The opulence of the Shanghai Yacht Club is impressive but where are the yachts? There are more reception rooms than vessels in the marina, or berths for that matter. After passing through two security guards with very explicit hand waving signals as to our desire to have a look at the Yacht Club, we were eventually delivered to a stunning
English-speaking receptionist, Coco, who not only welcomed us but gave us a personal tour through the Club: western and eastern designed reception rooms, see-through fish tanks, decks with gold bar tables and chairs not to mention the large bottles of Moet et Chandon awaiting purchase. Permission to enter the wine cellar was granted by the 24/7 security guard; so many bottles and not a glass in sight!! Each room was named after a yacht club around the world – there was a Royal New Zealand Yacht Club Room. Now there’s an opening for the Squadron to rectify naming rights.
The Xingyu Oriental Bund Hotel was more than adequate with just a few idiosyncrasies; the most disconcerting being that the temperature in all the rooms is set at 25 degrees Celsius – but don’t worry, “it will be fixed tomorrow” and, of course, tomorrow never comes. And we just get hotter and hotter. I can tell you that eventually you do get used to it. Receptionists speak limited English but then again we speak no Chinese. Observation: a ringing mobile phone gets immediate attention no matter at what point the receptionist is dealing with a guest.
Strangely, there were two restaurants advertised for the use of guests but the first restaurant is for the exclusive use of the Chinese guests and we were not permitted to enter. Europeans ate in the adjacent restaurant with only one waiter who literally ran from table to table. The dinner choices were minimal (but did include Sauteed Bullfrog and Pig Feet) compared with the extensive breakfast, which is similar to a full Asian dinner buffet with curries, noodle and rice dishes, steam buns, all sorts of meat, mushrooms and vegetables, won ton soup, etc. Western food – fried eggs are cooked and left to cool on a saucer ready for the next European to collect it. We passed on that one.
The Hop-on Hop-off bus was a great way to learn about and to see Shanghai but the highlights were finding the Captain’s Bar in an old building just off the Bund. This bar had an open deck overlooking the river with it’s amazing views of the ultra modern buildings on the opposite bank along with the myriad of cargo ships relentlessly trekking up and down the river, some with minimal free-board. The ambience was warm and friendly as was the
personality of our guide on the Shanghai Shopping Tour. What a treat – four people on the tour; a van at our disposal; and a guide with an in-depth knowledge of Shanghai who shared poignant points of both history and culture. Emily and her team have already done the research of best value for money and have negotiated unbelievable prices for their clients. Here we go – tailors poised to take our measurements, opticians with drawers and drawers of frames, souvenirs, silk factory showcasing duvet inners and covers, exquisite ceramic warehouse, leather goods, shoes, and a delicious lunch. For the record, this tour is equally interesting for both men and women.
We came home with a tailor-made cashmere coat for Cheryl and shirts for Ian, leather gloves, a silk duvet inner and cover, prescription glasses for Ian and, of course, a few souvenirs. A very productive few hours!! And the beauty of it all is that Emily and her crew collected our tailor made garments and prescription glasses, then packed all our purchases and mailed them back to NZ. How good is that?