CHANGE UNIVERSE: Magazine Jewels
Shanghai | HotelMay 14, 2012

Waterhouse Suite

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And yes, through Table nb1 I got the reservation for two nights at The Waterhouse at South Bund.  . But wich suite?

I want the best, with the most interesting views, and the " wow!"  factor.

 The Waterhouse at South Bund  is an intimate boutique hotel utterly original in design that opened in Shanghai's historic Shiliupu dockyard district two years ago.

Located on the banks of the Huangpu River and in the vicinity of the 2010 World Expo site, The Waterhouse at South Bund raises the boutique hotel stakes in Shanghai with its cutting-edge design and one-of-a-kind experience.

From the Peninsula Rolls , I get out with tons of luggage and my camera around my neck.

The concierge, wearing  a black suit and tie designed exclusively by Uniqlu,  opens the humongous  wooden door of the strange shabby establishment .  I believe by his expression,  he doesn't really understand why I have landed in the Puxi neighborhood as the hotel clients are more of the ' Monocle Magazine" type .

If you are the 'neat'  kind this place as you step in the entrance hall will catch you by total surprise.

While I am asked for passport and credit card, I look around slightly intimidated. One of the leading architectural voices in China today, the Shanghai-based Neri & Hu Design and Research Office (NHDRO) was commissioned to transform a non-descript riverside building into a daring interpretation of modern Shanghai, where old and new sit side by side.

The hotel's design philosophy is based on a blurring or an inversion of internal & external spaces, creating a disorienting yet refreshing spatial experience for guests in search of something out of the ordinary. The public places allow glimpses into private rooms while the private spaces invite guests to peek into public areas. The result is a stay that both defines and distinguishes the visitor experience at The Waterhouse at South Bund.

Neri & Hu are winners of many international and domestic awards and the firm has been recognized as “the epitome of modern Chinese aesthetics.” Founded by Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, the works of the architectural design firm are wellsprings of creative and contemporary design. Their projects include Legation Quarter in Beijing, Y+ Yoga in Xintiandi, Shanghai, The China House at the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok and the Design Republic flagship retail store, which was bestowed the DFA (Design for Asia) Best Design Award.

Among the 19-rooms whose interiors are decorated with trademark designer furniture (Arne Jacobsen, Finn Juhl, Hans Wegner, I am allowed to pick  only two since the hotel is fully booked

I decide to take a small pictorial tour among unfinished walls and  strange dentist chairs located in strategically illuminated corridors.

Most of the rooms look upon a terrace or balcony , all have a bedside control panel, iPod docking station and a cable TV, large windows offer a warm feeling of peace and retreat.  I choose a room that has a bathtub right in the middle  and is surrounded by a thin glass on the light wood floor.  Brutal cement covers the walls and contrast vividly with the impeccable white cotton sheets of the large king size bed.

The view over on the river is suggestive, apparent electrical wires in the street  frame the image of a reality that no longer exists in the part of the world were I live. Internet is a little slow, do I care?

A little black book has a title ' open Sesame" and another ' Are you hungry" will certainly guide me to the next hours of the evening. The boats sail on , and I feel I am in  larger one .

My clothes are organized in a external station together with my shoes and suitcase. No internal closet space and I simply love it.

Tomorrow on my way to Beijing, I close my eyes dreaming of the Fellinian ' E la Nave Va" .

Joelle's Tips:

The Hotel: The Waterhouse at South Bund

The Architect: Neri & Hu Design 

The Movie :  " E la Nave Va"

The Magazine : Monocle  


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