Shanghai Marriott Hotel Changfeng Park along Suzhou Creek and the 364,000-square-meter greenbelt of the same name, has a rare and refreshing natural environment amid the busy city.
"The area is like a resort. The water and greenery provides a calming feeling," says Rauf Malik, the hotel's general manager.
He notes the location in the less well-known, yet rapidly developing, Putuo district is similar to the Pudong area years ago.
Near the Gubei area and the Hongqiao Central Business District, the hotel is a 15-minute drive from Hongqiao International Airport and 50 minutes from Pudong International Airport.
With 280 guest rooms overlooking Changfeng Park and Suzhou Creek, the 501-room hotel makes the best of the oasis to provide guests with unique experiences.
Corporate guests can have their team building events in the outdoor green space. For weddings, the hotel can set up a chapel right on the greenery.
For leisure guests and families, a walk in the park or along the creek is indeed a bonus after a sumptuous Sunday brunch. Nearby tourist attractions includes the soon-to-open Jackie Chan museum and an aquarium in the park.
Last year, the hotel won second place for guest satisfaction in the Asia Pacific Marriott Group.
The hotel chain has also named it "the excellent Marriott of the future", which means it represents the new benchmark for Marriott hotels.
The hotel has seven restaurants and bars offering a wide range of cuisines, including Cantonese, a premium steakhouse and popular Japanese cuisine.
"We can't just give the customers the food and beverage experience that is better than our neighbor - we need to really give them something better than where the food originally comes from," Malik says.
He explains that Chinese people are traveling everywhere. When they come back from a different destination after tasting the food, they will be able to judge whether the food offered by the hotel is as good as the authentic fare.
After working with Marriott for nearly 22 years in various cities, Malik believes that an international hotelier needs arrive with an open mind about local culture.
"Once you welcome the local culture and build on that, you create a very comfortable feeling between your owner, your associates and your customers," he says.
He added that the hotel's associate satisfaction rate is 98 percent.
Malik is fully confident about the business outlook for the hotel and the overall domestic hospitality industry.
"We don't have enough hotels," he says. "Look at the city after the Expo - we didn't go down. We might have the room rates down. But it's a normal trend when you have a big event in the city, the room rate goes up."
"Chinese are our No 1 client base. More and more Chinese people come to big cities to do business. We are setting up hospitality infrastructure to meet the requirement for the next five to 10 years for the Chinese travelers," he says.
"For this hotel, the business last year and this year is very good and we expect to have a very healthy growth in the coming five years."
Rauf Malik leads Shanghai Marriott Hotel Changfeng Park to be a new benchmark for Marriott hotels. Provided to China Daily