For the past decade, Shanghai’s upscale hotels have mostly targeted corporate travelers, but leisure visitors now enjoy a broader array of large luxury and small boutique options. The upcoming Shanghai World Expo is expected to bring in an estimated 70 million visitors and ambitious plans for long-term tourism growth are bringing names like Park Hyatt, Conrad, Jumeirah, Peninsula, Mandarin Oriental, W, Banyan Tree, and Fairmont through 2010, while a small portfolio of design-led hotels is slated to grow and flourish. Location remains the key to which one you choose. Hotels in the French Concession and near the Bund offer the most convenience for tourists. Despite the lofty views, staying east of the river in one of the Pudong’s high-rise hotels can mean taxi rides and inconvenience.
Le Royal Méridien Shanghai
With considerable panache, Le Royal Méridien executes its Art Deco–inspired design throughout its 770 rooms, high above People’s Park on central Nanjing Road. Above the eleventh-floor lobby, black lacquer–framed mirrors line hallways, and airy guest rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows. Chic marble bathrooms, plush velvet couches and club chairs, and beds with down duvets and oversized square pillows round out the stylish accommodations. Ai Mei, the Chinese restaurant already known for its dim sum, is entered through a door frame of glass tanks filled with goldfish; the menu at Allure—roasted lobster with risotto, beef tenderloin with goose liver—is worth the culinary detour. Even the spa here caters to a late-night clientele, staying open until 11 p.m., for those who can’t sleep without a signature egg-white, vodka, and cucumber facial.
Le Royal Meridien Shanghai (Shanghai Shimao Huangjia Aimei Jiudian, 上海世茂皇家艾美酒店)
Address: 789 Nanjing Dong Lu, Huangpu District, Shanghai, China
Chinese Address: 上海市黄浦区南京东路789号
Website: Le Royal Meridien Shanghai
Housed in a renovated 1920s townhouse on hip Nanjing Road, this is wunderkind Singaporean hotelier and restaurateur Yenn Wong’s follow-up to the original Jia in Hong Kong, designed by Philippe Starck. The 55 rooms combine luxe comforts—think plush beds, blackout curtains, plasma TVs, iPod docks, and ceiling-mounted Bose speakers—with trendsetting boutique styling, including artwork by photographer Russel Wong, outsize tubs in gold Bisazza-tile bathrooms, and furnishings by Minotti, Moroso, and Hans Wegner. Each room has a small kitchenette with a microwave oven, cookware, and serving dishes. The two stunning penthouse suites have extra theatrical flourishes, including contemporary art, a sunken circular Jacuzzi, and a shower that converts into a steam room. The chic lobby lounge, where you’ll be served complimentary continental breakfast and afternoon tea, is dressed with giant Chinese bird cages and lacquer tableware. Shanghai’s shaker-makers reserve dinner tables at Issimo, a modern Italian eatery created by Japan-based restaurateur Salvatore Cuomo. This is the place to stay for sophisticated small hotel chic.
JIA Shanghai (上海JIA精品酒店)
Address: 931 West Nanjing Road, Jiangan District, Shanghai 200041
Chinese Address: 上海市静安区南京西路931号（近泰兴路）
Opening Date: August 2007
Number of Rooms: 55 rooms and suites, including two penthouse suites
Rate per Night: 2,000 to 10,000RMB
- URBN Hotel
Tucked away on a side street north of Jing’An Temple, this 26-room design hotel is built around an enclosed slate and bamboo courtyard with calming water fountains. Constructed using reclaimed local materials —such as gray factory bricks, mahogany, and slate—Urbn wears its eco-conscious credentials on its sleeve; the hotel also tracks its ecological footprint and matches it in carbon credits. The rooms, in five categories, are all relatively small but make good use of space with low-level beds and a sunken “lounge” area, complete with hemp cushions on the broad benches and a wall-hung flat-screen TV. Neat in-room design touches include mahogany floors and wall paneling, desk chairs made from compressed cardboard, and under-floor bathroom heating, plus free Wi-Fi and iPod docks. Contemporary Australian-Asian cuisine is served in the ground-floor restaurant, Roomtwentyeight.
URBN Hotel (Yayue Jiudian, 上海雅悦酒店)
Address: 183 Jiaozhou Road, Jingan District, Shanghai
Chinese Address: 上海市静安区胶州路183号
Park Hyatt Shanghai
Shanghai hotels are rising ever higher—and top of the pile is this deluxe cloud buster on the 79th through 93rd floors of the 101-story, 1,615-foot Shanghai World Financial Center in Pudong. The Park Hyatt Shanghai can now claim the twin titles of world’s highest hotel and world’s highest restaurant. New York City–based Tony Chi created the interiors to resemble a sophisticated modern Chinese residence, hence the series of gates, halls, and chambers. The lobby itself is on the 87th floor and the spa and fitness center have prime city views from the 85th level. The 174 rooms are an impressive size (an average room is 645 square feet), plus there is 24-hour butler service, a technology concierge, and a walk-in dressing room and flat-screen TV in the bathroom and bedroom. The hotel’s highest highlight is 100 Century Avenue, an integrated three-level fine-dining restaurant (serving Western, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine) and lounge bar on the 91st to 93rd floors.
Park Hyatt Shanghai (Shanghai Baiyue Jiudian, 上海柏悦酒店)
Address: 100 Century Avenue, 79th–93rd Floors, Shanghai World Financial Center, Pudong District, Shanghai
Chinese Address: 上海市浦东新区浦东世纪大道100号上海环球金融中心79-93楼
The Portman Ritz-Carlton
The Portman Ritz-Carlton was the city’s first luxury hotel when it opened in 1998, on the major shopping thoroughfare Nanjing Lu. The hotel completed a multimillion-dollar, top-to-bottom face-lift of the guest rooms, bars, restaurants, and facilities in 2008. The circular pale-marble lobby gives way to 610 rooms—request one of the newly renovated ones, which feature gleaming dark-wood traditional furniture, accents of gold and brown, and sliding doors that lend an Oriental air. Guests are spoiled for choice when it comes to dining: There are four house restaurants to choose from, including Palladio, which serves modern Italian dishes in a formal setting. Luxury-brand lovers will delight in the neighboring upscale Plaza 66 mall. Though the hotel is centrally located at the Shanghai Center, surrounding office buildings mean that finding a cab during rush hour can be difficult—hotel guests do get preference in the taxi line, but the queue lengthens noticeably during peak times, from 4 pm until 8 pm.
The Portman Ritz-Carlton (Shanghai Boteman Lijia Dajiudian,上海波特曼丽嘉酒店)
Address: 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, Jingan District, Shanghai
Chinese Address: 上海市上海市静安区南京西路1376号
St. Regis Shanghai
Every guest is a VIP at the St. Regis. The amphitheaterlike lobby sets the stage for the most indulgent hotel experience in Shanghai. The 318 rooms in this 40-story red-granite tower—its design lauded by Architectural Digest—spare no expense, with Bose wave radios, Herman Miller Aeron chairs, and rain-forest showers that give you the feeling of being under a waterfall. At 500 square feet (152 sq. m), standard rooms compare to other hotels’ suites. The two women’s-only floors are unique in Shanghai. Butlers address all your needs 24/7 (you can even contact them by e-mail) from in-room check-in to room service, and as part of a new program, they can arrange to escort guests personally to visit local artist studios. The hotel’s location—15 minutes from the riverfront—is a drawback, but the fitness center and 24-hour gym, along with the remarkable Danieli’s Italian restaurant add to this pampering property’s appeal.
St. Regis Shanghai (Shanghai Ruiji Hongta Dajiudian, 上海瑞吉红塔大酒店)
Address: 889 Dongfang Lu, South central Pudong, Pudong District, Shanghai
Prices ¥3,313-¥3,478 ($473-$497/£237-£249) standard; from ¥6,378 ($911/£456) suite (up to 60% discounts)
The Peninsula Shanghai
The Peninsula Shanghai, an Art-Deco inspired hotel on Shanghai’s historic Bund, is dressed to impress, from its stepped, faux Deco facade to the grand pillared lobby decorated in cool celadon tones (a string quartet plays on a theatrical balcony in the afternoons) to the restored 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II for airport transfers. This is a hotel that makes the most of its outlook over the future-scape Pudong skyline, the Peninsula Spa by Espa features a skylit indoor swimming pool and a layered crème marble terrace, while the terrace of the 14th-floor Sir Elly’s Restaurant has panoramic river views. The pick of the hotel’s five restaurants is Yi Long Court, serving classic Cantonese cuisine in a luxurious chocolate and dark-blue Shanghai Deco dining room with Qing dynasty furnishings. The hotel’s 235 guest rooms, styled in a pale gray-green or cerulean blue, start at a spacious 600 square feet and go up to the 4,300-square-foot Presidential Suite. All have 1920s Shanghai mahogany and ebony furniture. The in-room technology is best in class, with thoughtful additions such as a Nespresso machine positioned at shoulder level, a desktop iPod dock, a 1,000-channel Internet radio, and an in-bath phone system that filters out the sound of the water. Another flick of a switch dims the bathroom lights and turns on relaxing spa music.
The Peninsula Shanghai (Shanghai Bandao Jiudian, 上海半岛酒店)
Address： 32 Zhongshang Dong Yi Lu, The Bund, Huangpu District, Shanghai
With its new 36-floor glass tower, the Shangri-La is set to give its Pudong competitors a run for their money. It may not tower as high as the Grand Hyatt, but this hotel’s gorgeous views stretch across the Huangpu River to the stately Bund and rival those of its taller (and sometimes more fogged-in) neighbor. All of the 950 modern rooms are unfussy, accented with Asian touches such as raw silk throws and pillows. Rooms also have broadband Internet, and satellite TV—just be sure to request accommodation that overlooks the water. Not one but two indoor pools and full-service gymnasiums satisfy the sporty, while those hoping to unwind can enjoy a massage in the Oriental opulence of the Chi spa. Eleven restaurants offer options to suit every taste, but there is no better place for a drink and nibble than Jade on 36, an eclectic fusion restaurant perched on the 36th floor. Though the Pudong location means that during rush hour (4 p.m.-9 p.m.) it can take 45 minutes to get downtown by car, taxis are cheap and plentiful, and those in a hurry can hop on the metro, which is only a five-minute walk from the hotel.
Pudong Shangri-La Hotel (Pudong Xianggelila Fandian, 上海浦东香格里拉大酒店)
Address: 33 Fucheng Lu, Southwest of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, adjacent to Riverside Ave/Binjiang Da Dao, Pudong New Area, Shanghai
Phone: 021-6882-8888; 800-942-5050
Prices ¥3,050-¥3,300 ($436-$471/£218-£236) standard; ¥3,550-¥3,750 ($507-$536/£254-£268) executive level; from ¥5,150 ($736/£368) suite
The Grand Hyatt Shanghai
The Grand Hyatt Shanghai takes up the top 34 floors of the monolithic 88-story Jin Mao Tower—the fifth-tallest building in the world—so you can imagine the views: vertigo-inducing panoramas over the city’s skyscrapers and streets, abetted by the ubiquitous floor-to-ceiling windows. (Request a west-facing room for views of the Bund, the Oriental Pearl Tower, and the rest of the Shanghai skyline’s kitschy excess.) If you can tear your gaze from the neon spectacle outside, you’ll find the hotel’s interiors are pretty sumptuous: All 555 rooms have contemporary furniture (lots of glass, lacquered wood, and velvety neutral-toned upholstery) accented by traditional Eastern artwork. The marble baths have multiple-head “shower towers” that engulf you in water and mist; if these aren’t enough of a full-body experience, you can head to the steam baths and hot tubs at the on-site spa. The hotel’s dozen restaurants, bars, and clubs include the Patio, a 33-story atrium where you can listen to live jazz; Cloud 9, on the 87th floor, where the views will make you dizzier than any cocktail; and Club Jin Mao, where you can sample local specialties, such as deep-fried eel with honey soy sauce and braised bean curd with hairy crab roe. While the Pudong location is oriented more for business than pleasure, the Line 2 Metro station is just a five-minute walk away, and a horde of cheap cabs waits outside to whisk you across the Huangpu River to the Old City.
Grand Hyatt Shanghai (Shanghai Jin Mao Junyue Dajiudian, 上海金茂君悦大酒店)
Address: 88 Century Boulevard, Jin Mao Tower, Pudong District, Shanghai
Prices: ¥3,800-¥4,100 ($543-$586/£272-£293) standard; ¥4,450-¥4,800 ($636-$686/£318-£343) executive level; from ¥5,700 ($814/£407) suite
The Westin Shanghai
Popular with travelers on an expense account, this centrally located hotel—part of the office-heavy Bund Center—is just a short walk from the swish restaurants and nightlife of the Bund. The glitzy atrium lobby features a neon-lit glass staircase and artificial palm trees, while the 570 rooms are kitted out in earth tones, with polished wood paneling and rain forest showerheads in the dark granite bathrooms. A new wing, the Grand Tower, opened in 2007; formerly serviced apartments, rooms here are more spacious, albeit pricier, than in the main building. With so many business travelers passing through the halls, service can feel a bit impersonal and corporate—front desk clerks eagerly push upgrades at check-in. There are three restaurants—we liked the wood-fired pizzas at Prego better than The Stage’s buffet—as well as a fitness center, swimming pool, and branch of the Banyan Tree spa.
The Westin Shanghai (Shanghai Weisiting Dafandian, 上海外滩中心威斯汀大饭店)
Address: 88 Henan Central Road, 3 blocks west of the Huangpu River, Huangpu District, Shanghai
Chinese Address: 上海市黄浦区河南中路88号
Prices: ¥3,245 ($464/£232) standard; ¥3,970 ($567/£284) executive level; from ¥9,730 ($1,390/£695) suite
Travel Deals: World Expo in Shanghai
With an expected attendance of 70 million, this year’s World Expo in Shanghai – which runs May 1 to Oct. 31 — will most likely mean higher hotel rates in the city. But good deals can still be found.
For the duration of the Expo, Marriott is offering 20 percent off staysof two nights or more, and the package includes two single-day admission tickets. Rates start at 1,120 renminbi (or about $161 a night at 7 renminbi to the dollar). Book by March 31 at marriott.com or (800) 228-9290. Use the promotional code ADP.
Hilton is offering the same discount for any reservation made 21 days in advance at the Hilton Shanghai, through Oct. 1. There’s no minimum stay, but rates start at about $216 a night.
For a cheaper option, the Shanghai Metropole Hotel, a 141-room hotel near the Bund, has rooms from $80 a night. And ChinaHotels.org, a hotel booking site based in China, has rooms for as little as $25 a night.
What to See & Do
Where to Dine