MANY say that Shanghai is a city of contrasts, where the past and future are juxtaposed against each other to achieve a fine balance few other global metropolises can brag about.
Amid tightly-packed stratosphere-scaling towers are hints of Shanghai’s debauched heydays in the form of intricate architecture and untouched backstreets where locals go about their businesses.
What brings the two together is the Huangpu River, a stream that cuts through the concrete to provide a much-needed respite from the constant humming of this fast-paced urban centre.
Here are three hotels along the river where visitors can make the most of a wonderfully complex city.
Smack in the middle of the bustling district of Pudong is Hotel Indigo Shanghai on the Bund, a trendy property that channels the area’s many highlights and idiosyncrasies. As the only waterfront hotel in the area, one of its best features is an unadulterated view of the Bund and the Pudong district.
A perk of booking into a Hotel Indigo outlet is how every property is invariably different from the other. In the Shanghai property, inspiration is gathered from the city’s clever juxtaposition of old and new. While you can immerse in local cultures and flavours at The Bund, you can also experience the dizzying pace of the modern metropolis.
The moment you step into the hotel, you’ll notice sculptures and installations in the lobby such as retired rickshaws and shipyard metal reclaimed from the historic Shiliupu Dock. This aesthetic is carried through in each guestroom by way of carefully sourced Shikumen bricks, a spa-like bathroom get-up to reflect Pudong’s skyline, and murals of nearby Yu Garden.
Each room boasts amenities such as cable and satellite TV, a work desk, a tea maker, and free Internet services for all guests. But perhaps the best thing is the view that looks out to an ever-moving Pudong. When the sun goes down, take in the twinkling lights that dot the vertical structures beyond. Read more…
Literally minutes from the central business district and some of Shanghai’s most exciting shopping and entertainment options is Four Seasons Shanghai. This hotel in the heart of Puxi is a trusted name that takes from East-meets-West elements; while rooms and facilities are sleek and modern, classical Chinese décor in the form of lanterns and vases add richness.
In line with Four Seasons’ signature look, each room is uncluttered and clean, peppered with plush details such as creamy silk curtains and marble bathrooms. If you’re in the city for business or to entertain clients, the Premier Suite is impressively decked out in dark wood and light gold tones complete with a living area, dining area, and butler service.
If you prefer, move the party to Si Ji Xuan, a Michelin-recommended Cantonese and Shanghainese restaurant with five private dining rooms. And if you’re bringing in clients at lunchtime, seal the deal over dainty dim sum dumplings filled with fresh seafood, and wash it all down with delicate Chinese tea.
Don’t miss Qin The Spa while you’re still checked in: The “urban sanctuary” located on the hotel’s sixth floor welcomes you with a lacquered dark elm wood door reminiscent of the imperial palace doors common in the early Chinese dynasties. Everything in the lobby area is so beautifully ornate and rich, you’re bound to feel calm and relaxed even before your treatment begins.
The landmark structure of the Jin Mao Tower was included in the Guinness World Records in 2000 as the highest hotel in the world. And between floors 51 to 87 is the Grand Hyatt Shanghai in all its splendor. Situated in the Lujiazui financial center, the hotel is close to The Bund, the waterfront square along the Huangpu River that holds much of Shanghai’s appeal.
All 548 guestrooms at the hotel are a vision of opulence and class, and naturally, a magnet for well-heeled business and leisure tourists. Combining art deco heritage influences with classical Chinese style, each room offers a glittery view of “The Vertical Complex City”. You’ll also be pleased to know that rooms are more spacious than most others in the dense city.
The hotel’s location warrants ample space for meetings, and it doesn’t disappoint. Whether you’re holding an event for 20 or 2,000, choose from two ballrooms, and 11 technologically advanced and adaptable event venues. The in-house catering team will also guide you through a winning menu suited to your party.
There’s no shortage of food options if you’d rather entertain over a round table and roast duck. Club Jin Mao is a renowned Shanghainese establishment, and manages to pull in socialites and the who’s who of the business world. With unparalleled views of the city skyline, this restaurant is exactly the kind of place to remind you why Shanghai is considered one of ritziest cities in the world.
*Some of the properties featured in this article are commercial partners of Travel Wire Asia