Over the years, my preference for my hotel bookings has slowly switched from 3rd party sites (Expedia – mainly for its 6 miles per dollar promo with Citibank previously) to that directly from the hotel. This is due to progressively less bonus promo from credit cards (DBS Visa Altitude still has 6 miles per dollar promo) and more expensive hotels (Kaligo offers 10 to 12 miles per dollar but at a significantly higher price).
My preference further changed once I signed up for the IHG Ambassador programme which then make me choose IHG properties as my first option (direct booking with IHG). There are indeed benefits one can get from booking directly with the hotel (especially when you have status with them) e.g. my stay in Holiday Inn Munich. Another of my preference (but only if I will be staying for 4 nights) will be utilizing the Citi Prestige’s Hotel Night benefit (in which the 4th night will be free!). One can occasionally double dip on this privilege (e.g. for my upcoming stay in Osaka where I managed to book on IHG for Holiday Inn Namba using member’s rate, getting the points and get the 4th night free!).
Hence, or my recent stay in Shanghai my family and I stayed in the Grand Millennium Hotel which is a departure from my norm. This is probably my second stay in a Millennium and Copthorne chain in the last 2 years (the previous one being Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur). The hotel is situated in Hongqiao district and is conveniently located just 10-minute walk from the Line 10 Subway (which brings you direct to many points of interest such as Xintiandi, Yuyuan Garden and East Nanjing Road). The hotel was recently refurbished (completed only in October 2018) and is the hotel of choice for Singapore Airlines crew.
The lobby with the Christmas decoration
Although I booked a regular room, I was upgraded to a one-bedroom suite courtesy of upgrade vouchers from my good friend (Lion City). The suite was very spacious with a separate living room and bedroom with a walk-in wardrobe. The room came with a king-sized bed while the living room was furnished with a long sofa and a single seater sofa. The living room came with a large work desk as well.
The room came with mini-bar but it was not complimentary. Unlike most major hotels, the Nespresso capsules here are chargeable! However, the hotel was quite generous with the bottled water. 6 bottles were given each day!
The walk-in wardrobe comes with bathrobes, umbrellas and a safe box. Slippers were provided too.
The king-sized bed was large and comfortable, but the pillows were too soft for my liking. There were 2 USB charging ports on each side of the bed but 2 the ports were faulty. However, there were international plugs available in the room. 2 large screen TVs were provided, 1 in each room.
The 2 sets of curtains (day and night) are motorized and will be automatically be retracted the moment one enters the room (and plug in the key card).
The living room
One of the highlights of the room is certainly the toilet. It was extremely spacious with a large bath tub and a separate shower room. The bathroom came with 2 sinks, one was located next to the bath tub while the second was in a separate cubicle with the toilet bowl. The Japanese-styled bidet (with auto seat cover retractor) was much welcomed especially in the cold winter. The seat was very warm and comfortable indeed. Manufactured by Kohler, it even came with its own wireless remote control! One issue though is that the shower cubicle drainage was slow, and it flooded the toilet. One interesting feature of the toilet (although I wasn’t sure if it was intentional) is that the bathroom door is a mirror on one side and translucent on the other. The translucent side however is on the corridor, allowing one to see into the toilet!
During my stay, I managed to try out the club lounge and the restaurant for breakfast. The lounge was located on the 13th floor and it offers breakfast as well as evening canapes for executive floor guests. Beverages are also available round the clock in the fridge. The buffet choice was not as great as that in the main café but there is an egg station in the lounge.
The café was much larger with more food options both local and international. On top of an egg station, they have an additional noodle station and dumpling station where food was made to order. The selection was great, although there were more international choices than local ones – probably catering more to international tourists.
The club lounge at 13th floor
Club Lounge at night
Breakfast selection in the main cafe
Unless one prefers to stay in The Bund or Nanjing Road area (where traffic can be chaotic), Grand Millennium Hongqiao is a good choice for the value and convenience. With the newly renovated rooms, that will make one’s stay even more pleasant for now.