The Best Hotels to Book Near Shanghai’s Former French Concession

Shanghai Hengshan Moller Villa is a serene choice with a traditional feel
Shanghai Hengshan Moller Villa is a serene choice with a traditional feel | Courtesy of Shanghai Hengshan Moller Villa /
Jenna Farmer

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.

1. Andaz Xintiandi, Shanghai, for luxury and design


Smart room at Andaz Xintiandi, Shanghai, with mood lighting and a city view
Courtesy of Andaz Xintiandi, Shanghai /
In a city bristling with skyscraper hotels, subtle lighting, futuristic furnishings and ultra-stylish rooms, this design-forward all-suite Shanghai hotel is way ahead of the competition. Sheathed in dark-wood panelling, the suites are among the most spacious accommodations in Shanghai, but if you’re travelling with a mountain of luggage, you may wish to opt for the split-level XL Suite, with its extra space and porthole-like windows. The 88 Sushi Bento Bar and Bleu Bar (specialising in whisky) are heaven for foodies.

2. Ascott Heng Shan Shanghai, for urban tranquillity


Lounge at Ascott Heng Shan Shanghai with comfy chairs and floor-to-ceiling windows
Courtesy of Ascott Heng Shan Shanghai /

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.

3. Capella Shanghai, for a historical shikumen stay and stellar French cuisine


Exterior of Capella Shanghai at night
Courtesy of Capella Shanghai /

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.

4. The Kunlun Jing An, for ample on-site dining


Room at the Kunlun Jing An with a large curved window showing a view over the city
Courtesy of the Kunlun Jing An /

With its location in the Jing’an Temple area allowing easy access to high-end boutique-hopping along the main shopping streets, Huaihai Rd and West Nanjing Road, not to mention the Bund and its waterfront promenade, this Shanghai hotel is all about convenience. Fitness fiends keen to keep fit on holiday will appreciate the on-site squash court, tennis court and pool, and if you’re feeling hungry, there’s a choice of sophisticated cuisine available from all over China, as well as cakes and other treats.

5. Pullman Shanghai Skyway, for a contemporary skyscraper stay


Pool at Pullman Shanghai Skyway with loungers and palm trees
Courtesy of Pullman Shanghai Skyway /

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.

6. The Langham, Shanghai, Xintiandi, for Michelin-starred cuisine

Spa Hotel, Hotel

A contemporary hotel room with views over residential rooftops at the Langham, Shanghai, Xintiandi
Courtesy of the Langham, Shanghai, Xintiandi / Expedia

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.

7. Shanghai Hengshan Moller Villa, for calm in the city

Boutique Hotel

Grand, spacious room at Shanghai Hengshan Moller Villa with intricate parquet floor
Courtesy of Shanghai Hengshan Moller Villa /

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.

8. InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin, for a step back in time


Room at Intercontinental Shanghai Ruijin with bed, scatter cushions and comfy chairs
Courtesy of InterContinental Shanghai Ruijin /
The colourful history of this hotel, which dates back to 1917, includes a brief stint as the headquarters of the Communist Party in Shanghai. Today, it features large, impeccably landscaped grounds and regal, provincial-style villas – while the 238 spacious guest rooms feature modern, contemporary decor. Guests are bound to love La Rue restaurant, which serves global fusion food, and the extensive spa facilities.

9. The PuLi Hotel and Spa, for high-end relaxation

Resort, Suite Hotel, Spa Hotel, Hotel, Luxury

Modern, gleaming bar at the PuLi Hotel and Spa
Courtesy of the PuLi Hotel and Spa /

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.

10. HUALUXE Shanghai Twelve at Hengshan, for Italian–Chinese fusion


Room at HUALUXE Shanghai Twelve at Hengshan with stylish furniture and neutral decor
Courtesy of HUALUXE Shanghai Twelve at Hengshan /
On Hengshan Road, in the centre of the Former French Concession, HUALUXE Twelve at Hengshan is an upmarket Shanghai hotel in a vibrant setting. An Italian architect may have designed the terracotta building, but there are still plenty of nods here to traditional Chinese decor. Guests can expect suites with outdoor balconies, a 24-hour, state-of-the-art gym with a pool and spa area and plenty of dining options – including Tops & Terrace, which serves both international and Chinese cuisine in a spectacular outdoor setting.

Georgia Platman contributed additional reporting to this article.

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