Few cities evoke as much history, mystique, and glamour as exotic Shanghai does. Its vertigo-inducing skyline is peppered with a smattering of modernist and art-deco structures that include everything from Buddhist temples to shopping malls. In fact, Shanghai’s skyline famously has some of the most skyscrapers in the world! What’s more, the city promises to be exciting arts, culinary, shopping, and fashion destination as well, which certainly warrant more than just a day or two to explore. The city’s opulence spills over to its accommodation too; some of the best hotels in Shanghai also happen to be luxury galore. So, while you’re looking in on hotels, make sure to check on the best luxury ones in the area as well – who knows what you might find?
But what part of Shanghai should you be looking at? Whizzing around the glittering, gritty city is easy enough with the subway, but you need to decide which neighborhood is the best for you. Culture and history buffs will love the Bund and People’s Square, which packs all of the city’s iconic landmarks in one spot. The designer-esque Jing’an gives off an international vibe, while Old Town is perfect for glimpsing the ‘traditional’ side of Shanghai. The French Concession is Shanghai at its colonial and charming best, while Pudong is where you can glimpse the city’s famed, glitzy skyline. Finally, shopaholics will find their paradise in Xujiahui and South Shanghai.
Clearly, Shanghai is a vast and buzzing metropolis with as many neighborhoods as facets to its persona. We’ve broken down part of the puzzle for you by listing the 11 best hotels in Shanghai, China. So, go ahead and read about the best places to put your feet up while exploring the ‘Pearl of the Orient.’
Mandarin Oriental Pudong
Jaw-dropping views of the Pudong skyline, the North Bund, and the Huangpu River make the Mandarin Oriental Pudong one of the best places to stay at. Not only is the dizzyingly high Shanghai Tower nearby, but also the hotel car drops guests at the Lujiazui subway station as well.
A show-stopping lobby features a marvelous marble floor, geometric chandeliers, and a spectacular colored glass wall. The entire place is peppered with Chinese art that belongs in a museum. Likewise, the services and amenities here are impeccable. The decadent indoor swimming pool feels heavenly on a particularly sultry day, while fitness freaks will love the hi-tech gym. For a little extra, you can indulge in lavish dining and drinking all day at the luxurious Club Lounge. If that wasn’t enough, you can also relax royally in the glimmering gold spa which also has whirlpool tubs and a crystal steam room. Last, but not least, there is also a range of dining options.
Rooms at the Mandarin Oriental are beautifully and luxuriously furnished in chocolate browns, bronze, and molten golds shot with peacock green and powder blue. Hi-tech mod-cons aside, the rooms also boast plush marble bathrooms and panoramic views of the Shanghai skyline.
The Shanghai EDITION hotel
Spanning two 1929 Art-Deco heritage structures right near the Bund waterfront is the luxurious yet laid-back Shanghai EDITION. Those staying here are surrounded by a laundry list of nightlife, dining, and shopping options, apart from a bevy of historical architecture as well.
The snazzy hotel fuses global razzmatazz with luxury elements that are innate and native to Shanghai. The entire hotel sports an understated chic look with vibrant velvets and rustic oak and walnut elements sprinkled with leafy foliage. A sensuous swimming pool, a yoga terrace, and a 24-hour gym keep the recreation and wellness elements well in check. The breezy spa overlooking the city skyline takes the relaxation factor to the next level. With nine drinking and dining venues, guests are literally spoilt for choice when it comes to the decadence of the gastronomic kind. However, do not miss the two rooftop bars that offer jaw-dropping panoramas of the Shanghai skyline.
Lowkey comfort and luxury is the theme with the hotel’s 145 rooms. A simple white-marble-and-light-oak palette is ramped up by faux-fur throws and eccentric black-and-white photography. What’s more, the views, the luxurious bathrooms and bath products, and the bed linens add to the lavishness.
The PuLi Hotel And Spa
Even though it lies right in the heart of the jazzy Jing’an, the PuLi Hotel & Spa nestled behind a bamboo screen feels like a luxurious hideaway.
The lobby is all about spotlighted antiques, minimalist lines, and polished black stone flooring. The hotel boasts a plethora of amenities, of which the best is the incredible swimming pool with lovely views of the green Jing’an Park. The glossy Long Bar is the perfect place to grab a sundowner or a nightcap. Indulge in some wonderful R&R at the wellness center with its steam rooms, saunas, and jet pools. However, relaxation is rife at the spa, which boasts of all kinds of massages and treatments in exquisite, teak-lined treatment rooms. The icing on the cake is the low-lit library with a fireplace for the winter, and the outdoor terrace in summer.
Above all, the PuLi boasts 229 sleek and chic rooms with crisp and comfy beds and lashings of dark wood. The highlight is undoubtedly the huge soapstone window-side bathtubs with gorgeous panoramas over the city.
The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong
Luxury is an understatement at the vivacious Art Deco treasure that is Ritz-Carlton, one of the best hotels to grace the Shanghai skyline. And atop this treasure on the 58th floor sits its crown jewel – the alfresco rooftop lounge Flair, which is the greatest vantage point in the city.
Visitors are welcomed into an intime yet indulgent hexagonal lobby with Art Deco chandeliers cushioned seating, and rich, crimson walls. The space is reminiscent of the 1930s-era, what with the soft jazz soundtrack playing in the background. Choose to eat Italian or Cantonese fare at the restaurants, or enjoy a sundowner treat at the Flair lounge. Don’t miss out on the Chinese therapies at the award-winning Ritz-Carlton Spa, which is decadent to boot. The sky-high swimming pool is equally unreal and ethereal, and a mere swim here makes for memories of a lifetime. Rooms feature warm wood furnishings peppered with Art Deco touches like geometric, textured walls. If you thought the window-front sofa is brilliant, wait till you get to the winged bathtubs in the glamorous marble bathrooms.
What’s more, the Ritz-Carlton is also excellently positioned for those who want to stay on the Pudong side of the Huangpu River, as transport, entertainment, and dining options are aplenty.
Fairmont Peace Hotel
Fans of old-world 1930s Shanghai will love the cynosure and ground-zero of sorts from that era, the Fairmont Peace Hotel. Today, a thoughtfully designed facelift has rendered the hotel modern and contemporary to boot, and more than proficient in dealing with the 21st century. What’s more, the Fairmont Peace Hotel sits at the intersection of the riverside Bund and the city’s main shopping artery, Nanjing Road. So, when one steps outside, it’s like stepping right into futuristic Shanghai.
The hotel is a refurbished version of the original 1929 Art Deco jewel ‘The Cathay.’ Today, the communist-era touches have been replaced with rooms that have marble bathrooms and blue and gold upholstery. Guests choosing to live in the nation-themed suites are transported back to India, Japan, and Britain of the 1930s. Moreover, the hotel does excellently on the service too. A spa with a nice range of treatments and an elegant indoor swimming pool is a welcome break from the crazed crowds of the city outside. Likewise, the Fairmont has wonderful dining and drinking options too. Of them all, the 30s Jazz Bar and the Jasmine lounge’s afternoon tea deserve special mention.
Staying at the Fairmont Peace is like a throwback to the swinging ’30s of Shanghai. While the amenities are utterly modern and chic, the rooms retain the original color scheme and Art Deco style, making your stay as memorable as it gets.
No one does extravagance better than the Amanyangyun, which is by far one of the best luxury hotels in Shanghai. Amanyangyun lies nestled amidst ancient camphor trees about an hour away from the city center and is completely worth it.
Ancient history molds the character of this resort, which features 13 antique villas from the Qing and Ming dynasties. Originally lying in the city of Fuzhou, the preserved villas were carried, piece by piece, to form Amanyangyun. Their design including the black stone, wooden latticework, and even the courtyard are authentic to the Ming and Qing eras. What’s more, it also throws minimalism into the mix, resulting in a 21st-century place with glorious glimpses of ancient China. The massive cedar-and-slate spa, pilates/yoga studios, gym, Russian banya, and the swimming pools make the resort a foremost wellness destination too. The resort also has three restaurants, and breakfast is a scrumptious and hearty affair. However, the most unique of them all is that the resort has nine tearooms. Here, lessons are regularly held in tea making, incense making, and calligraphy.
Guests can choose from 24 Ming courtyard suites, each of which has two courtyards flanking the bedroom. Moreover, one courtyard has an outdoor shower, while the other has an onsen (traditional Japanese hot spring bath). The spacious, light-filled rooms feature muted hues, the signature Aman minimalist aesthetic, and plush bathrooms. The antique villa complexes even have nanmu wood interiors, which were once reserved for the Imperial family.
Four Seasons Shanghai Hotel at Puxi
The crowd-pleaser that is the Four Seasons Shanghai is perfect for both leisure and business travelers. Why, exactly? Because it not only has free access to some of the city’s best museums but also features a host of business-centric facilities and luxuries that executives are bound to love.
The Four Seasons is nestled on the quieter fringes of Jing’an on the Puxi side of the Huangpu River. It boasts of regal interiors with Chinese artwork, modish chandeliers, and high-backed velvet sofas. The Qin Spa with its ‘Forbidden City’ setting and range of wraps, scrubs, and massages is a real relaxation zone. Apart from contemporary amenities like the swimming pool and the gym, the hotel’s innate excellence lies in many ‘Shanghai’ experiences it offers. One of the best amongst these is the colonial-era Zhang Garden photography tour. Additionally, there’s a superb breakfast to start your day with. Plus, you can guzzle free alcohol all day long at the 37th-floor executive club.
Rooms are split into modern and pre-refurbished ones, all of which feature fluffy beds, fluffier bathrobes, and modernized bathrooms. Overall, staying at the Four Seasons Shanghai is an experience that you won’t forget easily.
The Middle House
One of the best fashionable luxury hotels in Shanghai for the younger jet set is the Middle House. It lies smack dab in the middle of it all on the busy Nanjing Road and is an excellent base to explore all that Shanghai has to offer.
Tucked behind a wall of lush green foliage, the architecture of the Middle House echoes the local shikumen (stone-gate) style. A collection of low-slung sofas and cutting-edge Chinese art greets you as you walk in. The centerpiece of the welcoming lobby is the showstopper of a glittering Venetian chandelier. A super-hearty à la carte breakfast with local and international delicacies is an excellent way to start the day. The twilight zone-ish basement features black porcelain-bamboo buttresses and glowing white walls and houses the R&R section of the hotel. A Hypoxsi room, yoga studio, gym, sauna, and swimming pool takes care of all your workout and relaxation needs. However, it is the Mi Xun Spa’s signature treatments that will melt all your stresses away.
Rooms at the Middle House are spacious and stylish to boot. They’re decked out in elegant colors of navy, nutmeg, and charcoal, with nifty touches such as Chinese calligraphy headboards. Apart from complimentary touches like a stacked minibar and Lululemon yoga mats, the rooms also boast large, spacious, and glass-walled bathrooms.
Capella Shanghai, Jian Ye Li
Are you craving to live the high-flying traditional Shanghai life? Then, there’s no place better than the all-villa urban luxury hotel of Capella Shanghai, Jian Ye Li. The tree-lined heritage resort lies in the shikumen lanes of the charming and soulful French Concession neighborhood. So, visitors enjoy the rare treat of living in seclusion and peace in the very heart of Shanghai’s urban sprawl.
The resort radiates the 1930s’ French settlers’ vibe with secret gardens adorned by bronze sculptures and flowering vines. Service is given the highest attention, whether it is personal assistants for guests or booking spa appointments for them. Additionally, the hotel also has a slew of modern comforts. These include a fabulous restaurant run by a Michelin-starred chef, the Auriga Spa, a 24-hour gym, an indoor pool, and even a salt-wall lounge.
40 villas and 55 private residences with lush inner courtyards and stone approaches are the very epitomai of the good life. They are spread over multiple levels and connected centrally, thus exemplifying classic Shanghai lane house architecture. Likewise, rooms are a modern take on classic 1930s French-Chinoiserie style. They feature private courtyards and traditional redwood-framed windows, hi-tech mod-cons lending them the comfort and luxury factor.
Meliá Shanghai Hongqiao
If you’re craving a bit off-the-beaten-path luxury, look no further than the Meliá Shanghai Hongqiao. The chic hotel is as close to central Shanghai as it is to the gorgeous and historic waterfront town of Zhujiaojiao, offering guests the best of both worlds.
The Meliá builds on the relaxed residential vibe by filling the space with vibrant, modern art, hardwood floors, and lively custom furnishings. The in-house restaurant doles out both Chinese as well as Spanish specialties to satiate those cravings. However, it’s the wellness facilities that have been spared great thought, what with the heavenly pool, the well-equipped gym and the Indo-Chinese-inspired Yhi Spa. So, the location, along with the verdant gardens and wellness facilities, make the hotel a great place to stay.
Apart from the low-rise structure, the resort also has many villas with traditional Chinese courtyards for families and larger groups. The delightful rooms feature mod-Asian designs with spacious marble bathrooms, garden-view balconies, and dark wood embellishments. For a good bit of indulgence, try their Level rooms whose guests have access to a premier club that has a sunlit private lounge area with cocktail hair and knick-knacks.
Okura Garden Hotel
Luxury doesn’t always have to be expensive, as the lovely Okura Garden Hotel in Shanghai shows us. Tucked away in the heart of the French Concession, the hotel is a fabulous base for those interesting in exploring the winding bylanes of the old colonial neighborhood.
The lobby and the beautifully manicured gardens date back to the 1920s, with the rooms housed in a tower block atop them. The second-floor, sun-kissed indoor swimming pool is rather a favorite and makes for an intimate space for a quiet swim. Food is a serious business here, with the breakfast being a hearty buffet with western and Chinese staples, as well as Japanese dishes. The 33rd-floor Sky Bar and teppanyaki restaurants offer gorgeous panoramas of the Shanghai skyline. What’s more, there’s also a fitness studio for gym rats and a spa for those who want a bit of indulgence.
Rooms have a distinct hint of Japanese hospitality and culture, along with a slew of mod-cons. If you fancy great views, go in for the south-facing rooms that enjoy expansive views over the 7-acre gardens.
Recommended Restaurants / Bars / Food Tours in Shanghai:
- Old Shanghai Breakfast Food Tour: Breakfast is undoubtedly the most important meal of the day. Indulge in what is one of Shanghai’s most amazing food tours that takes you on a delish food trip of the city’s most authentic local dishes.
- Speak Low: Now, who wouldn’t want to visit a speakeasy that not only doles out amazing cocktails but is also on the list of the ‘World’s 50 best bars’ list? Three stories of extravagant cocktails await behind a secret passageway in a bar tools store!
Recommended Activities In Shanghai:
- Shanghai – Walking Tour of the Bund: The Bund is easily Shanghai’s most fascinating neighborhood. Explore this historic area on this amazing 2-hour guided walking tour.
- HuangPu – Night Cruise: The mighty Huangpu meanders through Shanghai much like an undulant dragon. Enjoy a relaxing night cruise along this majestic river while enjoying the twinkling lights of Shanghai.