[Shanghai] Tops @ Banyan Tree Hotel

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Tops | Banyan Tree ShanghaiDianping
Address: 海平路19号外滩悦榕庄顶楼露台(近公平路) – Banyan Tree Shanghai, 19 Haiping Lu near Gongpin Lu (虹口区 Hongkou District)
Date visited: 2015.06 for afternoon tea
Price: RMB495 per set (service charge included)
Will return: Never

Banyan Tree Shanghai serves up the most offensive afternoon tea experience to date. I already have lower-than-normal standards for afternoon tea in Shanghai and Banyan Tree took it all the way down to the bottom. I can’t decide what was worse, the food or service. Both were truly awful. No, thank you ever again.

Tops at Banyan Tree offers one of the most beautiful views of the Bund in Shanghai. Its outdoor terrace has a bar, high tables tables, and cabana style sofas with tables. The view stretches across the Bund and down Huangpu River. It is such a shame that I don’t have anything good to say about the actual experience besides being able to snap some photos on a nice day.

Tops at Banyan Tree Shanghai

Afternoon tea (RMB495 per set with choice of 1 standard drink)
Recommend: no

Tops at Banyan Tree Shanghai

Let’s go through the list of offenses. These are just the ones I can put into words:
– Ordered Earl Grey and got green tea. When we asked the server to change our pot, he said he can change our cups as if that would change the tea from green to Earl Grey. We made him take the pot back.
– When we got a new pot of tea and cups, one of the cups still had remnant coffee or tea stain from not having been properly cleaned. I asked for another cup and informed management (who was horrified and did her best to help); when she went to ask the server to see the cup, he was wiping it down and handed it to her. Of course, the cup was “clean” when she saw it.
– Servers were passive and did not come around to check on our area. We would go 20 minutes at a time without anyone coming even close enough to get their attention and I had to go to the bar to get someone. Towards the end of our visit, they finally smartened up and had a server stationed to pace our area.
– When servers brought us more items, they did not bother to take away bottles or plates that were finished.
– Asked for regular water, didn’t come.
– Asked for regular water again, came halfway through afternoon tea.
– Asked for sparkling water, didn’t come.
– Asked for sparkling water again, came towards the end of afternoon tea (and you would think they would bring this sooner because it is paid water).
– Asked if any juices on the menu was freshly squeezed — nope.
– Scones came with whipped cream, not proper clotted cream.
– Savory tier of food included some salmon rolls and tuna rice rolls that tasted not fresh like they had been sitting there for a long time.
– I am not even going to keep going about how low quality the food was, which mostly tasted like tacky Chinese hotel catering.

Tops at Banyan Tree Shanghai

A glass of champagne was given in consolation when I complained but quality this low at a hotel of this caliber (and this price!) is completely unacceptable. If you have good service, I can forgive the food. If you have good food, I can forgive the service. But if you have neither good service nor food, then we have a big problem. No amount of champagne can soothe the terrible food and service that is Tops.

Service and food need to be completely overhauled for me to consider coming back. For the time being, I absolutely do not recommend afternoon tea at Tops at Banyan Tree Shanghai.

Tops at Banyan Tree Shanghai