The Waterhouse at South Bund
- Style Designer dockyard digs
- Setting Riverside by the famous Bund
In the achingly cool response to Shanghai’s shiny spires, The Waterhouse at South Bund hotel has transformed a ramshackle 1930s factory overlooking the Huangpu River into a gritty-glam den of high design. Sleek architecture, trendy dining, and envelope-pushing decor contrast with the rugged industrial building and historic dockyard setting of this ambitious auberge.
Need to know
- Rooms 19, including 11 suites.
- Rates Double rooms from $197.64 (CNY1,200), excluding tax at 15 per cent.
- More details Rates include breakfast.
- Facilities Free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, iPod dock, complimentary non-alcoholic minibar, unlimited local phone calls, Illy espresso machine, bedside touch-panel controls, freestanding bath tubs and terraces in some rooms.
- Check–out Midday, although flexible subject to availability and an extra half-day room charge until 6pm. Check-in, 2pm.
Children It’s not the best spot for little ones, although complimentary baby cots are available as are extra beds for older kids for CNY500 a child a night.
- Also Throw a party with a thousand of your closest friends at the Waterhouse’s enormous, peak-roofed event space in the adjacent warehouse. Film director Wong Kar Wai and fashion label Shanghai Tang have already held glam bashes here.
In the know
- Our favourite rooms Given a modern makeover by hot Shanghai architects Neri & Hu, each of the 19 rooms is uniquely defined by the original factory architecture. Bund Junior Rooms 33 and 35 each have double-height windows framing views of the river and Pudong skyscrapers. Terrace Suite No 21 features a deep concrete soaking tub, as well as a large walled terrace overlooking the internal courtyard. For something a bit cheeky, Courtyard Suite No. 17 has a window looking right over (and visible from) the lobby.
- Packing tips Leave plenty of suitcase space for your Shanghai purchases. The hotel is steps away from the famous South Bund Fabric Market where tailors will spin you a custom-fit wardrobe in a few days.
- Also The hotel provides fluffy robes and light yukata kimonos for swanning around in your room, plus lush bath amenities in Cultural Revolution-era factory-issued tin trays and cups. Furniture is a design fan's fantasy too, spanning contemporary offerings by Milanese maestro Antonio Citterio and pared-down Scandi pieces by Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner and Finn Juhl.
Food and drink at The Waterhouse at South Bund
- Hotel restaurant The Waterhouse’s rustic, 60-seat dining room has serious culinary cred. Table No. 1 is the first independent restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton after leaving Gordon Ramsay’s Maze in London. Former Maze executive chef Scott Melvin helms the kitchen, turning out mod-Euro crowd-pleasers designed to share. Be sure to book ahead.
- Dress code Effortlessly edgy to go with the repurposed grey-brick floors, bare wood communal tables and ultra cool vibe.
- Top table If you’d like some privacy, book one of the tables for two that line the plate-glass windows looking out to the laneway. From there you can watch the motley passing parade in this low-gloss neighbourhood. There are also two private dining rooms.
- Last orders 10.30pm, although the bars keep on keeping on until 1am.
- Room service Apart from Table No. 1 there are lots of great restaurants in the vicinity, so get dressed and go out, you lazy things.
- Hotel bar When weather permits, climb up to the artfully rusted rooftop for unobstructed river views and classy cocktails at the Roof at Waterhouse. Alfresco tables, a well-stocked bar and flower garden provide a top setting to sip China-inspired tipples, such as the potent Shanghai Iced Tea or the Myth of the Orient made with lime, chilli and a dash of soy sauce. In colder months, you can relax in one of the designer chairs in the sunken Lobby Bar. Here on a bleisure (business/leisure) trip? Hook up with clients in style in the small meeting room that steps down to an alfresco cocktail deck.