In bustling Shanghai, ornate temples and exquisite classical gardens sit beside glittering skyscrapers and modern shopping complexes – a perfect blend of old and new. The best of the city’s hotels distil this duality for a luxurious experience of contemporary Chinese design and hospitality. Here are five of the best spots in the city.
Whether you’re an art-lover looking for distinctive design, a foodie in search of an inventive take on traditional cuisine, or you fancy trying the best Chinese-inspired cocktails in town, we’ve got the place for you in our roundup of the sleekest hotels in Shanghai.
The Middle House
Set high above the bustling city below, Studio 90 rooms come with a living area and free minibar | Courtesy of The Middle House, Shanghai
The Middle House in Jing-an has creativity at its core, and is filled with artworks curated under the hotel’s “I Dream of China” theme. A traditional robe comprised of thousands of ceramic butterflies hangs in the lobby, and Chinese ceramics and calligraphy prints decorate the spacious rooms. In Sui Tang Li, the hotel’s contemporary Chinese restaurant, elegant dishes inspired by Cantonese, Sichuan and Shanghainese delicacies are given creative twists. Don’t skip the cocktail menu, which includes punchy inventions such as tea-infused whisky with plum syrup.
Set in a refurbished 1920s building in the heart of downtown Shanghai, Cachet Boutique combines old-world elegance with all the comforts you’d expect from a luxury hotel. Work by Chinese designers and artists is arranged throughout the hotel, with vintage-style prints and contemporary interpretations of traditional motifs adding character to the bright and spacious bedrooms. The hotel’s partnership with Pure Art Studio – which champions young, local Chinese artists – means there is a brilliant calendar of exhibitions taking place in the dedicated gallery, too.
This boutique hotel is a charming combination of Chinese hospitality, traditional decor and European-style architecture. Located close to leafy Hengshan road, Anting Villa is a retreat from the hustle and bustle of Shanghai but still only a stone’s throw from popular tourist spots such as People’s Square. The pretty hotel gardens balance elements of a classic Chinese garden – a place for reflection and escape from the outside world – with European architectural features, including an elegant Roman-style colonnade. Rooms are bold and opulent, so expect plenty of plush fabrics, loud prints and bright colours.
Sukhothai Shanghai champions minimalism and natural materials for a chic and calming feel. Like the decor, dining options are utterly modern with an Asian twist. Michelin-starred La Scala turns traditional Italian cooking on its head, combining raviolo with sweet and sour pork belly, for example. Head to Urban Lounge to try the gin tasting menu and snack on oolong-tea-smoked duck, or sip cocktails whipped up with ingredients such as bamboo, hawthorn wine, pea shoot soda or watermelon water at ZUK Bar.
Dark wood furniture and polished floors blend with silk partitions, Han Dynasty statues, ornate incense holders and delicate tea sets at The PuLi, where the emphasis is on luxury, relaxation and wellbeing. Chinese tradition meets contemporary health and wellbeing at the PuLi’s world-class spa. Therapies and treatments focus on ancient healing techniques combined with modern science to increase Qi (the body’s vital energy), in everything from jet lag-beating treatments to Oriental head massages which reduce stress and tension by stimulating meridian points.