The Ahn Luh Zhujiajiao is a luxury hotel close to Shanghai in the historic water town of Zhujiajiao. In this extensive review, we’ll explain what you can expect of this special property and why we think that it is a bit overpriced!
Shanghai has plenty of amazing luxury hotels, but if you are looking for a treat further away from the city center, the options get a bit more limited.
One of the touristic places people are going to if they want to escape from Shanghai and see something historic (in a way as the city feels quite fake) is Zhujiajiao. It’s one of the famous water towns with tiny streets, little bridges and lots of stores for tourists.
However, it’s also home to one of the most expensive luxury hotels in the area. Ahn Luh is a brand that was founded by the founder of the famous Aman Hotels, so my expectations were high – but not fully met as I’ll show you in this review!
For my stay at the Ahn Luh Zhujijiao, I was assigned a Courtyard Pavilion (an upgrade due to my Leaders Club Status), which is the second lowest room category. Generally, all rooms at this property are villas, which is the reason why the prices are starting at about 500 US-Dollar in off season.
The villas as such are absolutely gorgeous and come with little historic gardens, in this case even on both sides of the actual building. The interior is a mix of modern design and traditional elements and blends very well together, in my opinion.
If you are staying in a Courtyard Pavilion, there are actually three different parts of the room. To the left is the bedroom, which consists of a very comfortable bed with two night stands.
There’s also a chair with a small table next to the bed. Due to the design of the villa with the garden on both sides, the bedroom also feels very bright.
In the middle of the villa, you can find a very nicely designed living area, which has a sofa, an armchair and a medium-sized table. This is also the only area in the room, where you can really eat.
Furthermore, there’s a desk with a stool, not exactly the most comfortable setting for working, but with nice views of the garden.
The minibar is located in this area of the villa as well and comes with chargeable drinks and snacks, the Nespresso coffee maker is complimentary though.
From the living room, you can access the two terraces, one of the two also comes with some seating.
Furthermore, the villa comes with a beautiful bathroom, which is also very bright.
There are two sinks with lots of space next to them, all in a very modern design.
Then in the middle of the bathroom, there’a free-standing bathtub, which comes with bath salt and more amenities.
Located in a separate room, there’s a Japanese toilet, which offers plenty of privacy.
The absolute highlight, at least in my opinion, is the large shower with two shower heads and daylight, though.
Upon arrival, we were offered cold towels and some local cookies, while in the villa there were some fruits waiting for us.
Yet, more goodies were to come in the form of a special tea and soup. Due to the language barrier, nobody could really explain to us what it was, but it at least tasted interesting.
I’d consider the villas to be really beautiful with a very fitting design and a good mix of traditional design and modern elements. It sure is even more stylish than at properties like the Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort or the Conrad Koh Samui.
My breakfast experience at the Ahn Luh Zhujiajiao was fair enough, but I had hoped for a little more. The property offers a medium-sized buffet with several cold options, mainly salads and local options.
There are also yummy fresh juices and cut fruits at the buffet.
The hot selection consists of congee and different kinds of dim-sum.
As you can see on the pictures, there are no English signs for the dishes and the language barrier really was an issue, but not only that, the options available were also really targeting the local market and not at all international tourists. The noodle soups, which are made to order, are amazing though.
You can also order some custom-made omelets, which were fine.
Honestly, I would have expected much more of the property when it comes to breakfast. At this price point, the choice needs to be bigger and higher quality. The Waldorf Astoria Beijing or Four Seasons Shanghai offer a much better breakfast for example, while costing a third.
In the evening, we had the option of either eating outside or ordering room service as it wasn’t communicated to other whether the restaurant of the hotel was open or not. We ended up ordering some snacks from the room service menu in the end (which was really complicated in English).
The quality of the dishes was really high even though the food wasn’t perfectly hot when delivered about half an hour after ordering.
It’s worth noting though that the price are on the high side as well, but you at least get a good value for the money. Once again, the menu is incredibly focused on the local market, though.
During my whole stay, I didn’t totally get the concept of the property. One good example is the non-existing gym. I’ve stayed at dozens hotels in China and all had amazing sports facilities (including hotels like the Hilton Beijing or the Pudong Shangri-La Shanghai). Meanwhile, the Ahn Luh Zhujiajiao doesn’t offer a gym at all, but only a room for performing Tai Chi.
I get that the hotel caters to locals, who are looking for relaxation, but I’d still expect at least a little gym at this price point. However, there is at least a small indoor pool, which comes with some loungers next to it. Oddly though, it was hardly lit even when an employee brought me there.
It might sound odd, but I had to look for the light switches myself to make it a bit brighter – incredible at this price point, right?
What’s really nice though is the outdoor pool, which must be a really nice spot to hang out in summer.
It comes with various loungers, so you can also sun bath here.
Furthermore, I really liked the library located above the lobby, where you sit in quiet and read some books.
Near reception, you can also try your calligraphy skills!
It’s not like I was getting bored or anything, but for a holiday hotel close to a major metropolis, I would have somewhat hoped for more sports facilities, particularly a gym.
I’m a bit torn by the Ahn Luh Zhujiajiao. The villas are amazing, the location is good and the room service food I had was fine as well. Yet, some other aspects were a bit disappointing, from the lack of a gym to the mediocre breakfast to the huge language barrier. I get that this resort focuses on local guests, but I’ve not been to any other hotel in all China, where I had comparable communication problems. All in all, I sadly can’t recommend staying here as a foreigner – the value for the money, at least from my perspective, just isn’t good.