Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Summer of Travel 2012: China (Part 2 - Westin Bund Center Shanghai)

(Don't forget to check out Part 1, United BusinessFirst JFK-SFO-PVG here)

Upon arriving at the Westin Bund Center in Shanghai, I was pleased to discover that I'd been upgraded to a suite. I made my way up to my room and was pleasantly surprised by the amenities it had to offer.

Living room area, view from entryway
Living room area, view from bedroom
Bedroom area and bathroom

The decor was nice, but not quite as modern as some of the other hotels I've stayed at in Shanghai. There were two pleasant surprises though: First, there was an abundance of power outlets. One of my big pet peeves when staying in a hotel is finding that there aren't enough power outlets, or that they're poorly-placed (I'm talking to you, Hotel Eden in Rome). The Westin Bund Center passed this test with flying colors. Second, there was also an abundance of free, pre-stocked bottles of water. While it's usually easy enough to get a few more by heading to the lounge or the gym, the convenience of having SIX free bottles of water in my room was greatly appreciated!

I felt like The Count from Sesame Street with my abundance of water

Despite being on a high floor, and the fact that the hotel has "Bund Center" in its name, I didn't actually have a great view out my window. If I looked all the way to the side though, I was able to get a peak of the Oriental Pearl Tower.

Shanghai equivalent of a "partial ocean view"?

After getting cleaned up, my colleague and I headed out to grab a bite to eat. He suggested a restaurant called Piro, as the owner was a friend of a friend. We took a taxi over from the Westin (I love how cheap taxis are in China), and were seated promptly.

The vibe at Piro is very ex-pat friendly - it's an American restaurant, known for its burgers, with flat screen TVs showing sports, and Penn State paraphernalia all over the walls. Not exactly the most "authentic" cuisine we could've gone for, but I'm always up for a good meal, no matter what the cuisine! This was also a short trip to Shanghai, and since I'd been a couple times before, I wasn't quite as obsessed about making sure to taste the local cuisine.

As I was scanning the menu, one item in particular jumped out at me.

Care to guess which one?

Yeah... if you've got something on your menu called "The Fat Bitch", I'm probably going to order it. Especially if it comes with chicken, beef, bacon, two kinds of cheese, and fries. We decided to split it, since we both also wanted to try one of Piro's famous burgers. It was absolutely delicious. There's no pretending this was fine dining - but it was gooey, meaty, comforting, and oh-so-satisfying. The perfect late night meal after a night of drinking (or so I would imagine).

Piro's Fat Bitch - she's a beauty

For our burger course, we decided to split a Bacon Avocado burger (they're very creative with the names). It was also quite good - I really enjoyed the chunky slices of avocado and tomato, and the bacon was perfectly crispy... but it wasn't on the same level as The Fat Bitch.

Bacon Avocado Burger

Sadly, the owner told us that he was leaning toward taking The Fat Bitch off the menu because it just takes too much time and effort to assemble. We tried to convince him to keep it on some sort of secret menu though, so if you don't see it on the menu when you visit, it's definitely worth trying to ask for one anyway!

If you're planning to Shanghai, I would certainly recommend the Westin Bund Center - though based on past experience, I would actually favor the Le Royal Meridien Shanghai. I found it to be more modern, with nice decor, and just a more elegant feel. The two hotels are quite close to each other, so location doesn't really offer much of an advantage to one or the other.

As I mentioned earlier, this was a fairly short trip, and I was working for most of it. Fortunately, I had a bit more free time once I made it to Beijing, which is how I'd hoped it would play out as I'd never been to Beijing before.

Check out more on my trip from Shanghai to Beijing here

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1 comment:

  1. Westin is one of the world's most famous luxury hotel brands.There are only 16 Westin hotels in china, and these 16 hotels are all luxury and are the first chioce of Chinese consumers when they want to enjoy first class service. They all pay attention to add chinese elements in their operation.
    Hope you can read it and we may exchange ideas.