City of stars: Immerse in Shanghai’s neon-lit glamor at these hotels

SHANGHAI was once a city that exuded mood and mystery, and proof is in so much modern popular culture taking from the city’s halcyon days of alluring fashion and dimly lit bars.

These days, Shanghai is all about lights and heights. Buildings scrape the stratosphere; crowds stream in and out of blocks; and the miles-long Huangpu cuts through the concrete to provide an illusion of calm amid the chaos.

But if you know where to look, much of the city’s heritage remains very much alive, preserved in tiny alleys and quarters. Accompanying the fading sites are also a burgeoning of trendy boutiques, restaurants, and bars where local urbanites have taken it upon themselves to inject their brand of cool into the city.

Here are three hotels in Shanghai from which you can experience the magic and charm of it all.

Shanghai Marriott Hotel Riverside

One of the best ways to explore the metropolis is by staying in a centrally located hotel so that you can easily tick off your Shanghai bucket list without having to sit through traffic. This is where Shanghai Marriott Hotel Riverside comes in, a five-star hotel located along the Huangpu River of the Huangpu district, and a great contact point from which to sightsee.

While close to both the Puxi business districts as well as the new Pudong downtown business districts, the hotel is also a great option for families or couples who want to be close to city icons such as People’s Square, The Bund, Xin Tian Di, and Tian Zi Fang. The latter is one of the most popular districts for cool restaurants and bars, and is a mere 10 minutes from the hotel.

If you’d much rather stay in and pamper yourself, retreat to the comfort of your room and take in the city views below. Better still, visit the in-house Touch Spa which offers natural and holistic spa services in a tranquil environment. Book in a customized treatment taking from European and oriental health knowledge, and for a little while, you might even forget that you’re in Shanghai.

At mealtimes, head to one of the hotel’s many restaurants for a spot of dinner or a refreshing cocktail. Red Zen is a Japanese restaurant with a Chinese twist, and will excite even the most jaded of taste buds. Meanwhile, Blue Moon is more classically inclined where lavish banquet meals can be experienced for larger groups. Read more…

Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai

Located near People’s Square, Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai dominates the city skyline with its impressive 208-meter tower. It’s also within nearby the Shanghai metro system, which means that Hongqiao International Airport (SHA) and large companies like the Toshiba Corporation and Yaskawa are only a short trip away.

Each of the 520 rooms feature scenic city views, and are equipped with free broadband and wireless Internet to make sure you’re connected during your stay. A spacious work desk also means you can prep for business meetings within the comfort of your room.

To take things up a notch, the Presidential Suite is a sunken lounge room featuring a large LDC television, a stereo system, and an eight-seater dining table – ideal for entertaining business luncheons or mingling with friends over cocktails. If you’re entertaining business clients, this is the room you’re looking for.

For seal the deal, treat your clients to a meal at Epicure on 45 on the 45th floor of the tower. You can take in breathtaking, 360-degree views of local landmarks like Jin Mao Tower while devouring foods from a range of cuisines including Japanese, Chinese, Indian and European.

Grand Kempinski Pudong

In the heart of Shanghai’s financial district Lujiazui is Grand Kempinski Pudong, a five-star hotel that caters to both business and leisure travelers. One of the driving factors of the property is its views of the glittering skyline and the Huangpu River. It’s also close to many of the city’s icons and popular sites.

If you’re booked in here, you get to enjoy space in a city as dense as Shanghai. The entry-level Superior City View Room is a whole 43 sq m, a luxury in these parts. While well appointed, rooms are also contemporary and stylish with grey tones and floor-to-ceiling windows.

For an elegant round-table Cantonese meal, head to Suntime Century for an exciting course meal made with premium ingredients. If you’re after something a little more casual, Acqua dishes out familiar pasta and pizza classics. Meanwhile, Albero churns out fine Spanish cuisine if you’re craving something from the West.

Before leaving the hotel, make sure to book a session at the luxury spa, a respite from the frenzy of the city outside. Staff will welcome you with soothing magnolia tea before you’re whisked into a treatment room for a deep-tissue massage, hydrating facial, or an all-encompassing energy regeneration package.