With picturesque streets, cobbled courtyards and European-style villas, the Former French Concession in Shanghai is a blend of cultures. The area provides a welcome retreat from the bustle of the city centre – and away from the tourist crowds visiting the Bund or the Oriental Pearl Tower. Choices range from five-star spa retreats to traditional villas and budget-friendly Shanghai bed and breakfasts, so there are plenty of accommodation options. Here’s our round-up of the best hotels in the area – bookable on Culture Trip.
At the Ascott Heng Shan Shanghai, a living bamboo tunnel and ponds reflecting the surrounding greenery contribute to the feeling that you have stumbled upon an oasis of tranquillity amid the bustle of one of the most prominent cities in China. A mosaic-inlaid, columned indoor pool and jacuzzi add to that impression, as does the location on a tree-lined street in one of the historical neighbourhoods of the city. The contemporary, well-equipped apartments are ideal for extended stays.
Heavy wooden doors swing open and you are ushered into a greenery-bedecked urban sanctuary comprising a trio of the last remaining shikumen townhouses in the city – an architectural melange of Chinese and Western elements dating back to the heyday of the city in the 1930s. This historical hotel combines a pared-back aesthetic with French-accented furniture; the French theme continues at the on-site restaurant, where three-Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire presides over a reimagined menu of traditional French classics.
This gleaming glass skyscraper reaches skywards among a cluster of shopping malls, and is handily located near the railway station and a short walk from the arty enclave of Tianzifang and the shops and restaurants of the Needle General Yard repurposed factory. Floor-to-ceiling windows in all the rooms frame city views, and you can enjoy those same views from the on-site fitness centre and swimming pool.
The five-star Langham is found next to Huaihai Road, one of the main shopping streets, and a minute from South Huangpi Road subway station, so it couldn’t be a more perfect base from which to explore the city. Home to a 24-hour fitness centre, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant – T’ang Court, serving Cantonese delicacies – and 357 contemporary guest rooms, all with spectacular floor-to-ceiling windows, this hotel has everything you could want from a Shanghai hotel.
If you’re looking for something with more of the traditional feel of the Former French Concession, Moller Villa is a perfect choice. It’s only five minutes from the lively Xintiandi area, but its large gardens and Norwegian-style architecture provide an undeniable air of serenity. The majestic three-storey villa dates back over 70 years, and is just a 10-minute walk from West Nanjing Road subway station.
Just a short stroll from Jing’an Temple and the major shopping area of Nanjing Road, the PuLi Hotel and Spa is a truly modern luxury spa resort. Highlights include the state-of-the-art UR SPA, equipped with a stunning infinity pool overlooking Jing’an Park and offering a whole host of treatments including traditional Chinese massage, anti-pollution treatments and golden body masks. Rooms and suites come with all the amenities you’d expect from a hotel of this stature – flat-screen TVs, Bose speakers, Nespresso coffee machines and giant bathtubs that overlook the skyline.
Georgia Platman contributed additional reporting to this article.
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