The weekend promises to be warm again in Shanghai. The forecast is similar to the past couple of weeks, with a mixture of clouds and sunshine and temperatures around 35 degrees. Great weather to spend a day on the beach – if Shanghai would have a decent beach, that is. But now there is a good alternative, the new Le Meridien hotel in Sheshan.
Sheshan is the only place close to Shanghai that is not totally flat. There are several hills covered with woods, and there is even one hill that was turned into a national park complete with several hiking trails. There is a (man-made?) lake, and driving around the area gives the impression of being in a holiday resort. Sheshan also has a nice but expensive golf course (this is actually the course where we developed the idea for Toodou during an 18-hole round in October 2004). And this all within 30 minutes of downtown Shanghai!
The Le Meridien hotel is built between one of the hills and the lake, a beautiful location that gives the impression of being in the middle of nature. A rare occasion when you live in this metropolis. The hotel is among the very best in Shanghai: fantastic large rooms (42 inch plasma TV’s with DVD player, a balcony, a king-size bed plus a round sofa the size of a bed, a very nicely designed bathroom with bathtub and separate two-head rainshower), a beautiful outside inifinity pool plus an indoor pool, several bars and restaurants, and even a beach (where the hotel provides a BBQ at night).
The only downside is the rather mediocre service. But that can be excused, because the 5-star hotel is still in its soft opening. You may have to wait a bit longer for your drinks, or staff do not know how to make decisions. Not a very big deal if you have a relaxed weekend, and not much different from many other places in Shanghai anyway. I spent a weekend in Sheshan two weeks ago, and then there were not enough umbrella’s to provide shade at the pool. The reason was that a typhoon had destroyed most of them a few days before that, but I think they should have purchased new umbrella’s by now.
If you plan to go this weekend the resort still has a special RMB 888 package (I called them and they informed me that the action would end next week). This includes not only a room for two people, but also a discount of RMB 460 (incl. service charge) on food and beverages. For this price you can spend two days at the poolside. If you just want to enjoy the pool for one day, you will have to pay RMB 300 per person, so this package is absolutely worth it. Another option is to go there for the Sunday brunch (RMB 298/person) that also allows you to spend the rest of the day on the beach or at the pool. If you go there this Sunday afternoon there is a good chance you will meet me there.