"Assisted living" - Living in a Serviced Apartment in Shanghai
The Author behind Smile4Travel

I am Stefanie, my passion is my passport and travelling makes me smile since I have started exploring the world on my own back in 2007. Since then I have visited almost 40 countries and counting. As a travel enthusiast with a big love for writing and photography, my mission is to share my experiences, individual travel tips and personal insights combined with eye-catching pictures on my Blog and Instagram (German & English). Born in Thuringia,(Germany), I have lived in Würzburg, Cape Town, Frankfurt and Nuremberg. Now Shanghai (China) has become my new travel hub since the beginning of 2018. Just click to find out more about my person, the blog and my references.

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For the first four weeks we are living in a Serviced Apartment. Means: We stay at a slightly bigger hotelroom, which additionally contains a washing machine and a small kitchenette, so we are able to do our laundry, make ourselves some coffee and tea or (in theory) even cook something to eat.

Serviced Apartment

„In theory“ because:
1. there are endless opportunities to get a quick bite to eat, for a considerably fair amount of money in Shanghai &
2. the kitchenette does feature some crockery-equipment, but doesn´t offer a proper place to sit and eat with a table and chairs for two.

Nevetheless: We have cooked twice and sat around the small couch table, which is actually too high – the one sitting on the office chair and the other one right on the bed. Fine someehow, however didn´t really become a routine for us.

But at least we can have a cup of coffee or tea, prepare some snacks and eat from plates. Fun fact: The kitchenette is well equipped, though like in ‘Snow White & the 7 Dwarfs’ only with exactly two pieces each: 2 big plates, 2 small plates, 2 cups, 2 glasses, 2 forks, 2 knives, 2 spoons. So I order some additional stuff from the housekeeping, which results in another funny story:

Fraser Residence Serviced Apartment

Of Pans & Pots, and other misunderstandings

I tell the receptionist in person that I would like to have another pot (yes, I wanted to cook), as well as two more glasses and cups and some more crockery. He notes it down and promises to inform the housekeeping. When I arriving back in the room, the telephone rings: The receptionist asking what kind of pot I need exactly. Puuhhh… I don´t know, just a normal pot. He continues: „So what do you want to cook?“ Me: „Hmm… some kind of sauce. So I just need a very ordinary small pot.“ – „OK“.

10 minutes later the doorbell rings and a lady from the housekeeping stretches out to me with a big smile on her face: a pan, 2 dishcloths and some grockery. 🙂 I try to explain in Englisch that I actually needed a pot, not a pan. She looks at me, all smiling, but not understanding a single word until I point at the other pot I already got. Then she starts typing something into her mobile to show me the Englisch translation of it: „Bring later“. So I nod again and keep waiting.

30 minutes later the doorbell rings again and another lady from the housekeeping hands me a real pot. Now I can start cooking eventually.


Somehow it is really cute how the Shanghainese try to understand and make clear what they want, always friendly – also outside the Serviced Apartment. Nonetheless one of my first key take-aways: I really have to start learning Chinese.

Fracer Residence Serviced Apartment

Pest Control! – Really?

Basically life in a Serviced Apartment is quite pleasant: Three times a week the housekeeping comes around and tidys up. Once there was even a „Pest Control“, which was announced via e-mail some days in advance and seemed to be a big deal. We were asked to make an appointment. Furthermore they informed: „There might be a slight trace of odour, which you may find rather unpleasant. We will be happy to refresh your apartment if you should require it. You are also encouraged to cover any food items or store the food in the refrigerator as the chemical may leave the food with an unpleasant odour and taste.“ So I expected that on day X housekeeping – dressed-up in protective overalls – will roam the rooms and cover the whole apartment in chemicals and everything will smell and feel unhealthy. So I pack away literally everything: clothes into the wardrobe, food inside the fridge, toothbrushes in the duty bag etc.

On day X a woman from houesekeeping shows-up with three male colleagues. They do not wear overalls at all, but come along with a yellow fire-extinguisher-like item. They open the shelf underneath the sink and within less then 10 seconds they are already done with the „Pest Control“. Me: confused, but also eased: Apparently there was no real pest in our room, which needed to be killed… 🙂


Sure thing: I feel kind of cosseted in our Serviced Apartment, especially thinking of all the amenities. In the complex there is a gym, an indoor swimming pool, which we can use free of charge, as well as two restaurants. If you have some small things to do, like printing or scanning, or need to get any information, you can just ask at the reception.

Serviced Apartment Gym Restaurant

And the view out of our room with small balcony is simply stunning.

Shanghai view

All in all: Easy living in our Serviced Apartment. But still it feels like living in a hotelroom: A bit sterile, anonymous and little homelike. That´s why we cannot wait to find our own apartment soon and so we start searching directly upon our arrival in Shanghai. But homesearch or here better to call houesehunting is a totally different story and definitely deserves a separate blogpost. So stay tuned!

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QUESTIONS & COMMENTS?

Have you ever been living abroad or even moved to China from a foreign country? Leave me a comment and share your experiences! Do you like the article, still have any suggestions or critics? I am happy to read what you are thiking! If you like my content, please feel free to share this article with your friends!

Are you curious about how living in China is like? In the Shanghai you can find further articles of our move to China. I the category China you can find travel stories from the land of the rising sun.

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  1. Hey Stefanie, it was great reading your serviced apartment experience. Thanks for taking the time and sharing the same with the audience. One of my friends was asking me if I have any idea about the serviced apartments in Shanghai and I believe this article will be of great help to him.

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