Although I could not afford to stay at the famed design boutique hotel, I decided to at least pay The Waterhouse at South Bund a visit when I went to Shanghai. I only had access to a limited area as an outsider, but it was enough for me to have a taste of the beautiful architecture. I’m definitely not saying my minimalist Airbnb was bad – I loved it and it was great for its price – but if I could actually stay in an architecturally renowned building… wow.
As its name suggests, the hotel is located at the South Bund district of Shanghai. The Waterhouse at South Bund unveiled itself in 2010 and was featured in the Design Hotels Book 2015. You might’ve even heard of it for its famous modern European restaurant, Table No. 1, headed by British chef Jason Atherton. If you decide to visit or stay in the hotel while in Shanghai, I highly recommend you to try Table No. 1’s brunch. It’s consistently rated as one of the best in the city.
From the outside, The Waterhouse at South Bund looks like an unsuspecting worn-down factory block. But step in and you’ll discover a different story. Before its restoration, the hotel was a dockyard building and warehouse dating back to the 1930s. Much like the Long Museum West Bund, The Waterhouse at South Bund’s new architectural concept involved combining the old with the new. Shanghai-based architecture firm Neri & Hu Design and Research Office transformed the former construction into a four-storey hotel alongside a double-height, converted warehouse event hall.
The design concept of The Waterhouse at South Bund is based on blurring public and private by inverting the internal and external spaces. The architect uses windows and negative spaces of the hotel building to allow guests from inside to look out, and viewers from outside to look in. The resulting structures create an interesting, irregular facade that is not commonly seen around the city.
Inside, The Waterhouse at South Bund houses one of the largest collections of design furniture of any hotel in China. Expect to find works from reputable names such as Arne Jacobsen, Finn Juhl, Hans Wegner and more. All of the pieces are carefully selected by the owners and designers of The Waterhouse at South Bund itself. I felt like a queen sitting myself down on chairs and couches I could probably never afford!
Further in, the Lobby Lounge is a café-cum-bar that serves light meals, coffee and cocktails. After a drink, guests are welcome to head deeper inside to find a comfortable seating area warmed by a fireplace where they can help themselves to a large range of leisure books and magazines.
An area I didn’t visit at The Waterhouse at South Bund was the rooftop terrace, conveniently named The Roof. It features a bar overlooking the Huangpu river, but I never got to see the view for myself as it was unfortunately closed when I visited.
The Waterhouse at South Bund is rather inconvenient to get to if you’re taking public transport but don’t want to pay for a taxi ride like me (ha ha). The closest station is Xiaonanmen Subway Station, and from there, it is at least a 20-minute walk to the hotel. Alternatively, you can choose to hail a cab, which would bring you to the destination in less than five minutes.
The Waterhouse at South Bund
1-3 Maojiayan Road, South Zhongshan Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai
+021 6080 2988
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