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Shanghai is China’s largest metropolis; an enormous, bustling city that has been a hub of international activity for centuries. Visitors from around the world head to Shanghai for its wealth of attractions: food, museums, architecture, and performing arts. Corporate travelers also frequently find themselves in this nerve center of Chinese industry.
Shanghai’s lodging options are as diverse as the city itself. From grand Art Deco-era hotels to basic-but-functional guesthouses that cater to business travelers, there’s a huge selection to choose from, regardless of your needs or your budget.
Best Overall: Mandarin Oriental
This luxury hotel offers guests a quiet oasis and impeccable service in the very heart of Shanghai’s business district. Rooms are large and feature art from contemporary Chinese artists. Luxurious beds are covered with crisp Frette sheets and ample pillows of varying softness, and decorated with traditional Chinese brocade bed scarves. Bathrooms combine traditional and contemporary amenities, with huge circle-shaped bathtubs and walk-in showers, as well as complimentary toiletries from the Ormonde Jayne line. Most of the hotel’s rooms have views of the Huangpu River and the skyline of the Bund.
On-site gourmet dining options are plentiful and include the traditional Shanghainese Yong Yi Ting and a contemporary French restaurant, Fifty 8 Grill. A full-service spa offers a huge variety of body treatments, most of which were designed with the principles of Chinese medicine in mind. The Mandarin Oriental Shanghai is located in the commercial district of the Pudong, across the river from the Bund, Huangpu, and the Old City, but it is just a quick taxi ride away from these bustling tourist zones and their many attractions.
Best Budget: Campanile Shanghai Bund Hotel
It’s not hard to find hostel-style or low-cost business hotels in Shanghai, especially outside of the heart of the city, but for English-speaking travelers, it’s likely worth a few extra bucks to stay in a place with English-speaking staff and convenient access to tourist attractions. The Campanile Shanghai Bund Hotel bridges this gap, offering affordable lodging in a great location near the Bund and the People’s Park.
Rooms are small but spotless and chic, decorated in a modern style with touches of warm gold and sage green. Bathrooms are tiled and bamboo-paneled and feature walk-in showers and Damana amenities. Breakfast is offered on-site for an additional fee and features French pastries and both Continental and Chinese hot dishes. An on-site bar and restaurant offer all-day dining and evening drinks, and this bustling neighborhood features many more dining and drinking options.
Best Boutique: PuLi Hotel and Spa
With contemporary Japanese-influenced décor and world-class amenities, this urban resort offers impeccably stylish lodgings to the most sophisticated travelers, conveniently located near Jing’an Park and just steps from a metro station. Rooms are large and comfortable, with open floor plans (a screen can separate the bathroom area from the bedroom; the ultra-modern Japanese toilet is in a private nook) and floor-to-ceiling windows. Dark woods and pale walls and fabrics give the rooms a minimalist, natural feeling, and potted orchids on the table bring a living touch indoors. Beds are large, low, and covered with high-quality linens. Giant soaking tubs are situated right next to windows, so that you can have a bath while gazing over the city skyline. Walk-in showers are separate. An in-room minibar is stocked with complimentary soft drinks and bottled water, and rooms all have Nespresso coffee makers.
On the second floor of the hotel is the restaurant Phénix, a contemporary French restaurant that bears a Michelin star. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all served here, and room service is also available 24 hours a day. The hotel lobby is home to the Long Bar, a hard-to-resist place to have a cocktail or glass of wine. The hotel’s signature Anantara Spa offers treatments based in ancient Chinese, Thai, and Indian modalities. An indoor infinity pool and a state-of-the-art fitness center round out the on-site amenities.
Best for Families: Kerry Hotel Pudong Shanghai
Kids will go wild for the outdoor playground, the pool and Adventure Zone, a giant (and impressively clean) indoor playground, including a ball pit and climbing apparatus located at the Kerry Hotel Pudong Shanghai, and parents will enjoy the in-house microbrewery and the top-quality gym and on-site spa. Everyone will like the huge all-day buffet (kids under six eat free) and the diversity of the hotel’s three restaurants, which make it easy to feed everyone. Rooms, outfitted with contemporary Asian décor in natural materials with touches of rich grey and warm gold, have huge windows offering impressive views of the city. Suites are available for families who would like a bit more space.
The hotel is set a bit away from the heart of the city, but it is adjacent to a large shopping mall a metro stop, and the large Century park, so basic shopping, travel, and recreation needs can be met within steps. It also happens to be located in the Pudong area, a short taxi ride from Shanghai Disneyland.
Best Business: Langham Shanghai Xintiandi
Business and leisure travelers alike will love the sleek, elegant design of this ultra-modern hotel at the end of the ritzy Huai Hai Road, a luxury shopping destination that some call “the Champs-Elysées of the East.” Of particular interest to the business traveler, though, are the 2000 square meters of adaptable meeting space. They’ll also enjoy the enhanced amenities of the Langham Club, included with suites or available for an extra daily fee: butler service, access to private lounges and a boardroom, international newspapers, garment pressing, and private “power breakfasts.” Multiple on-site restaurants and cafés are also available for business lunches and dinners.
For maximum relaxation on work breaks, a full-service spa, heated lap pool, and state-of-the-art fitness center are available. If guests would rather get out and see the sights, the Shanghai Museum and People’s Square are just blocks away. The Langham Shanghai Xintiandi’s guest rooms provide a soothing haven with their warm cream and dark wood decor, large modern bathrooms with separate tubs and rain-style showers, and fully modern electronics, lights, and charging stations.
Best Romance: Fairmont Peace Hotel
This two-building hotel, formerly known as the Cathay House and the Sassoon House, was once the crown jewel in the real estate empire of flamboyant magnate Sir Victor Sassoon, who lived in what is now the Presidential Suite on the 10th floor. Though it had been operating as a hotel since 1929, a massive renovation in 2007 brought this Art Deco masterpiece back to its former glory. For your romantic stay, choose one of the elegant guestrooms, complete with king-sized bed, claw-foot tub, and Art Deco furnishings. Better yet, upgrade to one of the bespoke Nine Nations suites, each of which is decorated in the glamorous historic style of a different country. The American Suite evokes old Hollywood glamour, the French Suite is appointed with Art Nouveau furnishings, the Japanese suite is furnished with a futon on a tatami and shoji screens, and so on. Pick your pleasure!
Couples can indulge in romantic couples’ massages, candlelit dinners overlooking the Bund at several on-site restaurants, and evening cocktails while listening to the Old Jazz Band, a cohort of octogenarian musicians who have been playing jazz in the legendary onsite Jazz Bar for decades. The Fairmont Peace Hotel’s convenient location at the heart of the Bund makes for easy access to the city’s finest shopping, dining, and museums.
Best Nightlife: Hotel Indigo Shanghai on the Bund
Young travelers will love sipping cocktails at the hip Hotel Indigo Shanghai’s rooftop bar. Its location at the rivers’ edge near the Bund and the exciting new Cool Docks shopping and entertainment complex puts plenty of other great nightlife options in arms’ reach, though it doesn’t get much better than music and drinks against the backdrop of the gorgeous city skyline.
The rooms are also to the taste of young travelers: sleek and modern, with brightly-colored pillows and rugs and quirky contemporary Asian touches like decorative paper lantern shades and huge photographic wall murals depicting traditional Chinese architecture. Bathrooms are large and high-tech, with deep tubs and rain-style walk-in showers, as well as programmable Japanese toilets. Three onsite restaurants and 24-hour room service will keep you fed, a large fitness center and indoor pool will keep you fit, and complimentary WiFi will keep you connected.
Best Luxury: The Peninsula Shanghai
The Peninsula Shanghai has successfully recreated a golden era in Shanghai’s past: the Art Deco 1920s and 1930s. Every detail of the hotel’s design, décor, and service hearkens back to this time, from the pill-box-hatted bellhops who greet you under the elegant glass entrance portico right down to the tufted headboards and gold-embroidered shams on each bed. It’s not all old-fashioned, though: the bathrooms are thoroughly modern and include a walk-in shower and a soaking tub big enough for two.
Breakfast is included and includes both European-style baked goods and Chinese and Japanese breakfast options. Afternoon high tea in the lobby is a must-do experience for visitors, who can also choose throughout the day from an on-site Cantonese restaurant, Li Yong Court, a snack bar, and an in-room dining menu that includes a variety of international options, as well as multiple bars, one of which is a rooftop bar with a fantastic view. An on-site full-service spa, fitness center, and pool offer relaxation and refreshment. The Peninsula is in the heart of the bustling Bund, with its abundance of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Need a trip to the airport or train station? The Peninsula will send you in one of its fleet of Rolls-Royce and BMW cars.
Best Views: Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai at Pudong
It’s hard to find a bad view in a high-rise hotel in downtown Shanghai, as the city truly has one of the world’s most spectacular skylines, but to experience it at its very best, put on your swimsuit. No, really! The Four Seasons Shanghai has an infinity pool on the 41st floor with a view that overlooks the famous Oriental Pearl Tower and the rest of gorgeous Pudong. Conveniently, many of the hotel’s rooms and suites share a similar view, so if late-night dips in the pool aren’t your thing, you can still enjoy it.
Rooms are decorated to the Four Seasons’ impeccable standards, with modern furniture, muted colors, ample lighting options, and marble bathroom fixtures. Luxe toiletries from parfumier Lorenzo Villoresi are complimentary. An on-site full-service spa and salon are available, as is a fitness center. Foodies will enjoy both the Italian fare in the chic Camelia and the upscale Cantonese offerings of Shàng-Xí. Guests will enjoy easy access to the nearby metro stop, as well as all of the dining and shopping on offer in Shanghai’s rapidly-growing Pudong business district.