Visiting Shanghai even for the most seasoned traveller is mind boggling. This city with more than 24 million residents has preserved ancient temples and cobbled stone street neighbourhoods along with the world’s tallest and gravity defying thrill creating structures (tried the glass bottomed railing free walkway on the 88th floor yet?). Shanghai is a stylish, glamorous, energetic and modern city, that engulfs you with it’s enterprise and intrigue. Take an early morning walk along the Bund, discover some avant-garde art at M50, eat lunch at the French concession, get hustled at Nanjing road, succumb to an overdose of Shanghai Girl cosmetics in Tian Zi Fang finally ending your evening at Lost Heaven. There are many shades of Shanghai for you to discover and as many hotels to choose from.
There are 5 fabulous luxury hotels we would recommend you stay in on your next visit and there is one for every traveller type- Which shade are you?
1. Chai Living
If you like to feel the essence of the city you travel to, want a place to call home, there is no better place to make a temporary abode, than at Chai Living.
This unique boutique accommodation is changing the face of the conventional apartment hotels. Enjoy cycling back to this 1930′s art deco Embankment building built by the real estate magnate Sir Victor Sassoon which today looks distraught but still handsome.
Wait in the dimly lit lobby, squeeze into an elevator with old ladies, young kids and trendy young Shanghainese, walk the hallway with the aroma of frying fish and clothes hanging to dry in the hallway, pass by the occasional expatriate doing his personal training in the passageway-wanting to more than dip the proverbial toe in the Shanghai way of life and enter your apartment studio.
Inside is a different world – stylish ,contemporary with all the mod-cons and more- bright spacesand the best panoramic Shanghai views. Each residence is uniquely designed according to the elements of Chinese culture with a kitchenette and luxury amenities. The concierge will also place breakfast in your fridge to make you feel at home. Housekeeping 24 hours and food delivery on demand. There is a beautiful lounge where you can host corporate dinners and events as well or perhaps enjoy drinks in an exotic art filled lounge with your friends.
2. The Peninsula
When you drive to this luxury hotel with it’s trademark Rolls Royce parked at the entrance and bell boy greeting you at the door you would be forgiven for thinking this landmark hotel is part of the historical buildings of the Bund, given the similarity of the style in keeping with the neighbourhood. Located on the historic Bund with spectacular views of the financial district, Huangpu River, Pudong and the gardens of the former British Consulate, The Peninsula Shanghai is your hotel of your choice if you like your shoes polished and your coffee in precious china; classically elegant and perfectly grand.
At the very heart of the hotel is The Lobby or the all day dining which is packed with guests who are fans of the Afternoon Tea with it’s live music and very English style. Great for ladies lunches and business meetings. The reception is discreetly located by the shopping arcade. The rooms have been recently renovated to soothing tones and larger interior spaces. Every comfort has been thought of. There are the Peninsula commonalities like free international calling using a VOIP line, fax and scanning machine in each room, nail drying vents, spa ”mood lighting” in bathrooms and the concealed laundry and newspaper closet. Very apt for a business visit to host clients in the rooftop bar and the splendid choice of restaurants but also perfect with your family where the little ones can enjoy a trip to Disney and return to kite-making and chocolate classes on site.
3. Indigo on the Bund
Walk into the lobby and the stylish vibe knocks off any doubts you had as you viewed the ordinary facade at the south end of the Bund. The eclectic interiors and playful design you will find at this boutique property create a fresh and refreshing atmosphere in a boutique setting. The proximity to the Huangpu river and historic Shiliupu Dock have inspired the interiors – the lobby features created from the bows of an old, washed up trawler to the cheerful, multi hued furniture in the restaurants, this hotel encapsulates the old and the new Shanghai with innovative style.
The rooms are inspired by traditional Chinese houses with custom hand made silk wallpaper and bright furnishings and lanterns. Go for a run along the waterfront or grab one of the bikes parked for guests and pedal along the Shanghai Bund, with its mile long stretch of colonial properties, now converted to financial institutions and trendy boutiques. It also has the most thoughtful (think lemon shots) and trendy breakfast bars laid out in the bright restaurant with a view of the endless cargo ships sailing past – the same view you get from it’s infinity pool on the 8th floor. You will return again and again for the cheerfulness of the interiors, the flawless service the views and because the Indigo on the Bund reminds you how there is always room to be playful.
4. Fairmont Peace Hotel
Edge your way through the throng of busy tourists on Nanjing street and inside this grand Gothic building and you will be transported back in time from the ornate rotunda in the lobby, to the sounds of Jazz played by the original band that performed when the hotel was known as Cathay Hotel. This hotel has for more than eight decades catered to glamorous gala events, the city’s fashionistas and important dignitaries. Also built by Victor Sassoon, in 1929, the North building of the hotel was the tallest building in Shanghai for 5 years, it served as the offices of the Municipal Government of Shanghai, before being renamed the Peace hotel in 1956.
Fully refurbished in 2010, the Fairmont Peace hotel is an iconic property, is ideal for history buffs and has maintained its art deco exterior with guest rooms that have 400 count Egyptian cotton sheets, updated gadgetry and the luxurious Willow Spa. The Peace room in on most guided tours and serves as a museum (free to the guests) where they house memorabilia from some of the most important years in history. Charlie Chaplin, Bernard Shaw have been amongst the celebrities who stayed here. A Presidential Suite occupies the 10th-floor penthouse where the hotel’s flamboyant creator and former owner, Victor Sassoon, once lived.
5. Shangri La Pudong Hotel
Shangri La Pudong is situated in the Financial-Business district and overlooks the Bund River. This sleek hotel is a haven for the business traveller. A smooth seamless check in from welcoming staff, prepares you for the the rest of your flawless experience here. The high tech rooms have a river view overlooking into Puxi District or a city view of nearby towering well designed sky-
With 7 restaurants including the super stylish and trendy Jade on 36th, which is perfect for enjoying canapes and a sundowner whilst watching the sun set over this most buzzing and happening of Chinese cities, you will be spoilt for F&B choices. Try afternoon tea in the Lobby Lounge with delicate pastries to accompany your refreshing cup of tea whilst sealing that deal. And after a busy day in this buzzing city, experience a local spa treatment in Chi, the hotels exclusive posh spa. Pamper yourself, relax and enjoy after a full working day.