Asia’s first Citadines has its share of fans
Issue: May 2010
Reinventing itself - once an office building, now a luxury serviced residence that puts a premium on personalised service and individual attention
Jeffrey Khoo stays at the Citadines Shanghai Jinqiao every time he goes to Shanghai for business. He is the Associate Director of Singapore-based company, nTan Corporate Advisory. Khoo spends about 100 days out of a year at the apart’hotel in Shanghai and he has been doing that for the past two to three years.
“The friendly management and staff make me feel as though this is my second home. Everyone remembers and greets me by name,” says Khoo.
In fact, they know him so well that everything is arranged the way he likes it during his many stays.
“Each time before Mr Khoo checks in, we would arrange for the type of room that he prefers. That’s why I only choose rooms on a certain floor and arrange a certain housekeeper to upkeep his room. He also likes a quiet environment so the rooms furthest from the elevators are best. He may come across as particular but as long as we understand the guest’s needs, meeting them is not difficult at all,” says Lena Lin, Resident Manager at Citadines Jinqiao.
It is precisely the attentiveness to detail and high service standards that another frequent guest calls Citadines Jinqiao his second home as well.
Zhang Lei, who owns his own machinery import and export company, stays in the Citadines Jinqiao for about ten days every month.
“There was once when I came back to the serviced apartment drunk, the security guard paid for my taxi fare and helped me up to the room. When I woke up the next day, the housekeeper brought me a bowl of congee. I was pleasantly surprised at their level of service and initiative,” recalls Zhang.
Truly making it home
Living in Citadines Jinqiao makes managing the household a breeze for Yukie Kato
But for long-stay resident Yukie Kato, who hails from Japan, Citadines Jinqiao is truly home to her in Shanghai.
She enjoys every minute of living in this serviced apartment. This is because managing her household has never been easier.
“All I need is one manager. I like the fact that I can call the Resident Manager if I have a problem with, say the lights or plumbing. She gets the relevant people to take care of it. I don’t need to stock up electrical accessories, sheets or towels either and I engage the housekeeping services on alternate days and laundry services whenever I need it. So, I find living here at Citadines hassle-free,” says Kato.
She has been living there with her husband and two teenage children for the past two years. Besides meeting the household needs of Kato, resident manager Lin, has also taken the initiative to look into the other needs of her family.
“Long-stay residents can enjoy the activities we organise such as the mid-autumn festival party. We also try our best to make our long-stay guests feel comfortable and at home. For example, we have a gym corner where residents are able to exercise after a hard day’s work. For Mrs Kato and her family, some special arrangements will be made at a gym nearby for them to enjoy the pool facilities.” explains Lin.
Being first in Asia
Jeffrey Khoo calls Citadines Jinqiao Shanghai his second home
Being the first Citadines in Asia means that the Citadines Jinqiao has to set the example for the others to follow. In this regard, this apart’hotel has done a remarkable job in setting a benchmark in service standards.
Frequent guest, Khoo, is often pleased with the serviced residence’s promptness and attentiveness in service.
“I’m impressed with the advance preparations done by the reception staff to ensure smooth and swift check-ins and check-outs for me especially when I arrive in Shanghai at odd hours, for example past midnight or very early in the morning,” comments Khoo.
Being in Asia also means having to keep the needs of Asian customers constantly in mind.
“We provide the bidet in bathroom for Japanese residents. For our breakfast, we also consider the tastes of Asian customers and when we are told that a Japanese tour group will be staying with us, we also try to tailor our breakfast menu to suit the tastes of our Japanese guests,” says Lin.
Around and about
Besides its remarkable service, the first Citadines in Asia is prominently located in the heart of Shanghai.
Citadines Shanghai Jinqiao’s prime location allows guests and residents to enjoy many nearby amenities and feel the heartbeat of the vibrant city
Citadines Jinqiao sits on a prime spot near the famous People's Square, the Shanghai Municipal Government Building, Huaihai Road shopping district and Shanghai Museum. Two metro stations and Shanghai's famous Nanjing Road shopping belt, where Raffles City shopping mall can be found, are also mere minutes’ walk away.
“The location here is great! It’s close to the shopping strip, historical and cultural activities and lots of eating places. My husband and teenage children use the metro to get to work and school so it really is very convenient,” exclaims Kato.
Literally a few minutes ride away by taxi is where you can find historical and cultural Shanghai. Tian Zi Fang is the famous art street located along Taikang Road.
As you meander down this traditional lane, with wet clothes hanging on bamboo poles above your head, you will wonder if you are really in cosmopolitan Shanghai.
“Many locals still live in the area and you will encounter many of them going about their daily lives,” says Resident Manager, Lin.
(Left) Tian Zi Fang is dotted with shikumen or stone gate, a symbol of Shanghai folk culture; (Center) Artists, designers, and local folk co-exist in this charming enclave; (Right) Many cafes and pubs have sprouted here over the years
The street is spotted with a mix of old and refurbished brick houses, still fronted by local style Shikumen (literally translated as stone gate). Shikumen is one symbol of Shanghai folk culture.
What is absolutely charming about this area is that as you wander down the narrow street you can see local residents wearing pyjamas chatting with neighbours and some Western person drinking the afternoon tea on the other side of lane!
(Left) Shops selling Mao Zedong memorabilia can be found; (Right) Art galleries have found new home in Tian Zi Fang
Over the past few years, artists and local fashion designers, pubs and cafes have also called Tian Zi Fang and Taikang Road home as many artists seek reprieve from the threat of demolition of artist's villages and communities by property developers in recent years.
So, wild away an afternoon strolling down the street of Tian Zi Fang, stop for a cuppa and soak in the sights, sound and culture of old and new Shanghai all in one place.
Going that extra mile
Staff at Citadines Jinqiao Shanghai go the extra mile in service
While entertainment may not be miles away from Citadines Jinqiao, the staff here does go that extra mile to make their guests feel comfortable and at home.
“Because frequent guests like Mr Jeffrey Khoo travels so often, he leaves his seasonal clothes behind with us so that he doesn’t have to lug his winter wear every time he comes,” says Lin.
This gesture of welcome is becoming one of the main reasons why guests like Khoo keeps coming back to Citadines Jinqiao.