The Sukhothai Shanghai Is A Balm On The Senses In A High-Octane City
1/5 Location, location
The iconic Sukhothai opened in Bangkok 27 years ago. And now, it has made its first overseas foray into China’s most populated city, home to 24 million. The Shanghai outpost, a member of Small Luxury Hotels, is set to impress from the start. It is housed in the HKRI Taikoo Hui, the city’s hottest space of the moment and also home to premium offices and a lifestyle mall. The complex is a stone’s throw away from other prime areas like the French Concession, People’s Park and Xintiandi. A Starbucks Reserve Roastery, only the second in the world, also sits right next door. Shanghai interiors firm Neri&Hu Design & Research Office, responsible for the hotel's design, has successfully envisioned this sleek offering as an urban oasis. Here, all the details invite guests to seek refuge from the bustle of the world outside.
2/5 A sanctuary that speaks of modern living
Despite its name and heritage, one shouldn’t expect Buddha sculptures and Thai silk furnishings. Neri&Hu has reinterpreted the Sukhothai's lineage, giving it a more contemporary context. The reception and lobby areas are swathed in soothing tones of biscuit and dove, making the spaces blissfully sparse and unpretentious. Polished brass in light fixtures and furniture add texture to the minimalistic look. A carefully curated art collection of works by local and international artists (including French artist Christian de Laubadere and Korean artist Bahk Seon-ghi) can be found in the common areas and rooms. The most striking piece, though, sits in the lobby. This is an interactive art installation by Japanese digital art collective TeamLab, which depicts village life in rustic Japan in real time. Thus, the villagers in the piece move around, and the landscape changes with the seasons.
3/5 High-end, low-key room design
Inside the 201 rooms and suites are more obvious signs of the Sukhothai's home base. Colours often used in Thai-style interiors are the giveaways. Washed out celadon in a soft cashmere throw is draped across the bed. Plush bedroom slippers, in muted rose pink, standout in an otherwise cream and grey palette. The environmentally-minded, health conscious traveller will be pleased to know that the slate-grey walls are made of diatom-silica. This porous material purifies air, absorbs impurities and filters noise—all of which are highly appreciated attributes in a city like Shanghai. Polished walnut wood furnishings give a certain stateliness and depth to the suites. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the rooms—which are some of Shanghai’s biggest hotel offerings since they start at 473 sqft—offer panoramic views. Spacious showers and large, white baths are found in the wash areas, decked out with polished brass fittings that add lustre to the space.
(Related: A Peek Into The Bulgari Hotel Shanghai)
4/5 A well-appointed spa
Tucked away in The Sukhothai Shanghai's basement is a cavernous spa. A long, moodily lit corridor leads to the large treatment rooms and suites. The spa menu features a good number of treatments with an Asian slant, such as the Retreat Detox Massage that manages to incorporate Malay, Chinese and Indian techniques. Products are from French brand, Themae. You’ll want to plunge into the 25m heated indoor pool. Or, visit the fitness centre, breathe in the meditation room, and stretch out in the yoga and pilates studio.
5/5 Dining establishments that are equally big on design
There are five dining establishments, including two bars, in the hotel. Theodor Falser from the Michelin-starred restaurant Johannestube in Italy is the guest chef at La Scala. Walk in, and you'll feel as though you've entered a garden in an Italian renaissance home—hand-glazed ceramic tiles, teakwood parquet flooring and hanging lights framed by gridded wood columns adorn this interior. The all-day dining restaurant Urban Café, on the other hand, serves Southeast Asian cuisine. The interiors here bring to mind a tropical garden, thanks to leaf-patterned tiles and terrazzo walls. Make time for a stop at the adjoining Urban Lounge, stocked with over 120 gins. The signature feature here is the gin trolley where you’ll find eight seasonal home-made herbal infusions you can choose for your G&T. Pick your poison.
(Related: Hotel Review: Tatler Checks Into…Amanyangyun, Shanghai)