Via wangjianshuo.com, I learned about Fays Rooms, a new short-term room rental network that has several apartments in centrally located JingAn and the popular Luwan (French Concession) districts of Shanghai (see interactive Shanghai map to get to know the geography). For travelers who are either staying longer in Shanghai, looking to save money on lodging, or wanting to live more like a Shanghai resident, a short-term room rental can be a nice option to consider. Because any friend of Jian Shuo’s is a friend of mine, I decided to give it a try!
Summary of Fays Rooms “Manhattan Heights” apartment
- Great location in the JingAn district of Shanghai, just 2.5 blocks away from Nanjing Xi Lu (Nanjing West Rd.), Plaza 66, CITIC Plaza, Portman Ritz Carlton. Just 3-4 blocks away from the Nanjing West Rd. Line 2 Shanghai Metro station, which connects you directly to People’s Square and Pudong. About 4-5 blocks away from JingAn temple, CitiPlaza (Jiu3 Guang1) shopping center, and the Jing’An Airport Bus to Pudong. After about seven trips to Shanghai, I think JingAn is probably the best place to stay especially if you are meeting entrepreneurs and expat/returnees, many of which seem to live near JingAn. And it is on Line 2 subway which is convenient to both Pudong and other places in Puxi.
- Near popular meeting places like Starbucks at CITIC Plaza, Wagas at CITIC Plaza, Element Fresh at the Portman Ritz Carlton. Within striking distance of Jing’An Temple Chamate and other food places. When meeting up with people, its good to have landmarks that are easy to describe and easy to find. Starbucks is always a safe bet!
- Price is very fair for what you get. I paid RMB 220 for one room in a 3BR apartment. Price seems to have risen to RMB 250 in 2008, still a very fair deal.
- Good local amenities nearby, including laundry service, convenience store, street-stalls for Chinese breakfast.
- Not as private as a hotel room. The MBR has a private bath but the other 2 BR share a bathroom. Also the doors and walls are similar to a residential apartment, so there is less privacy than a hotel room which has better sound insulation between hotel rooms that the rooms in a typical residential apartment. But I had no problem with noise when I stayed there. This is a risk of a short-term room rental situation.
- Nice opportunity to socialize with other travelers. Fay has a vision about her guests networking and helping each other out, during their stay and beyond.
- Wireless network was free and great.
- I stayed in January and the heating was not strong enough for my tastes. Fay and her manager Brian are considering getting space heaters to address this issue. During the spring and other seasons, it should not be a problem.
- Lower cost, about RMB220 – RMB250 per night, vs RMB 800 – RMB 3000 for a true 5-star hotel. Affordable for a longer-term stay.
- Living room. Great if you are sharing a room with a partner and have jet lag.
- Kitchen and dining room. Convenient for low-cost, American-style breakfast at home.
- Multiple bedrooms you can rent. For a family with kids, you might be able to rent the whole apartment.
- Feels more relaxed and residential.
- Free internet. Some high end hotels charge RMB150 or more just for the internet access!
Disadvantages of Short-term Room Rental vs a 4- or 5-star hotel
- Neighborhood. Many room shares are much less convenient than many of the best hotels. If you are staying for just a few nights and have a super-packed schedule, chances are you can find a much more convenient hotel near Nanjing Xi Lu or People’s Square. Manhattan Heights, however, is actually a very convenient location in a great neighborhood.
- Location of apartments can be less convenient that hotels. In general, I was told the best real estate is dominated by hotels and office complexes. Some of Fays Rooms are several long blocks further from the Metro stations than the Nanjing Xi Lu hotels. However, the Manhattan Heights apartment I stayed
- laundry service — need to walk down the street
- breakfast not included, unlike many hotels. No lobby suitable for business meetings
- no business center and limited technical support.
- no conference room
- may not have pool and exercise facilities like a top hotel
- a bit more confusing to find the first time. Fay gave me great directions and I still found it confusing, because of my limited Chinese fluency.
Fay has some accurate pictures of the apartment on her website. I thought I would take some photos of the surrounding area and the building I stayed in.
Here are the Xikang Rd (Xikang Lu) roadsign and Xinzha Rd (Xinzha Lu) roadsigns which is the intersection nearest to the apartment. Shanghai has very foreigner friendly street signs, almost always with the pinyin names of the streets. Because I forgot the Chinese name of the apartment complex, I would just tell the Shanghai taxi drivers in my elementary Chinese bring me to Xikang Lu and Xinzha Lu.
The building at the Northwest corner of Xinzha Lu and Xikang Lu was my visual landmark. You can see the highrise of the Manhattan Heights building where one of Fays Rooms is located. It is right behind on the right hand side of the picture below.
Below is a picture of Xikang Lu facing north after crossing the intersection of Xinzha Lu and Xikang Lu. This is just north of Nanjing Xi Lu. To the left you can see the distinctive wall of the Manhattan Heights complex where Fays Rooms is located. At night, the top of the wall pillars is lit up.
We are almost to Fays Rooms! Here is the sign in front of the complex.
Fays Rooms is in building number 5 directly across the courtyard as you enter the complex from Xikang Lu.
Here is the entrance.
I also considered a competitor called Salo Homes that also has numerous properties in the JingAn area of Shanghai as well. I will consider them for the next trip I take to Shanghai.
Fay emailed me after she saw this post and reminded me of her blog’s North of YanAn Neighborhood Guide. There is a nice map of the area around the Fays Rooms Manhattan Heights apartment that I’ve linked to below.