For a quick business trip I recently had to spend two nights in Shanghai where I had the chance to spend two nights at the former Grand Mercure Shanghai Central that just recently rebranded to the Pullman Shanghai Jing’an, named after the area it is located in.
While this was just a short stay and I partially paid by points I do like and prefer the Pullman brand in general so I had a certain expectation in terms of style and service. I left Shanghai with somewhat mixed feelings about this property, that does not really fit into the Pullman brand as of now.
The hotel was marketed as Grand Mercure until a few months ago and seems to have been switched to the Pullman brand without any major renovation. I have no particular preference for Mercure, it is a solid brand for 4 star hotels and I have stayed in a few in Europe. Pullman on the other side to me is a pretty upscale 5 star business/conference brand.
The hotel is located directly next to Shanghai central station, so service by public transport could not be better and the walk to the underground station is just 2 minutes.
After arriving from the airport the check-in was done in the lobby as the executive lounge apparently has no card reader device. I arrived very early which I forgot to mention during my reservation, so I tried to call ahead from the airport but was told there is no one working in the reservations department, surprising for a 5 star hotel at 8+am…
While there is a priority check-in desk for members it was not staffed so I had a short wait until I was served. Communication with the front desk was bad, really bad. Neither of the two staff was able to speak proper English and it took quite a while until everything was done. After receiving my key cards I went up to my room on level 18 to wait for my luggage to arrive, it never came. After some 20 minutes I called the front desk to find out they forgot about my luggage. Definitely not the best start into my stay.
The room itself was nice and spacious with a drawer, day bed, flat screen TV and a desk.
Opposite of the TV was a nice king size bed which was very comfortable. I did notice a few hairs on the bed sheets which was not acceptable so I asked them to change it, hairs can always drop during housekeeping for example and that is not a big issue but there were way more hairs than normally could drop. Nevertheless the bedding was very nice and I got a perfect sleep.
Everything was ok maintained but it showed some wear and tear, many of the wooden parts of the furniture had visible scratches and marks, it was definitely not renovated anytime recent. Facilities were pretty standard in the room with international power sockets, fast and uncensored WIFI, a safe deposit box, etc.
To the left from the door was the separated bathroom with a big walk-in shower and a toilet next to the frosted windows.
The shower was nice with the standard Pullman toiletries and good water pressure. In general I found the bathroom very nice and clean.
After refreshing I wanted to check out the executive lounge which is a few more levels up, the hotel also has a pool and a bar but both were under construction during my stay. Given that there was no bar the welcome drink voucher was somewhat useless. One thing I did not like were the incredibly dark hallways with dimmed light and no windows. It might be just me but I like to see where I am stepping actually.
The staff in the executive lounge was very friendly and welcoming, I was invited to grab some snacks from the last breakfast call which I gladly accepted. Sadly once again the staff spoke very little English and despite living in Asia for years I had extreme trouble understanding them. Nevertheless the lounge is nice with sufficient space, good dining and also a business centre stocked with iMacs. I returned twice for the evening cocktail during which tasty snacks were available from 6pm to 8pm.
As I said in the beginning of this review I am having very mixed feelings about this property. I think the location is extremely convenient and the staff was friendly all the time. Rooms have decent size and are clean but with some visible wear and tear. Not all facilities were open during my stay and service was really a miss, that might have been somewhat due to the bad communication which I find also unacceptable. After all this is a international 5 star hotel chain and there was not a single staff that could speak in English, the level was really really bad and shocked me quite a bit. Besides issues with the luggage it also took them 15 – 30 minutes each time to book a taxi at every time or weather condition throughout the day.
I don’t think this property should be using the Pullman brand as it is by far not up to the standard of hotels like the Pullman Saigon, but then again it was the cheapest Accor property in town and just recently changed branding so things might improve.