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“Great Design, Awful Service! Skip the hotel.”

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The Waterhouse At South Bund
Ranked #209 of 5,146 Hotels in Shanghai
Reviewed 28 October 2012

My boyfriend and I booked a night at the hotel a while back for a romantic evening, however, the whole experience was more than sub-par. As designers, we were first attracted to the hotel for its great design but looking back we could've just went there for dinner and saved ourselves a ton of money.

First things first, when we arrived at check-in time our room was not available still and we had to wait for more than 30 minutes at the bar (they gave us 2 glasses of orange juice and this was the nicest service we received during our ENTIRE stay). Silly us realized at check-in that we both forgot our credit card so we had to pay for the room upfront which was not a problem for us but which also meant if we wanted any room service we'd have to pay each time which still wasn't a problem for us. We were excited to stay at the water house after hearing about it. When we got to our room, the design was nice but not as interesting as the rest of the hotel...still nice. Everything went downhill when we found out they had a private event at the hotel that night therefore the restaurant and the rooftop bar were closed!!! Literally the only amenities the hotel offered were closed! So we decided to order room service and when the staff came with our food (she was in a manager-like uniform) we informed her that we needed to go ahead and pay since we paid for the room upfront. Upon hearing this, she ROLLS HER EYES and let's out a impatient "UGH" and proceeded to mutter "YOU MUST BE KIDDING." We were SHOCKED at the least by her behavior and extremely offended. We then informed her we needed one more set of utensils which earned us one more eye-roll and only to have them brought up by a different staff member later.

The best part came after we took a stroll around the bund and tried to return to our hotel. By this point the private event had already started and there were several "security" staff outside the main entrance. We walked up to the door (to the hotel we had PAID for) but were literally cut off at the entrance by the security people who demanded we go to a different entrance for the event. In disbelief I told them we were staying at the hotel and instead of apologizing they DEMANDED again we show them proof. I was utterly beyond words by this point and just wanted to get to my room and get it over with. By the end of the night we were both wondering why we had decided to pay to be treated like beggars on the side of the road!

I realize that nowadays boutique hotels are trendy, however, that unfortunately also results in the staffs having an extremely arrogant attitude. Waterhouse is perfect example of that where they failed to understand the main function of a hotel and their staffs obviously had zero understanding of hospitality.

Writing this just reminded me again of how rudely we were treated. Never again to this place. There are better hotels in Shanghai by the handful.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank yichiban
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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71 - 77 of 134 reviews

Reviewed 21 October 2012

The Waterhouse is a very unique and stylish boutique hotel in the center of Shanghai. Our room was nice and clean but quite small - unfortunately the shower was not really leak-proof... We loved the roof top bar which opens in the evening and offers a great view over the skyline of Shanghai. The staff is very friendly and the bar is usually not very crowded.
Breakfast was included and very tasty, specially the fresh fruit salad. The only thing that was a bit annoying during our stay was the house keeping service, knocking incessantly on our door speaking only chinese.
Additional to the room, they charged a room service fee of 165 RMB each day.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Tobi_Gr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 October 2012

This Hotel has won all sorts of awards for it's design and the restaurant too, called Table No.1 became one of the "in" places to eat under the guidance of British Chef Jamie Atherton. This south side of The Bund is now becoming very trendy, the Hotel located just opposite Cool Docks looks from the outside just what is was, a run down old warehouse. In fact there is very little signage to show you that it is now a first class Hotel and Restaurant. The interior is amazing, the architect has retained lots of the old warehouse, such as broken plastered walls, rusty pillars and the brick tiled floor, whilst renovating to a super modern design. Our room was small but no cost had been spared in designing this state-of-the-art accommodation. We had the most amazing views across the Bund to Padong, but despite this I found the room design really not to my satisfaction. Firstly, The glass wall dividing the bedroom area from the bathroom was completely transparent, therefore not even the minimum privacy. The space between the washbasin and the glass wall was barely passable into the shower area and the WC on full view, well need I say more. The wardrobe area was a rail immediately above the coffee maker and kettle, OK for a couple of shirts but useless for dresses or trousers and who wants steamed clothes? In conclusion, a beautiful hotel but not very functional if you want to stay for more than one night.
Having been quite critical about the room I have to say the breakfast was excellent. You choose from a menu and the food is freshly prepared not a buffet that has been sitting there for hours.

  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank BERO1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 September 2012

No words for the design - check the pics!
We booked a room for only about 140 euros, but it turned out to be the smallest room on the whole floor. But it was OK however, just a little noise at night from the restaurant downstairs (only separated by glass).
Room comes, among others, with complementary home made cookies and Illy coffeemachine.
A la carte breakfast is included for all guests. Don't bother to have the pastries (ugh), have the great the pancakes and salmon bagel instead!
Quiet location, very short ride to the Bund, but with adjacent Cool Docks with restaurants. Ferry and Old town within walking distance.
DJ playing on the rooftop on Saturday night, bit expensive drinks but great views.

Room Tip: We had the smallest room on the floor, 18A. It had no bathtub, and we could hear a little noise from...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank wilhornis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 September 2012

One of the best places in Shanghai to live in a modern hotel without all these kitschy elements, but design unterstatement. The bar on the rood allows a great view on the bund skyline, but the restaurant on the ground floor, table 1, makes enjoyment even better with its Italian / mediterean food. Rooms are spacious and functional and nice litte details make your stay really enjoyable. Directly beside is the restaurant / bar area Cool docks.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled on business
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Thank Katharina19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 July 2012

I was there last month, the designers I know for long time, they bring this new surprise to SH, fantastic view with extra modern design, can't imagine the location was transform from the old sugar wear house.

The restaurant of hotel was another good raison to be there. Enjoy the food.Love the roof garden.

I stay In the suite face river, only one thing is not convenient is that the colone through our room can see downstairs, you have to close the window, or other guest may see you from outside.

Room Tip: Avoid the room on 2th floor that you can see it from lobby.
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank miy888
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 April 2012

When I first saw pictures of the Waterhouse I knew I had to stay there. For me, one of a kind, uniquely designed, contemporary hotels with an authentic personality are the holy grail and the Waterhouse knocks it out of the park. This is no cookie cutter boutique hotel, this is a carefully thought out high-design hotel. Absolutely a treat to take in all the little design details of the property and the room.

I stayed in the River Courtyard Suite, #19 on the first floor (not ground floor). It’s a decent sized (have no other reference in Shanghai to compare it to) open concept room featuring a glass enclosed soaker tub and rainshower on a wood plank floor in the middle of the room. The only enclosed space is the small WC closet. A bank of windows down one wall open up to the street, a glass wall looks down to the restaurant below and another window opens up to the courtyard. Minibar with free non-alcoholic beverages, Illy espresso machine, branded toiletries, travel plug adaptors! iPod dock, etc. Despite the word ‘River’ in the room description, there is no actual view of the river. This has a south street view and is at the westernmost edge of the hotel farthest from the river.

If you’re looking for full service, you won’t find it here. There is no business centre, gym, bellhops, doormen, etc. Only what you need, competent, professional front desk staff and good cleaning staff which is the way I prefer it. The restaurant downstairs is well regarded on the local foodie blogs. My rate came with free breakfast which was a nice surprise as I was expecting to pay for my average western breakfast. Sampled the restaurant again for dinner one night and it was decent but given the relative pricing I was expecting better.

Despite my love for the design, I do have a few minor complaints. Noise from the restaurant and lounges does make it into the rooms although they shut down at a reasonable hour. Anytime you use white upholstery or textiles, they require meticulous cleaning. I’m not sure the age of the hotel but some of the upholstery was showing some grime. Free wifi but in this room at the far edge of the hotel the signal reception is weak.

Room Tip: Due to low structures on the riverfront you will need to be on the second floor (third in NA terms...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank misterbitterpants
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Waterhouse At South Bund

Address: No.1-3 Maojiayuan Road, Shanghai 200011, China
Region: China > Shanghai Region > Shanghai > South Bund
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
#52 Romantic Hotel in Shanghai
#178 Luxury Hotel in Shanghai
#208 Best Value Hotel in Shanghai
Price Range: £137 - £195 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Waterhouse At South Bund 5*
Number of rooms: 19
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Also Known As:
The Waterhouse At South Bund Hotel Shanghai

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