Tag Archives: bullet train

Part #10: Radisson Blu Shanghai – A Review

Part #1: Off to China
Part #2: The Joys of Hilton Gold
Part #3: Getting a Chinese Visa
Part #4: Exploring the Hutongs
Part #5: A Walk in the Park
Part #6: Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City
Part #7: The Great Wall is Truly Great
Part #8: Beijing’s Art District
Part #9: Bulletting Toward Shanghai

The best thing about our Radisson Blu hotel in Shanghai was the price and the location. The hotel itself was just okay. The decor was a bit outdated; the room was on the small side; and I didn’t get much for my gold status.

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If you look closely you can see the Oriental Pearl TV Tower all the way on the Pudong.

That said, the price was hard to beat. Since I have the Club Carlson credit card, I get the last night free whenever I book a night with points. To maximize this bonus, I booked the first two nights as one reservation on points – getting the second night for free. I booked the third night using cash. And I booked the last two nights with points, getting the fifth night for free. In the end, I used 100,000 Club Carlson points and about $200 for five nights at a decent hotel. Not too shabby.

Radisson Blu Map

The next best thing about the hotel was the location. Shanghai is huge, with many distinct neighborhoods. The Radisson Blu is located across the street from the People’s Square and the intersection of three subway lines. It is also a pleasant 15 minute walk to Shanghai’s famous Bund. Finally, it is located on Nanjing Road, which is the equivalent of New York’s Broadway or Fifth Avenue. Teeming with stores and people, Nanjing Road stretches from east to west from the Bund all the way across Shanghai. It also contains a pedestrian-only stretch which fills with people day and night.

We spent some time walking around Nanjing Road at night, reveling in the throngs of people and the conflagration of lights. Think of what Times Square would look like if cars were prohibited – that was Nanjing Road at night. Except Times Square doesn’t feature spontaneous Chinese dancing.

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Part #9: Bulletting Toward Shanghai

Part #1: Off to China
Part #2: The Joys of Hilton Gold
Part #3: Getting a Chinese Visa
Part #4: Exploring the Hutongs
Part #5: A Walk in the Park
Part #6: Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City
Part #7: The Great Wall is Truly Great
Part #8: Beijing’s Art District

I confess: I was pretty excited to experience China’s bullet train to Shanghai. Sure, we have Acela in the U.S. but it’s a poor excuse for high-speed rail. At its fastest, Acela travels 150 mph, but on the DC to New York City route, it averages a measly 81.7 mph. I’m generally a rah-rah America is the best kind of girl, but when it comes to high-speed rail, Asia and Europe have us beat. The G category train is the fastest on the Beijing – Shanghai route with a maximum speed of 186 mph and an average speed of 173 mph. Suck on that America!

The G trains offer second, first and business class, with business class being the most luxurious and expensive. We decided to splurge on first class seats (approximately $140) which feel and look similar to Amtrak’s Acela business class seats.

Our Hilton concierge purchased the tickets for us a couple days in a advance, and we hopped a cab to Beijing’s South Railway Station Friday morning. The train station was extremely busy, but it was easy to find our way around. We had to go through security (you have to go through security everywhere in China), but it was quick, and we had plenty of time to spare.

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China’s famous bullet train!

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The seats were comfortable – I fell asleep pretty quickly upon sitting down, but given my preternatural ability to sleep pretty much anywhere, that may not be much of an indication. photo 3 (1)

And the view was pretty neat too!

photo 4Seat61 has all the details on the different train options, prices, and times. At just over five hours, my sister and I found the train trip very relaxing and enjoyable. I highly recommend it over flying any day.

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