Thursday, May 31, 2007

Imperial Tea, Ritz Carlton, Nanjing Xi Lu, Shanghai

Imperial Tea, Ritz Carlton, Nanjing Xi Lu, Shanghai
Thursday 31 May, 2007
We had heard wonderful things about the Ritz Carlton in Shanghai - the most recent GM had increased the engagement of employees to over 97 % and customer service was second to none. Having experienced the standard of customer service in China we had to check this out for ourselves.
The Ritz Carlton is located away from The Bund down the far end of Nanjing Xi Lu. To walk there from The Bund would take a good 30 - 40 mins however today we had spent all morning shopping at the Puxi xiangyang markets located at no. 580 Nanjing Xi Lu. It was quite an experience as the entire 3rd floor of the building had been shut down by the police yesterday so only levels 1 & 2 were trading. Apparently the police had decided that it was not legal to sell handbags but watches, sunglasses, jewellery, clothes, scarves, DVDs etc were OK. Go figure.
After a few hours of bargaining we decided to partake in The Imperial Tea at the Ritz Carlton. It's an impressive set up with shops and cafes located around the exterior of the hotel. Inside it is beautifully decorated and High Tea takes place in the Lobby Lounge daily from 2.30 - 5.30pm for RMB188 per person.
We arrived without a reservation and were welcomed into the cosy lounge with a range of deep arm chairs and dining chairs. We opted to sink into the green velvet covered arm chairs. The staff are impeccably dressed in a range of silk dresses and suits. They are very polite and courteous however the language barrier was more noticeable than we thought it would be.
The Imperial Tea comprised:
A glass of Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial N.V. Champagne
A selection of English tea sandwiches
Freshly baked scones with cream and preserves
Assorted fine afternoon pastries
Premium English tea from Ronnefeldt
As I don't drink tea I ordered coffee and all they could offer was American coffee from the peculator - no flat white, cappuccino or espresso which we found very surprising. The service was discreet but there were many occasions where we had to flag down a waiter. That said, it was lovely to sit back and enjoy the string quartet playing in the background whilst we sipped on Moet and worked our way through the tiered tray of goodies. The English tea sandwiches were actually a range of bread rolls with pastrami & lettuce, mashed potato and smoked salmon & horseradish and the pastries were mini dessert with no pastry to be seen. we came to the conclusion that this was the Chinese interpretation of high tea.
There was far too much food and although we gave it good effort we did not come close to finishing everything on offer. I'm a fan of high tea but there was no wow factor here. I was expecting more.
Portman Ritz Carlton - 1376, Nanjing Xi Lu, Shanghai - T: (86 21) 6279 8888

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