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Tried & Tested: Shanghai


Shanghai S


author: Lee Cobaj


hanghai is a city that gives and keeps on giving. On arrival, visitors are transported from


the airport into town on the Maglev train at a near-silent 250mph. Along the way, a Blade Runner-like landscape of sky-puncturing architecture, swirling flyovers and neon-lit roads streaked with Ferraris flashes past. On the other side of the Huangpu


River, there’s the historic Bund with the largest collection of Art Deco buildings in Asia, the parks and breezy avenues of the Former French Concession, and alleyways and terracotta-topped “lilongs” (laneways) of Xintiandi. You’ll also find a scorching arts scene, eclectic nightlife, giant museums, super street food and excellent shopping. Stack all this up alongside a


welcoming cosmopolitan vibe – and the introduction of a 72-hour transit visa for UK citizens back in 2013 – and it’s easy why you should be putting Shanghai on clients’ radar. It’s all topped off with an


abundance of great accommodation; for the past decade, luxury hotels have been shooting up across the city quicker than bamboo. And the room boom shows no sign of slowing. The 508-room Jing An Shangri-La arrived on the scene last year, while upcoming openings include a sky-piercing W in the north Bund and a Bulgari hotel in the riverside Zhabei district. Also new will be the J Hotel, which will be the world’s highest when it takes its place later this year between the 84th to 110th storeys of the 632-metre high Shanghai Tower, the second tallest building in the world to Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. Our pick of five hotels remain


standard-bearers, while the Four Seasons Hangzhou, resting on the willow-lined edges of the West Lake, has all the makings of a wonderful watercolour-pretty side-trip.


The Puli


Tucked down a tiny bamboo-lined lane in jumping Jing An, The Puli offers a hefty dose of contemporary Shanghai glam, alongside sleek, smart service. Designed within an inch of its life, stepping into the lobby feels like walking on to the set of a Tom Ford advert; all glossy black floors, minimalist lines, arresting artworks and shadowy lighting. Rooms are similarly sexy with dark wood, crisp white beds and huge soapstone bathtubs. The Long Bar is a popular haunt for fashionable types – particularly in the summer when you’ll find them sprawled on day beds across the terrace – and the Jing ‘An Restaurant serves a seasonal international menu with a brush of Asian influences. The Anantara Spa may not rival those of some of the larger luxury groups here, but its Zen-like swimming pool and secret water chambers are spectacular. Rooms: 229 rooms from £595pn, room only. Tel: 0086 21 3203 9999, thepuli.com


The Langham Xintiandi


This hotel embodies the low-key, high-style atmosphere of the trendy Xintiandi area. In the lobby, contemporary Chinese artworks sit alongside shining marble floors and glossy white pillars, huge chandeliers, egg chairs and circular sofas. The amber-hued guest rooms come with designer furnishings, fresh


flowers and fancy bathrooms, making them feel boutique rather than boring. Free Wi-Fi, late check-outs and lounge access (which includes all day nibbles, afternoon tea and evening cocktails) makes a room upgrade a worthwhile extravagance. Whether it’s for dim sum or an evening banquet T’ang Court is a highlight. As is the subterranean Chuan Spa, where therapists trained in traditional Chinese medicine techniques can snap even the most desk-weary necks and shoulders back into place. Rooms: 357 rooms from £265pn, room only. Tel: 00 86 21 2330 2288, langhamhotels.com


TRIED & TESTED  SUMMER 2015  TTGLUXURY.COM  73


It’s hard to think of an Asian city that has changed so dramatically in such a short space of modern time and with relaxed visa rules, anyone can make a flying visit to see for themselves and to take their pick of some of the best hotels around


Designer digs


location


Great


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