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Exotic elegance

By Yang Yijun (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-01-01 07:51
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 Exotic elegance

Top: Evening at the Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental. Above: The blue lagoon swirls around the hotel's main building. The outdoor swimming pool is a favorite among children in the summer. Provided to China Daily

 Exotic elegance

Damian Niesel, general manager of Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental.

Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental brings a Mediterranean touch to Shanghai. Yang Yijun reports.

The Mediterranean-style buildings, blue lagoons, white sand beach and palm trees have helped Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental become the latest tourist attraction at the Sheshan Mountain National Tourism Resort, in the city's southwest Songjiang district.

"In Shanghai, there are not many options for people to get out of the city within a reasonable distance, still have a luxury five-star environment and really enjoy a resort," says Damian Niesel, the hotel's general manager.

"That is what we can offer."

The blue lagoon, swirling around the hotel's main building, is in fact an outdoor swimming pool. All the guest rooms on the ground floor have direct access from the terrace to the medium-depth lagoon, which is a favorite for children in the summer.

In fact, the first floor rooms are hard to get without a reservation.

There is an artificial beach, which also adds to the Mediterranean flavor of the hotel, not far from the main building. The sands, from Sanya in Hainan province, bring a touch of the tropical island to the outskirts of Shanghai.

The 368 guest rooms, each with a balcony, are designed in three distinctive styles: Southeast Asia, Mediterranean and Chinese.

"We try to give our customers the option to experience something unique, or truly feel at home. So whatever they choose, they will find it in our hotel," Niesel says.

In addition to the guest rooms in the main building, the hotel provides seven exclusive villas, ideal for entertaining or for extended stay guests.

The villas, from 450 to 900 square meters each, are equipped with a variety of amenities, including a gym, jacuzzi and even a billiards room.

"We not only cater to normal hotel guests, but also to other top VIPs who want to stay in the exclusive area. They have the privacy of a villa, but at the same time, the service of a luxury hotel," Niesel says.

The independent spa building and six other spa villas make up the hotel's 3,500 sq m of spa space. The meeting space is also located in a separate wing from the main building to ensure the privacy of the other guests. The 12 meeting rooms, including the ballroom that can accommodate up to 1,200 people, offer flexible choices for meeting clients.

"We offer a unique location with easy access to the city center, but you are not distracted by the crowded and lively environment," Niesel says. "You can really concentrate on your meeting event here and on the last day of the meeting, have a fun night out downtown."

As a French brand, the Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental hopes to introduce French elegance to its guests.

The uniforms of the hotel ambassadors are designed by the renowned French designer Bragard. They even greet the guests with "bonjour" followed by a more familiar nihao.

And ladies will definitely be surprised when they see Herms and L'Occitane amenities in the guest rooms and suites.

"Songjiang is still an unknown destination for people from outside Shanghai, but I believe we can be a true alternative to downtown Shanghai for them," Niesel says.

(China Daily 01/01/2011 page10)

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