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An exterior view of the 52-story hotel. Photos Provided to China Daily
Business casual rules at the Pullman Shanghai Skyway, Matthew Fulco reports.
There's no place like a home away from home. It is no easy feat for a hotel, especially one catering to the corporate crowd, to design an upscale space that feels at once hospitable, calm and familiar. That's the allure of the Accor Group's Pullman Skyway, which packages the comforts of home for savvy business travelers in an iconic 52-story tower in central Shanghai.
As top international hotels race to break out of the cookie-cutter mold, the French-branded Pullman has introduced a concept free of the tired platitudes about luxury and sanctuary. Instead, Pullman encourages its guests to "check in and chill out." Sure, it sounds more suited for the Maldives or Kota Kinabalu than Shanghai, but that's the point.
"This is a new-concept business hotel, designed for individual business travelers and MICE groups who like to work in a relaxed but elegant setting," says general manager Arthur Ai.
It is imperative to ensure that business travelers, many who travel for extended periods without seeing their families, do not feel lonely, adds Ai, who has worked in the hospitality industry for 20 years and previously served as the acting general manager of the Pullman Skyway.
"We ensure the comfort of our guests by providing convivial hospitality, a calm environment and work-enabling technology," Ai says. The atmosphere well suits business people without being formal or cold, he says, adding that the hotel offers business travelers comprehensive conference facilities.
The Pullman Skyway is ideally equipped for MICE with over 3,000 square meters of conference facilities on four levels, including a large ballroom that can accommodate up to 550 people, sixteen meeting rooms, and extensive pre-function areas.
As a popular choice for MICE travelers, Pullman was selected by the Shanghai government to host the 2010 Shanghai World Expo and the 14th FINA World Championships in 2011. This year, it earned the best MICE hotel award from City Traveler.
In addition, the Pullman Shanghai Skyway has 545 smartly-appointed rooms offering sweeping city views. Spacious executive floor rooms offer executive lounge access with perks like gratis breakfast, afternoon tea, happy hour, and one hour of meeting room use per stay.
While there is currently a surcharge for Wi-Fi use in guestrooms, the Pullman plans to waive the fees this year.
The Pullman's central location in Shanghai's heralded former Luwan district makes it an ideal base for the business traveler keen to explore the city's downtown. Luwan, one of Shanghai's three "golden districts," was incorporated into the New Huangpu district in 2011 but its name is still widely used in the local community. Within a short taxi ride of the Pullman are myriad dining and shopping choices on Huaihai Road and in Xintiandi. Just around the corner from the hotel is the creative hub of Taikang Road, offering a contemporary take on historic Shanghai with its traditional Shanghainese homes refitted as artist studios and designer boutiques.
Looking ahead, Pullman will continue its participation in the Planet 21 sustainable development program launched earlier this year by Accor. The program requires all hotels in the Accor Group to operate in an eco-friendly manner, minimizing energy use and water consumption.
"To improve awareness of the program among staff, we have marked the 21st of each month as Planet 21 day," says Ai. "On that day, the hotel management team serves lunch to all associates on duty."
The Pullman Shanghai Skyway will introduce specialty healthy menus in its restaurants and room service next year as part of the program, he adds.
Ai believes hotels, as major energy consumers, should do their part to protect the environment. "China is fast running out of water resources and faces pollution challenges. We need to help to turn the tide," he says.
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(China Daily 01/05/2013 page13)