Hey, if you're looking for something to do this weekend or maybe next or sometime before May 31, here's an idea: book a night at W Shanghai - The Bund and for an extra 10rmb, get breakfast in bed, free-flow food and drinks for dinner, and a spa treatment, for two people. Oh and they waive the 1,000rmb cleaning fee for pets which means you can bring your pet for FREE. (Pet does not get breakfast in bed or spa treatments.) You won't find this deal anywhere else in Shanghai — it's exclusive to us. Interested? Book it here.
Times are so hard in the hotel industry these days that some hotels are just saying, f*** it, I need a minute to collect myself. That's what's going on at The Westin Bund Center, the OG expat brunch stage, which shut down in April to any new guests (they are offering takeaway food but nothing more). Taking a breather. Having some "me" time. I confirmed this with their reservations hotline, who said the pause in business was only for April 2020, but trying to book a room for May on their official website brings up an error message as well. They may be back in June, according to the website, but even that might not be enough time — one source inside Marriott told me the closure might extend through the summer. Live by the business traveler, die by the business traveler. No fun being in the hotel business right now.
The Four Seasons Hotel in Pudong will close up its 187 rooms on May 15 — next month — and the company will also pull out of the Four Seasons Place Pudong, according to an internal announcement today that has been reported elsewhere. The note, which appears to come from Rainer Stampfer, President of Operations for Asia Pacific, says that although terms of the pull-out are confidential, it had nothing to do with the coronavirus. Hmmmmm. The building itself, owned by The Shanghai 21st Century Hotel Co Ltd, obviously remains; it just won't be a Four Seasons anymore come this summer. Four Seasons Pudong opened in 2012. The company will remain in Shanghai with its original location in Puxi, which they intend to put under an "extensive renovation program" beginning in June. Hard times for the hotel industry.
Rules on international travel are changing swiftly. In the last day, China has closed its border to almost all foreign nationals, foreign airlines are limited to one passenger plane into China per week, while domestic airlines are cut back to one passenger plane from each foreign country per week. Hotels are still mostly accepting foreigners, with restrictions, but there is some confusion. Details after the jump.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has published a statement announcing that foreign nationals holding visas and temporary residence permits, including holders of port visas and visas granted under the 24/72/144-hour visa-free transit policy, will no longer be allowed entry into the country. The suspension comes into force at midnight (00.00 on the 24 hour clock) on March 28. The announcement says it is a "temporary measure that China is compelled to take in light of the outbreak situation and the practices of other countries," though no end date is mentioned. Find the full statement after the jump.
As the COVID-19 outbreak develops, Shanghai's travel and quarantine policies develop. The Shanghai government has added eight more countries (UK, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark and Austria) to their list of hotspots, according to an announcement published today on their WeChat. That brings the total to 16, in addition to South Korea, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, Japan, Spain and the United States. Travelers to Shanghai who have been in any of these countries in the last 14 days will be asked to complete quarantine either at home or at designated quarantine facilities. This is not the voluntary self-quarantine, but a mandatory and enforceable quarantine. The announcement also mentions that Shanghai will amend the list of high-risk countries as the situation develops.
The coronavirus is now a global pandemic according to the WHO, and 14-day quarantines are becoming a way of life. Shanghai added four more countries to the mandatory quarantine list. This comes as state media reports two more imported cases of COVID-19 in Shanghai, from the United States and Italy. On Thursday, Shanghai addedFrance, Spain, Germany and the United States to the list of severely affected countries that already includes South Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran. Travelers returning to the city who have been to these eight countries in the last two weeks must undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine either at home or a hotel.
Like sleazy stock traders digging around for markers, we're keeping our eye out for indicators that things are going back to normal. At the top of our spreadsheet we have "Is Disneyland open yet?" written in big red marker. Disneyland is not yet open. But! Disney Town, the F&B and shopping bit next to it is. Dark, noxious plumes are again rising from the smokestacks of the Cheesecake Factory. Closer to downtown, Yu Garden food court hasn't reopened but the Nanxiang Mantou near it has. Further west, The Cannery, which stayed resolutely shut throughout, has reopened its doors, bringing life back to the Yuyuan Lu lawn, and larger flagship spots like Starbucks Roastery and the NIKE Flagship have been open for ages. Not back to normal, but the doomsday clock is ticking backwards.
If you are currently outside of China, take note: Shanghai has started mandatory 14-day quarantines for anyone coming back from South Korea, Italy, Iran or Japan. In one know case this also included a brief layover in the airport. This is not the "suggested" quarantine of your neighborhood committee but a full-on, official quarantine that you must do either at home or in a specially designated hotel. Click the jump for more.
Not that anyone was using it. The metro has seen passenger numbers drop by 88% since the Special Period started. Ghost trains. Anyway, the Shentong Metro Group has announced that, in order to facilitate disinfection and all that jazz, the final trains on metro lines 2/5/7/8 and 16 will depart their terminal stations at 9pm from Friday, February 22 until... whenever they decide to resume normal operating hours. That's leaving terminal station at 9pm, so if you're at Jing'an Station going to Lujiazui on Line 2, your last metro is at 9.27pm. Scroll to the bottom of the article for the exact times.
The Metro system is throwing us a bone: on Tuesday (December 31), the city will be running the extended schedule for certain lines, giving you a chance to catch a train home, if you're not out tooooooo late. According to the Metro's official page, Metro Lines 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 13 will be operating later than usual. How late? Click the jump for the schedule.
More hot gossip off the Disney production line! The latest addition to the the Shanghai Disney Resort, based on the smash-hit furtastic fantasy romp Zootopia, has begun construction. The eighth themed land in the park is the park's second expansion, after Toy Story was added last year. Hard facts are light, but they did send us a press release and some artist renditions. After the jump!
Big changes for those who ride China’s trains: starting last week, train stations in eastern China no longer accept paper tickets. Instead, every gate for every train in 48 cities (mostly in Zhejiang) now have a passport scanner at what’s called the “Manual Channel (人工通道)”, which links your ticket info with your passport number. This is not new for Chinese citizens, who have been able to scan their ID cards for at least a couple of years. But for those of us without a Chinese ID, it’s a major change. How does it work?
Shine reports that in January 2020, Shanghai's most beloved tourist meatgrinder, the Nanjing Dong Lu Pedestrian Street, will be extended eastwards. Stage one, commencing on January 2020, sees the pedestrian zone extend to Sichuan Zhong Lu, then to the Bund. Reportedly "top global designers" will be brought in to add "new landscape attractions," plus more of the usual: flagships operating at breath-taking losses, refurbished historical buildings and so, so much shopping. Shanghai New World will reopen at the end of 2019 after a nine-month renovation, where they've erected "China's first oceanarium in a shopping mall, the world's tallest indoor rock-climbing facility, [and] an upgraded skating rink." Most importantly, that hellish stretch of road between Henan Lu and the Bund will no longer be a death trap where people are forced off the pavement into traffic by the crush of humanity. Bundwards, we go!
Holy Moly! As if it wasn't big enough, Pudong International Airport is unveiling a sparkling new satellite terminal next week. At 620,000sqm, it's reportedly the world’s largest satellite terminal building, with 90 boarding gates and 83 jet bridges. The H-shaped facility is set to become fully operational on Monday September 16, after nearly four years in development. But will it do anything for flight delays?
Ride-sharing behemoth Didi is putting their prices up from today until February 10, if you haven't noticed already. Why? Chinese New Year. Shanghai will be a quieter place. Less taxi drivers too! Didi is expecting an average driver response rate drop of 20% during the period, so to encourage their drivers to leave their own celebrations to drive you back to the sofa after your heavy brunch, Didi is adding a surcharge (up to 9rmb) to each journey. The amount based on demand and goes directly to the drivers. If that's too rich for your blood, there are other options out there. We’ve tested them too, from Meituan to Shenzhou and Cao Cao. Happy (surcharge) holidays!
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