Why I love Hangzhou more?.
I had a great time in Hangzhou! First of all because I was meeting my Dutch friend Ron there, who was also happy to see me. I must say, after 4 nights on my own in Shanghai, I felt a bit lonely. Extra respect for Ron, who was already 18 days in China, visiting different cities to start up shops for children clothes. Sometimes with Dutch colleagues, but most of the time driving around with his Chinese driver Sven, meeting new Chinese shop owners during the day and their staff but staying the nights in hotel rooms on his own.
The trip from Shanghai is not even 1 and a half hour because of the convenient high speed “Maglev” train. I took the metro again, this time line 2 from People’s Square. After half an hour I already reached Hongqiao Railway station. My metro ticket was only 5 CNY which is not even 1 euro. This station has cost the state 15 billion CNY (2,5 billion euros). The guy at the reception of the Majesty Plaza had told me I should not arrive too close to the time the high speed train was leaving, because 3 minutes before the train leaves you can not enter the stairs anymore. I was way too early and so were a few thousands Chinese people. What a big station! The train station waiting hall area is more than 10,000 square meters and is capable of handling 10,000 passengers at the same time!
I took a taxi to my hotel. Ron and his colleagues are staying at the Marriot “Courtyard” Hotel. This is the little bit cheaper version of The Marriot Hotel next door, where the KLM-crew is staying.
The KLM-crew has a bath, we at the Courtyard Hotel had a shower. But a fantastic shower with a glass wall. Very sexy!
My first night Ron and I went for a drink, followed by a walk through the city and dinner at an Italian restaurant.
The next day chauffeur Sven took Ron and me and 3 colleagues Brenda, Chantal and Ingrid to the studio where all the children clothes are made. They check the samples and discuss with Mariëlle – who has lived already 5 years in Hangzhou – about what from the collection has to be corrected before going into production.
In the afternoon we went to the Hangzhou Fabric Market and after that to the Accessories Market. Here I found exactly what I needed for my new project.
There was still some time left for shopping at the beautiful shopping area, with shops like Hermes, Louis Vuitton and a big Apple store. First Ron showed me the Hangzhou NoNo & Co, the shop which he is organizing in different cities in China, interior, styling but also teaching the staff how to style the collection. After that the Chinese “HEMA” called Muji.
If you ever go to Hangzhou, visit the following two shops: “25 Boutique” and the by Bauhaus inspired shop “Fnji“. Both shops we did not buy anything, because it was too expensive. At FNJI a beautiful tea cup already costed around 90 euros and at “25” we saw a beautiful agenda for more then 100 euros. But both shops were great styled and very inspiring.
That evening we went to a great restaurant called “Yee Chino” with it’s very excentric interior. We sat in a private space, a “room” devided by curtains. Marielle chose all kind of nice bites to share. We had a blast!
And why I like Hangzhou more than Shanghai? Hangzhou has a population of 8,7 million people where Shanghai has 24 million. So it is less crowded and less touristic. No proppers and pimps on the streets for massage with a happy end. The streets at Hangzhou are wider with a lot of big trees, they say inspired by the city Paris. Hangzhou has stylish shops and trendy restaurants. And the Hangzhou people are more relaxed and super friendly. Also like Shanghai, they speak bad or no English, which is difficult to communicate. But at least at Hangzhou they greet you with a big smile, which I did not see very often in Shanghai.
So my next trip to China for me will be directly to Hangzhou with the KLM-flight!