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Spending Two Nights in One of the World's Tallest Hotels
Many folks are familiar with the dazzling, futuristic-seeming Shanghai skyline in its Pudong area -- though to be clear, the city has VASTLY more to offer than that! -- but I don't know if many people realize that three of the tallest buildings in the *world* are clustered together there. The "shorty" of the bunch -- at 420 meters (1,380 feet) -- is the Jin Mao Tower, and when it was completed in 1999, it contained what was then the highest hotel in the world: the Grand Hyatt Shanghai. That's where I spent two nights, in a room on the 65th floor and where this photo was taken. (It's since been eclipsed by several other, newer buildings -- including the adjacent Shanghai World Financial Center, which houses a Park Hyatt on its 79th through 93rd floors -- but it's easily the most cost-effective of the bunch.)
This one photo doesn't really do the panorama justice, but I used it here because I wanted to show its direct view of Shanghai Tower, now the second-tallest building in the world behind Dubai's Burj Khalifa. (By "tallest" in this context I mean usable floors, not ornamental spires.) The building, which rises to 632 meters (2,071 feet), was completed over a year ago, and a local "mystery" of sorts is why it remains almost entirely empty. While China's economy isn't flying quite as high as it was a few years ago, the building is nonetheless in the middle of China's version of Wall Street, so one would think it'd be a suitable "trophy property" for any of the dozens of financial services firms in the area. In any event, what you can't see is that -- from my 65th-floor vantage point -- I was "only" perched at a point about one-third of the tower's full height!
Finally, my room was -- amazingly enough -- on the "wrong" side of the building. Ones on the other side have a full panorama of the Bund, the Pearl Tower, and all of Shanghai's famous neon lights. Still, it was one of my most memorable hotel stays ever, and that's coming from someone who used to review hotels for a living and has visited 60+ countries on all seven continents.