Shanghai’s ever-growing skyline, cutting-edge art galleries and gourmet food and drink scene make the city a must-visit destination. It’s also home to an array of luxury hotels. The likes of Amanyangyun and The Middle House will send aficionados of art and design into raptures, while properties such as the “seven-star” Wanda Reign and The Peninsula, which has its own fleet of Rolls-Royce limousines, push the boundaries of what we understand by high-end hospitality.
Amanyangyun's ancient villas were transported brick by brick from Jiang Xi province | Courtesy of Aman
The Aman group goes to some lengths with their hotels, but this collaboration with wealthy Chinese businessman Ma Dadong for their fourth China destination is something else. In 2002, Ma got wind that a number of Ming- and Qing-era villas in his home province of Jiang Xi were threatened by the development of a reservoir – fast-forward 17 years and those same villas, rebuilt brick by brick by exquisite beam of nanmu wood became the pride of the Aman chain with the opening of Amanyangyun. While the villas – set in a hauntingly beautiful camphor forest that was also transported the 700km from Jiang Xi – are ancient, there is a preoccupation with quality here that gives Amanyangyun a deep, serene timelessness. On-site cultural learning centre Nan Shufang – named after the Forbidden City’s reading pavilion – offers classes in skills that the literati owners of the ancient villas might themselves have mastered, such as calligraphy and the guqin (a stringed instrument). The astonishing villas are just that – villas – and best suited to families or groups; the purpose-built accommodation in the form of suites is at the very highest end of design refinement, each with its own courtyard. There are three on-site restaurants: Italian, hotpot and Chinese, with the last specialising in the spicy cuisine of Jiang Xi province. Amanyangyun lies a 45-minute cab journey to the southwest of central Shanghai, but it’s as if that ride takes you to another planet – or perhaps another era.
The ‘House’ collection of hotels is celebrated for its statement-making architecture and design. Shanghai’s The Middle House – younger sister to Hong Kong’s acclaimed Upper House, Chengdu’s Temple House and Beijing’s Opposite House – sticks perfectly to the script. Rooms – ‘studios’ – are named for their square-meterage, from ‘50’ to the penthouse-Iike ‘90’, with its floor-to-ceiling windows. Yet in a city where space is at a premium, even the ‘50’ amply accommodates its king-size bed (topped with a plump down duvet). And indeed everything about The Middle House is generous: well-stocked fridges include coconut water and a variety of craft beers, the majority free. Expect Native Union and Bose tech, SV Casa and Bamford bathroom goodies and even a Lululemon yoga mat. The expansive Mi Xun spa, which feels like an underground city of its own, uses the sought-after Cha Ling range. You also have access to a gym, yoga, group classes and a large (but stylish) heated pool. Staff are encouraged to be themselves and it shows in their chatty, conspiratorial manner: if you want a local tip – any tip – these really are the people to ask. From Café Gray Deluxe, which affords a tantalising bright-lights panorama of nighttime Shanghai, to Chinese restaurant Sui Tang Li, the food and drink offering cannot be bettered.
This five-star hotel is one of very few new buildings to be added to Shanghai’s historic Bund in the last 70 years, so you know it’s something special. The Peninsula Shanghai was unveiled in 2009, but its Art Deco design echoes a bygone era, with 235 retro-style suites and The Peninsula’s signature fleet of green Rolls-Royce Phantoms. Foodies will also love the five on-site restaurants, included two Michelin-star eateries.
Perched at the top of the IFC complex between the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Huangpu River, the Ritz-Carlton is another slice of 1930s elegance in Shanghai. Many of the 285 lavish guest rooms enjoy views of the Bund, and they all have access to the deluxe indoor pool, executive spa, four restaurants and two bars, including Flair, the highest rooftop bar in China.
Surrounded by the glitzy skyscrapers of the Lujiazui Financial District, this five-star hotel soars above the banks of the Huangpu River. The 362 guest rooms take luxury to a new level with their gold and bronze hues, marble bathrooms, high-tech bedside control panels and the Mandarin Oriental’s renowned high-quality service.
This five-star Art Deco masterpiece is perfectly located for visitors to Shanghai, situated at the intersection of the Bund promenade and the shopping haven that is Nanjing Road. The Fairmont Peace Hotel features 270 guest rooms, a serene health club including an indoor pool and two spa tubs, and a range of first-class dining options, such as Chinese restaurant Dragon Phoenix and the esteemed live music venue, Jazz Bar.
The EDITION’s 145 five-star rooms are famous for their views, both of the historic Bund area and the dizzying skyscrapers of Pudong. The property is made up of two towers – one Art Deco, one Modernist – but the modern, laid-back design pulls the place together. There are five meeting studios, two forums, a contemporary Japanese eatery on the 27th floor, a gourmet Cantonese restaurant with five private dining rooms and two rooftop bars overlooking the water.
Towering above Jing An Park and the Kerry Centre mall in upscale West Shanghai, this five-star Shangri-La is an urban oasis with spectacular views. The 508 opulent guest rooms fill floors 30 to 59 of an ultra-modern tower, which also features a huge indoor pool, six restaurants and bars, and a conference centre.
Billing itself as Shanghai’s first “seven-star” hotel, Wanda Reign is an exercise in over-the-top opulence. Boasting an enviable location on the Bund, this luxury hotel is ostentatious from top to bottom. There are chandeliers hanging in the 190 rooms and suites, bottles of Château Lafite and Louis XIV cigars in the balcony bar, the Michelin two-star restaurant L’Espérance, pieces by Chinese contemporary artist Shi Qi and a state-of-the art nightclub. The Chairman’s Suite even has its very own harp.
The Langham blends traditional Chinese elements with chic modern design and a buzzing location in Xintiandi, Shanghai’s entertainment and nightlife hub. Surrounded by the city’s hottest boutiques, eateries and nightclubs, the five-star hotel features 357 ultra-modern guest rooms, an extensive collection of artworks from local creatives, three high-end dining options and a fully equipped wellness centre.
The name Four Seasons exudes luxury, and the brand’s Shanghai hotel doesn’t disappoint. This five-star Pudong property includes 187 glamorous guest rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the flashy Lujiazui Financial District, a tranquil infinity pool and spa, plus gourmet eateries Camelia and Shàng-Xí dishing up Italian and Cantonese classics, respectively.
This urban sanctuary provides luxury villa accommodations in a series of authentic shikumen townhouses. Capella fuses French and Chinese design elements as a nod to Shanghai’s Golden Era in the 1930s – book one of the 55 one-, two- and three-bedroom suites to enjoy the traditional courtyard, fine-dining restaurant, award-winning Auriga spa and scenic rooftop terrace.