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Classy cultural connection

By Yang Yijun ( China Daily ) Updated: 2012-05-21 09:59:32

Classy cultural connection

A night view of the Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel Shanghai. [Photo/China Daily]

Hotel profile | Shanghai

Climbing to new heights at Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel Shanghai. Yang Yijun reports.

As the first property of Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts in the Asia Pacific region, the Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel Shanghai, which is located just across the Shanghai New International Expo Center, combines modern luxury with traditional Chinese culture.

"In Jumeirah, we believe in being culturally connected," says Akram Touma, hotel's general manager.

"This is about paying tribute to the heritage of the country. And it's not a shallow showcase," he adds.

The cultural journey starts as soon as you arrive. The base is built like an urban forest with pillars in a tree trunk shape, which is inspired by traditional feng shui and represents a connection with the earth and sky.

The lobby, which incorporates various aspects of Chinese culture, acts similar to a museum for guests. It features a magnificent LED screen across the ceiling to show the changing sky at different times of the day.

A poem containing 1,000 different characters, or qianziwen in Chinese, encircles the lobby. The calligraphy written by an ancient Chinese scholar tells the principles of life.

A real Ming Dynasty pavilion is laid out in the center of the lobby. Live DJ music is performed in the pavilion daily.

Additionally, Chinese paintings are on display in the lobby too, every piece is authentic.

"We don't have re-prints. This is our spirit to 'stay different,' the essence of every Jumeirah hotel," Touma says.

"We are launching a curator tour. If you want to understand the history behind each item along with the beauty of the paintings and calligraphy, you can borrow an iPad, which plays the introduction of each item at the front desk while you walk around," he says.

Touma believes that in an age when everybody carries their electronic devices, what a hotel should do to improve experiences of guests would be to offer WiFi speed and access.

"I'm proud to tell you that we have the fastest WiFi in China and it's free and accessible everywhere, you don't have to enter a password and room number," he says.

The hotel has installed WiFi in limousines, which allow guests to check emails and read news from the airport to the hotel. It will also lend an iPad to the guest, if he or she doesn't have the device.

iPads are available for kids, so they can keep silent while their parents are enjoying dinner.

The cultural journey continues in guest rooms, which have been decorated in the style of Ming Dynasty with hardwood floors, stylish furniture and traditional Chinese tea sets. Different types of art works are on display in the rooms as well as corridors.

"It's a different hotel. When you are here, you know you are in Jumeirah. It's not like sometimes you are in a hotel, you mix names, as they look the same," says Touma.

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