground floor, is one of the chicest in Shanghai. Its modern European menu draws a perpetual crowd, so reservations are essential. Up at the rooftop bar, guests can indulge in clever, locally-inspired cocktails made with ingredients like soy sauce and lime (they’re better than you think) – all accompanied by the backdrop of Pudong’s glowing, futuristic skyscrapers just across the river.
In the Area
The Bund is a playground for both locals and tourists, who gather on the banks of the river nightly to gawp and snap selfies in front of the lights. Within walking distance is the South Bund Fabric Market, where tailors whip up custom-made clothes in hundreds of different textiles. Take a ferry down the river to get a closer look at the skyline (ask the concierge to direct you), or hop in a taxi bound for the French Concession, a chilled-out historic neighborhood of chic shops and restaurants in colonial buildings on tree-lined streets.
How to Get There
The design of this hotel by Neri & Hu was the main reason to visit this hotel. Thinking that it was done 10 years ago, you can imagine how groundbreaking the design must have been at the time. The combination of old and new is very well executed and they have a very nice selection of designer furniture spread around the hotel and rooms. However, after 10 years, you already see some wear and tear. The room was very clean though, so props to housekeeping! The location is very nice by the river and there’s an esplanade that allows you to walk all the way to the Bund. If you stay here, I would not take the breakfast. It was included in our stay, but you only get one hot drink (plain coffee or tea) and a plate with an English breakfast of beans, eggs, sausages and hashbrowns. It is prepared à la minute, but frankly it wasn’t very good. And the staff at breakfast speak no English whatsoever, so I couldn’t explain that I’m vegetarian. All in all, I would definitely recommend this hotel, but don’t pay extra for the breakfast and make sure not to pay too much for the room.
After asking for a table with a view at the restaurant, we discovered on arrival that the roof top was still under construction and there was no view! Having said that, the meal was really good, even though there were some items not available on our visit. Food was hot and tasty. If you can get onto the roof, the views are amazing
We enjoyed our stay here. Just across the road is the Bund with a lovely elevated walkway that leads all the way up to the central Shanghai. Well lit and lots of security so we felt safe walking back quite late. Same with the walk to the metro which is about 15 minutes away.
Breakfast was good and the staff helpful granted as with much of China english is not their first language.
Area is much quieter than the city with an artist complex over the road and some new restaurants.