Upper Tier Hotels: The Hongta (Shanghai, China)

Part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection, the Hongta is what I consider a “luxury-adjacent” brand hotel.  It’s far nicer than a traditional chain hotel but you don’t get quite the same refined experience as a Waldorf, Ritz, St. Regis, etc.  

Rooms were spacious (upgraded to a suite on the 15th floor as a Platinum member) with very well-appointed rooms.  It does need a refresh - the carpets are beat - but the lobby is quite beautiful, the facilities are very maintained well and you have to consider fancy/luxury hotels in comparison to the big big big names in the industry. You aren’t living like a true A-lister at a place like this, but it’s darn good enough to impress someone special to you.

Service is great - good English-speaking staff.  With breakfast and Executive Lounge bar happy hour (over an amazing view from the 40th floor), it was well worth the $100 or so per night. The happy hour at the Executive Lounge is truly an amazing perk as a top member with Marriott (and when I stay with Hiltons too). It’s really worth using your credit cards and spend right to ensure you get these benefits. Free meals add up quickly when reviewing your travel budget over the course of a year.

The location in Pudong was so-so, a bit far from the action but in a safe spot with a close Metro stop nearby.  Not in the prime part of Pudong by Jin Mao Tower and Shanghai Tower, but the only hotels there are super pricey.  Only caveat:  if you’re a snowflake, avoid walking close to the Holiday Inn Express across the street.  The hotel looks nice enough but it’s hooker central.  You cannot walk near the hotel without being approached by many many overeager street walkers.  It was safe and didn’t bother me.  But for snowflakes, it may be a bit too appalling to handle.  Frankly, there is something uncouth to be found in the nicest parts of every city - all of SF is a demilitarized zone of poverty, crack and mental health issues - but it was more a fun observation than anything.

The price, quality, easy location to the fantastic Metro and very nice style - they all make it a great place to go for any type of audience (business, bleisure, family, romantic).

Verdict: Solid enough (7.5 / 10)