Like many great metropolises in China, Shanghai can be an explosion of sensory experiences. The bright lights are blinding, the street food permeates the air, and there’s a fusion of ancient splendor meets brave new world as temples sit humbly beneath glittering skyscrapers and luxury hotels. Hailed as the Paris of the East, Shanghai comes with a certain style. The city may be hectic, but behind the scenes is an oasis on Zen. From urban spa retreats to evocative foodie performances, lavish cruises along the river and pricey shopping – this is how to discover Shanghai.
Where to Stay
Being a buzzword for elite business travelers, Shanghai doesn’t fall shy of high end places to rest your head. The city is a hub of shimmering skyscrapers, haughty hotel rooms, and signature suites drenched in opulence. Book a suite at The Peninsula, one of Shanghai’s flagship hotels. Nestled on the historic Bund you couldn’t ask for a better location to soak up China’s illustrious culture. The Peninsular Suite always a firm favorite with visiting dignitaries and offers a grand dining room, marble bathroom, working fireplace and balcony, and exceptional views over The Bund and the Huangpu River.
Visitors seeking an urban oasis in the heart of the fast-paced city will adore The Puli Hotel and Spa. Tea themed treatments, handcrafted luxury at every turn, and a team so intuitive when it comes to customer service that you truly will want for nothing. Suites are exquisitely Zen and with a 24 hour butler to hand; life is pure comfort. The spa calls on ancient therapies to realign your balance – an important asset when visiting a hectic city. Alongside old world treatments, guests can also indulge in inspired dining in the gorgeous garden terrace or in the Michelin starred Phenix.
Park Hyatt is the world’s tallest hotel spelling out exquisite views for the guests lucky enough to grab a room at this 101-floor wonder. The Chairman Suite is the place to linger lovingly over the extraordinary views, along with making the most of your private chef, oriental bathing area, and sublime spa tub. When you can tear yourself away from the comfort of your room the hotel boasts a bounty of first class experiences, including a beautiful infinity pool, elegant afternoon tea, nightclub, several signature restaurants and an in-house spa.
Where to Dine
Shanghai is a multilayered foodie paradise for those who adore the clash of east meets west. From melt in the mouth street food dumplings to one of the world’s most expensive restaurants – there is no formula for how to lose yourself in the finery of food.
For the most extraordinary and extravagant experience in Shanghai be sure to book a table at the illuminating Ultraviolet. The concept restaurant is the prestigious owner of 3 Michelin stars and is a multisensory extravaganza. Food here is mythical and theatrical – but not just on the plate. Video screen walls, music, the servers Chef Paul Pairet are all working in harmony to push boundaries to breaking point. Dinners here last for four hours and are designed to carve every morsel into your memory. Bookings are tough to get but this is a once in a lifetime experience.
Hyatt on the Bund is more than a high-class hotel, it is also home to one of Shanghai’s signature restaurants. Xinadlu China Kitchen is famed for offering an authentic regional menu that brings to life the loving mythology of ancient tastes and flavors. The sleek and modern décor makes an excellent backdrop for peking duck that falls from the bone and braised pork so tender it would make you weep.
When you get tired of food from the far east, be sure to head for 8½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA. After its roaring success in Hong Kong, the Italian eatery has opened another dreamy venue in Shanghai. It’s the only Italian restaurant outside of Italy with the bragging rights to 3 Michelin stars. From deconstructed tiramisu to rare red tuna and bottarga eggs served with trenette pasta, and a wine list to match the best sommelier cellars in Tuscany – the result is sure to leave Shanghai as stunned the second time around.
Where to Play
Shanghai is sure to dazzle; the city is a whirlwind of wealthy wonder and eastern exploration. You could spend well-heeled hours just wandering around The Bund absorbing the gallery of international architecture that seems to call on every corner of the globe. The shaded tree lined avenues, hip café culture, and array of beautiful boutiques have helped Shanghai claim the name ‘The Paris of the East’.
Drift along the Huangpu River on a night sight cruise of the city as you sip champagne on deck. There is nothing more spectacular than Shanghai at night, the city turns into a kaleidoscope of neon lights, soaked up by the inky black of the winding river. Those who are in Shanghai to splurge will adore a trip down Nanjing road. This famous stretch is Shanghai’s version of Fifth Avenue in NYC and one of the best places to pick up exotic folds of silk, exquisite jade jewelry and designer wares from world class boutiques.