September 2009

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TripAdvisor traveler rating: 5 of 5 stars

I recently stayed for four nights in one of Quintet’s five rooms. My whole stay in Shanghai was fantastic and Quintet was a big reason why. The information pack provided at check-in was detailed and…


Yesterday, a friend who’s visiting Shanghai showed up at the B&B and told me that her cell phone has just been stolen at the Shanghai Train Station. This is one of the several theft incidences that have happened to people I know in the last month in Shanghai — including myself.

I got my wallet stolen on our very own ChangLe Rd two weekends ago while talking on the phone. Only the week before that, a guy tried to open my backpack but I found out before he was able to take anything. Sadly, this ill attempt didn’t make me more cautious so I ended up paying the price. The shocking thing is that I’ve been living in the neighborhood for almost 4 years and I can say it’s been one of the safest neighborhoods in Shanghai.

Another guest of the B&B told me that she had “lost” her camera at the subway station on the last day of their stay. I gently told her that she probably didn’t lose the camera - it was probably stolen. Photos of her entire trip were on the camera so needless to say, it was a big loss for her.

We’re not sure if the theft figures have gone up for Shanghai in recent weeks, but would like to warn everyone coming here to really be careful with their bags etc when they’re out and about. It’s wise to not put valuables in front pockets of your backpack or leave bags unbuttons or unzipped. keep bags in front of your body at all times. If you feel that someone is walking too close to you, beware. A lot of times they also travel in a group, and can be mom/babe, teenager, etc.

Petty theft is a problem that plagues most big cities around the world, and I guess Shanghai is not an exception. My bet is that things will get under control for the Expo next year ;-p

Our B&B is turning 1 on September 6!  In the last week or so, I have been reflecting on how the first year went and thought I should write about it to remember-

Good friends from all over the world

Last year at this time, we had just put up our website and listed Quintet on several websites, but weren’t sure who was going to find out about our place.  Luckily, we soon got our first guest Patrick, a Shanghai expat who booked our entire house to celebrate his 40th birthday.  As guests began to roll in, we got busy tuning the rooms, service, etc. and there hasn’t been a boring day since!

We have received 300 groups of guests over the year.  Pouring over our booking records, I can still remember a lot of the faces and conversations.  We have about a third of the guests coming from Europe, a third from the US and Canada, and the remaining third from Australia and New Zealand.  We also have occasional guests from Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Japan.  Our guests for the most part are very cool and laid back.  They understand the B&B environment and really appreciate the casualness and coziness that they don’t get at big, fancy hotels.  Many are working in the design or fashion industries (yes, we get quite a few attractive gay men coming through, sigh).  There also many couples on their romantic getaway (or rendezvous) for whom we arranged for in-room massages, bubble baths… But what we enjoyed the most were the chats with guests.  Always curious about what they experienced in Shanghai/China, what do they do back home — we treasure the “yuan” of meeting everyone in our little house.

Learn to deal with challenges

The year was also spent in fixing things.  Given the house is 70 years old and has its limitations, we knew from the beginning that it needed a lot of maintanence.  We also put in a lot of equipment for the first time and weren’t sure how well they’d work.  So in the last year, we have had pretty much everything breaking at least once.. AC, Satellite TV, phone PBX, water leaks, plugged toilets, cracked walls… I’m the inquisitive type who likes to get to the root causes, and I really learned a lot (I feel like I’m ready to build a house from scratch)  Ultimately, I also learned to accept imperfections- this is not an excuse or cop out and I hope our guests will understand!

Future plans

In the coming year, we’re looking to beef up on staffing so we can provide longer office hours and more services (tours and activities referrals and organization).  We are also looking into a second location so you might see a Quintet II sometime down the road~