The Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai Review – Serene in a Sea of Frenetic Activity

On our way back to Chicago from a meeting my husband attended in Hangzhou, China, we stopped to spend a few days in Shanghai.  We rode the high-speed train, which opened in November, 2011 and it took only an hour and then took a taxi (also an hour) to our hotel.  After the drive through some of the worst traffic I had ever seen through the largest expanse of tall buildings I have ever seen, we were pleased and relieved to arrive at the Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai.  Stepping into the lobby was a calming and reassuring experience as we were efficiently checked in and sent on to our room, which we found to be beautiful and to offer total comfort. As our stay progressed I kept think of and agreeing with a phrase from the website:  “resourceful Four Seasons care to make your visit to Shanghai seamless and satisfying”.

The lobby with its three story high ceiling and two gorgeous winding staircases, the first to second floor and second to third floor were lovely and yielded two lovely balconies that faced large windows. The three fine dining restaurants, Chinese, Japanese and a steak house were on the second floor and the grand ballroom on the third.  There was also a wonderful floor to ceiling mural depicting Shanghai’s history, Shanghai now and Shanghai’s projected future.

Executive Club Lounge on the 37th floor

Our package was one that included the use of the The Executive Floor and a spa treatment and this was perfect for us.  The concierge floor was just wonderful, with the opportunity for a full breakfast –eggs cooked to order by a chef-and a large variety of western and Chinese foods.  There was also a light and lovely dinner available along with snacks and drinks anytime.  The staff was particularly helpful and friendly.  I offhandedly mentioned something about a new glass museum I was interested in and before I knew it, I was handed a paper with the museums name, address opening times etc.

View from the 37th floor

The Spa was an amazing place and a definite highlight of our stay. Filling the sixth floor, according to the Four Season’s website, this space offers the following: “Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a holistic system of medicine that involves the use of medicinal herbs, restorative exercise, diet, massage and acupuncture. TCM addresses the appearance of a disease, defines the root of the problem and offers a comprehensive treatment approach.”

April and Edith greeted us at the spa

Qin, The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai, offers TCM diagnosis, as well as a range of TCM wellness packages. There are eleven treatment rooms and a choice of 31 treatments. The massage that I had and the pedicure my husband had were the very best we have ever experienced anywhere. I would love to clone Edith, my massage therapist, take her home with me or take the thirteen hour flight to see her periodically because she was so good. My massage began with my feet being placed in a bowl filled with warm water and rose petals.  She then gave me a choice of oils to be used for the massage and preceded to explain that the massage, “Longevity – Cleaning & Revitalizing”, was designed to bring in positive energy.  It would focus on my joints and incorporate downward motion.  It was wonderful and in fact, my energy level did increase and has remained that way for a week and I am interested to see how long the effects will continue.

Waiting room in the spa

We experienced the hotel as elegant, gracious and efficient, a travellers’ treat. Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai, established Four Seasons in China when it opened in 2002. It is so warm and inviting that it is surprising to note it has 422-rooms in this downtown location.  Our room was spacious with every comfort including a large TV with a large selection of channels.  We also had a free and efficient Internet connection in the room.  We were especially impressed with the bathroom and the extremely comfortable tub and stall shower, which also designed for safety.  It was a relaxing and healing space. Everything about the hotel shouted impeccable attention to detail. It also made us feel really good that “everybody knew our name”.

Our comfortable room

Enjoying the wonderful facilities at Fitness Center one day, I happened to speak with another guest who was from New York.   She told me what an easy walk it was to People’s Square where the Shanghai Museum is located (we took a 15 minute cab ride) and how pleased she was to have taken the subway to 1933 Slaughterhouse and what an amazing place it is.  I had the chance to walk a couple of blocks to Nanjing Street and saw one designer shop after another and crowds of people along the street.  Later we took a short cab ride to the river walk and from there took the cable cars through the tunnel under the Bund to Pudong.  A complete list of Shanghai attractions are listed on the website.

The Shanghai Museum

Our visit was so pleasant that we hope to return soon and if that were possible, I would probably try to arrange the package plan with two nights in Shanghai and two nights at the Four Seasons Resort in Hangzhou (  This is very appealing because it offers the contrast of Hangzhou with the beautiful and idyllic West Lake and the hustle bustle of sophisticated Shanghai along with a return ticket on the high-speed train, breakfasts and a spa treatment.  And should we return after June 2012 we would expect find a fabulous new Four Seasons Hotel Pudong in place, following those in Hong Kong, Macau and Hangzhou.

Conversation area in our room

A special note on the Four Seasons as It celebrates it 50th year having begun as a motor hotel in Toronto in 1961. “For 50 years, our company logo has depicted the annual cycle of a tree, and as we look to the future, its symbolism will translate into concrete action,” says Kathleen Taylor, president and CEO, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “In cultures throughout the world, trees represent growth, prosperity and longevity. They also play a critical role in a healthy ecosystem and a healthy planet. 10 Million Trees is an exciting new program that will have a lasting and positive impact for generations to come.”

Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai, 500 Weihai Road, Shanghai 200041, China

Tel. 86 (21) 6256-8888, Fax. + 86 21 6256 5678

For more information go to:

Photos: Leon Keer

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