English-style Luxury at Cool Docks
By Matt Hodges
It is the gleaming aluminum, sawn-off section of an old airplane wing that steals the show in the seventh-floor karaoke room of Luxury Living, a three-floor club, banquet hall and rooftop terrace in Cool Docks that caters to high-end corporate events.
This piece of aviation memorabilia, which doubles as a chic lounge table, adds a Howard Hughes-esque billionaire-mogul inflection to the vintage aesthetic of both the room and property. This being Shanghai, the winding wall sofa had to be champagne-colored.
“The wing table is my boss’s favorite,” says Izam Cao, director of sales and marketing.
Despite billing itself as an English-style club, Luxury Living, which opened in August 2013, is peppered with pieces of classic Americana. This gives it a more globally inclusive feel.
The décor is classy, cool and cozy, testament to owner Jacky Song’s background and particular set of skills. Song, an entrepreneur from Shandong, clearly picked up cues from his family’s furniture-making business before decamping for a spell to England.
One of his club’s handful of VIP rooms has a chandelier made of replica antlers, a brown leather sofa, an animal rug, a wall mosaic of Elvis dressed in livery, a gramophone, and a widescreen TV hanging above a widescreen fireplace.
Luxury Living offers two floors of stylish fun and entertainment as well as a modish-looking rooftop with sweeping views of the Cool Docks courtyard – various international restaurants and a central fountain – and Huangpu River.
Framed behind the river lie the Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai World Financial Center and recently completed Shanghai Tower, which at 632m is China’s tallest building.
Rolls-Royce, Porsche and Ten Cent have all rented the sixth and seventh floors for their corporate events and product unveilings.
“A lot of automobile companies like our venue,” says Cao. “Our key selling points are the décor, location and river view.”
Few will fail to be impressed by the fancy trimmings and lavish faux-antique furniture at this discreet location just south of the Bund’s main drag.
One room has dark lighting, a brown leather punch bag (and matching gloves) and its own extensive mini-bar for something of a speakeasy vibe.
Overall, the wooden walls and roofing chime well with the iron floors, tungsten bulbs and bits of exposed piping for an industrial chic, homely hybrid.
The sixth floor can serve as a restaurant, nightclub or exhibition/presentation space.
Robbin Li, a former executive chef at the Shangri-La and Marriott, is on hand to whip up whatever menu the client desires.
The ballroom/banquet hall also offers spacious seating and a large pull-down projector screen, making it ideal for weddings, wine-tasting events and end-of-year parties.
“It’s very big, so we can adapt it to all kinds of events,” says Cao.
After the main event, guests can scramble upstairs to have (bilingual) resident bartender Joseph O’Rourke conjure up their favorite cocktails as they relax in its 200-square-meter lounge and three VIP rooms.
It costs 50,000 yuan ($8,000) to rent one of the floors for the day or 30,000 yuan for a half-day (four-hour) slot. A package rate can be negotiated for all three floors.
Luxury Lounge rarely opens to the public, although this may change down the road. They made an exception last Halloween and ended up having to turn people away such was demand.
There are more Union Jacks than appeared in Skyfall, the most recent James Bond movie, as well as a bovine motif that may be intended to evoke the English countryside.
In terms of amenities, there are DJ decks and beverage bars on both main floors, a pool table on the seventh floor presided over by an impressionistic rendition of the Mona Lisa, a foosball table, darts, and plastic shrubbery on the stairs leading to the roof.
The rooftop looks like a cross between a faux English lawn and a cubist furniture maker’s dream, courtesy of its greensward floor and Spanish VONDOM tables and chairs.
Either way, the unobstructed views of the river and the financial center of Lujiazui are breathtaking. The white marble ledge serves as the perfect drinks counter, much like at Bar Rouge.
“We expect the property will be opened to the public on a members-only basis as it keeps growing in popularity,” says O’Rourke.
To make a reservation contact Izam Cao on 138-0195-4902, or for more information check the official website at www.luxurylivingclub.com.