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Hotel Highlights

  • Serious design cred attracts creative industries clientele
  • Buzzy mod-Euro noshing scene at Jason Atherton’s Table No. 1
  • Stay in a piece of refashioned history by Shanghai’s historic riverside dockyards
  • Reside in refashioned history by Shanghai’s historic riverside dockyards

Overview

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.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking The Waterhouse at South Bund with us:

A bottle of wine

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at The Waterhouse at South Bund

15 days advance purchase: 25% off 10 days advance purchase: 20% off Five days advance purchase: 15% off

Facilities

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The Waterhouse at South Bund hotel - Shanghai - China

Need To Know

Rooms

19, including 11 suites.

Check–out

Midday, although flexible subject to availability and an extra half-day room charge until 6pm. Check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $195.10 (CNY1,200), excluding tax at 15 per cent.

More details

Rates include breakfast.

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.

At the hotel

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.

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

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.

Children

It’s not the best spot for little ones, although complimentary baby cribs are available as are extra beds for older kids for CNY500 a child a night.

Food & Drink

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The Waterhouse at South Bund hotel - Shanghai - China

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.

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.

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.

Smith Insider

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.

Local Guide

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The Waterhouse at South Bund hotel - Shanghai - China
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

From the Waterhouse, you are well placed to explore the city’s most charming and storied neighbourhoods around the Bund. Get a deeper insight into the history and architecture of the Bund buildings and backstreets on a guided tour with local historian Peter Hibbard (+ 86 (0)21 6271 5551), or join Israeli documentary-maker Dvir Bar-Gal (+86 1300 214 6702) on a fascinating walk around the old Jewish ghetto and synagogue in nearby Hongkou.

The easiest way to get across the river to futuristic Pudong is by local ferry, which moors close to the hotel. At just CNY2 it’s a bargain ride. The coolest way to cruise Shanghai, however, is in the sidecar of a repro WWII Changjiang 750cc motorcycle. The Waterhouse at South Bund can arrange custom tours with Shanghai Sideways of the surrounding historic neighbourhoods (www.shanghaisideways.com).

Local restaurants

It’s a short trip to Shanghai’s iconic Bund waterfront, which is packed with fine dining, lounging and luxury shopping. Try Lost Heaven at 17 Yan’an Dong Road (+86 (0)21 6330 0967; www.lostheaven.com.cn) for richly spiced ‘mountain Mekong’ fare in an exotic, folk-chic four-storey destination restaurant and lounge. For haute French bistro favourites and killer Bund views, head to Mr and Mrs Bund at Level  6, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Street (+86 (0)21 6323 9898; www.mmbund.com).

+ Enlarge
Riverside by the famous Bund

The Waterhouse at South Bund

1-3 Maojiyuan Road, Zhongshan Road South, Huangpu District, Shanghai, 200011

The hotel is located on the banks of the Huangpu River, across the river from Shanghai's Pudong district.

Planes

Shanghai's Hongqiao Airport (www.shanghaiairport.com) was upgraded in 2010 with the opening of a second terminal. A number of international airlines, including Thai Airways, Korean Air and Air France, fly here.

Trains

Shanghai South Railway Station is 20 minutes from the hotel in the Xuhui district. Services from here travel connect with the southern provinces of China (but not Hong Kong).

Automobiles

It takes about one-hour by taxi to the Waterhouse from Pudong International Airport and 45 minutes from Hongqiao Airport. Depending on traffic, it is about a 15-minute ride to People’s Square and five minutes to the Bund.

Reviews

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The Waterhouse at South Bund hotel - Shanghai - China

Anonymous review

by Elizabeth Ann Macgregor , Gallery guru

Our first glimpse of Shanghai is of the modernist airport sparkling with myriad lights in a vast lattice of glass and steel. Billboards speed past as we hurtle into the city, and the glittering, sci-fi skyscrapers rise before us. The taxi turns down a sidestreet and slows at what appears to be a derelict building opposite a Starbucks. We spot the neon sign: the Waterhouse at South Bund. Dance musi…
Read more

The Waterhouse at South Bund

Anonymous review by Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, Gallery guru

Our first glimpse of Shanghai is of the modernist airport sparkling with myriad lights in a vast lattice of glass and steel. Billboards speed past as we hurtle into the city, and the glittering, sci-fi skyscrapers rise before us. The taxi turns down a sidestreet and slows at what appears to be a derelict building opposite a Starbucks. We spot the neon sign: the Waterhouse at South Bund. Dance music booms out as we walk under the exposed bare bones of the original building (a 1930s army headquarters) into a space that could have been a setting for a rave, with a large, white contemporary chandelier the central feature. ‘I hope they’ve finished the bedrooms,’ mutters Mr Smith.

We check in and head to our room to investigate. The living and sleeping areas of our stylish, spacious Bund Suite on the top floor are divided by a timber-veneer bench. Drawn by the stunning view over the Huangpu River from the six-metre high, floor-to-ceiling window, I drop my bag and coat on this minimal seat. The porter patiently moves them aside to reveal a motorised TV that emerges from the surface at the touch of a button.

I catch the look of consternation on Mr Smith’s face as he spots the glass box of a bathroom. A thin mesh curtain offers a vague attempt at privacy. More worrying is the ‘walk in’ bath/shower. More of a walk up – up two unattached wooden steps and over the bath edge. Getting out proves to be even more precarious over the slippery, wet floor. Sitting in the elevated bath and enjoying the panoramic view is the best way to counteract the practical challenges. The timber-and-steel sink and its distressed tin accessories are pretty easy on the eye though.

Later, as I mentally measure up the hanging space, I realize that the storage – and perhaps the whole hotel – is created for the minimalist traveller; those clever couples who can go away with designer hand luggage containing the perfect selection of black clothes for all occasions. But three hangers each isn’t going to do the trick for us (cue a quick phone call to reception to request more) and our large suitcases look alien on the uncluttered pale wooden floor.

The next morning we explore the hotel and get more comfortable with our striking surrounds. Its roof garden is delightful, and expansive vistas over the bustling river from the Roof terrace bar contrast with the minimalism inside. Concrete and steel structures define the Waterhouse at South Bund’s spaces, with the old, raw shell of the building contrasting with radical new additions. It’s hard to fault the hotel’s aesthetics, with the stone-tiled floor of the Lobby bar extending seamlessly into the lift. Enigmatic phrases stencilled onto the glass panels and along the floor in the bar add an engaging touch. And each suite has its own mini-foyer to create a sense of seclusion.

But the cutting-edge design can surprise unwary guests: our delicious Continental breakfast looks good served on a plain wooden tray but the slanting coffee cup is rather disconcerting first thing in the morning and the lid of the elegant glass teapot falls off into the cup when tilted.

After a day of sightseeing, we relax in the Lobby Bar. Despite an alluring list of exotic cocktails, Mr Smith orders a martini. It’s perfect. My Cosmopolitan also hits the spot. Dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, Table No. 1, is faultless: chef Jason Atherton’s scrumptious crab bisque and squid ink spaghetti is a scintillating blend of texture and flavour.

As we relunctantly check out the next morning, we realise how much we have come to appreciate the Waterhouse at South Bund’s pared-down cool. In a city that boils with distractions, the stark interiors focused our attention outwards. The clever blend of old and new, which echoes the collisions between past and present that are such an endearing aspect of Shanghai, has triumphed. But next time we’ll bring a couple of extra coathangers – and some sexier luggage.

     

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