Why Is This Place so Great?
Welcome to China’s largest city. With a population of over 20 million, it’s the world’s third most populated city in the world. Due to its history of foreign occupation, the city had been divided into three sections: French, British, and American.
To this day, a lot of the architecture built during those times have been maintained. Since then, Shanghai has become a Mega City, and its new skyscrapers reflect that. Although the world’s tallest building still belongs to Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, Shanghai’s not far behind with the Shanghai Tower declared as the world’s second tallest building at 2074 feet. Shanghai is also known for its distinct culinary style and is home to Xiaolong Bao (dumplings filled with soup), and its bread-y counterpart Shengjian Bao (pan-fried bun filled with meat and soup).
Be prepared to eat some amazing food here!
Where Should I Stay?
For Luxury Choose: Park Hyatt
Photo of the Hotel’s Park King Room. Courtesy of the Park Hyatt Shanghai
Sleep in the skies with the Park Hyatt. This hotel is the tallest in Shanghai, occupying floors 79 to 93 of the Shanghai World Financial Center, and is amongst one of the top ten tallest hotels in the world. Their 174 rooms and suites are designed with a minimalist concept in order to showcase the real beauty behind this hotel – the views. Their spa features state of the art gym equipment, a 65-foot infinity pool, and even a Tai Chi Courtyard where complimentary classes are held by a Tai Chi Master to boast tranquility.
For Lifestyle Choose: URBN Hotel
Photo of the Hotel’s Studio Room. Courtesy of URBN Hotel Shanghai
URBN Hotel is an eco-boutique style accommodation designed by New York’s celebrity designer, Jay Godfrey, and is proudly China’s first carbon neutral hotel. All materials used to develop the hotel are recycled and reclaimed local materials. Even their beds are made out of 100% natural materials containing coconut fiber, horsehair, and natural rubber to promote chemical-free living. If you decide you love the mattress, you can purchase one and have it sent to your home. Get an in-room spa or beauty treatment using their all-natural products, or dine in their seafood bistro, where all dishes and drinks are served with sustainably and locally sourced products.
For Boutique Choose: Waterhouse At South Bund
Photo of the Room Type “Copula”. Courtesy of the Waterhouse at South Bund
Originally the Japanese army headquarters in the 1930s, the Waterhouse at South Bund has been transformed into a 19-room boutique hotel that provides spectacular views of the Huangpu River and city skyline. This hotel has been expertly designed by Neri&Hu to showcase the building in a trendy way to show the old and the new. With its exteriors looking old, untouched, and tattered, you would never think that the accommodation within would look so amazing!
What should I do?
Luxury: Get a Chinese Massage
One must get a massage while traveling in China. In Chinese culture, massages are used to detox the body by clearing lymph nodes by pressing on acupuncture points. Consequently, depending on your wellness condition, you can feel a lot of pain during your treatment. Don’t worry though! The feeling’s completely normal and only temporary (usually more pronounce the day after the treatment). Although many luxury hotels have their own spas (which we’re sure are great!) we recommend going a little more local to a chain like Dragonfly to experience the real thing. This chain has eight establishments across the city and has employees who can converse in English.
Lifestyle: Bouldering on the West Bund
If it’s not already there, put the Riverside Promenade (along the Huangpu river) on your list! It’s a great place to go for a stroll, or jog, to take in the city skyline during day or night. Whilst there, go for a free climb on their public bouldering space near Dong’an Lu. They’ve got routes built for beginners as well as professionals. Just be aware that some holds can be a little loose, so test them out before leaning your weight on it!
Boutique: Sing KTV
Shanghai is known for its great nightlife, and part of that trend has gone towards KTV (Karaoke Television). Karaoke is done a little differently in Asia, where they rent soundproofed rooms out to groups of people equipped with microphones, sound systems, and a television to play all the sing-a-long videos. Great news – the language barrier won’t be an issue for if you don’t speak Chinese! Most of these KTV establishments have numerous English songs programmed into them. Some of our top picks are:
- K Party – this is a Taiwanese chain that has made its way to Shanghai. It’s got a great song selection and reasonably priced drinks. The best one to go to is at the SML Centre above Dapuqiao metro station because they’ve got retro style standing microphones to make anyone feel like a rock star whilst belting out those notes.
- V-Show – this KTV chain has different themed rooms. Step into the world of Astro Boy, Audrey Hepburn, or Hello Kitty for a couple hours while singing to some tunes. They are surprisingly up to date with songs, with new hits on the Billboard charts amongst their song selections.
- MuseK – we recommend MuseK to our high rollers. This joint is endorsed by Chinese Pop Singer and actress Carina Lau. Each room exudes luxury and has been fully equipped with leather sofas, touch screen song selectors, a personal bartender, cameras to make your own music videos. You may even rent a larger room that includes a pool table, ensuite bathroom, and dining tables.
Where Should I Eat?
Luxury: Bo Shanghai (1 Michelin Star)
Chef Alvin Leung, the creator of the three-star Michelin restaurant Bo Innovation in Hong Kong, has brought his innovative cuisine to Shanghai with a twist – presenting the public with a speakeasy-style restaurant. The establishment offers two different menus: 12 courses before 8pm and 7 courses after. We recommend Bo because each dish is meant to reflect the combination of the eight different Chinese cooking techniques. Been before? The menu changes every 3 months, so you’re bound to taste something new!
Address: 6F, Bund 5, 20 Guangdong Road, Huangpu, Shanghai
Lifestyle: Wu Jie on the Bund (1 Michelin Star)
Photo of the Restaurant’s Stone Pot Lion’s Mane Mushroom with two kinds of chili sauce. Courtesy of Wujie’s Facebook Page
If you’re vegetarian, we understand how difficult it can be eating in China. However, there’s no need to worry about this at Wu Jie. The head chef has meticulously designed his menu to use different Chinese philosophies of cooking to make an entirely vegetarian menu. Wait there’s more! You won’t need to worry about language barriers here either. The menu is presented on an iPad, which makes ordering a whole lot easier.
Address: 4F, Bund 22, 22 Zhongshan Dong Er Road, Huangpu, Shanghai
Boutique: UltraViolet by Paul Pairet
(4D Dining Experience – 3 Michelin Stars)
Photo of the Restaurant’s Dining Room. Courtesy of UltraViolet’s Instagram Page
Ultraviolet is the first restaurant in the world to experiment with matching food with multi-sensory technology in order to fully reach your “psycho taste”. With only one table and ten seats a night, the restaurant ensures that each patron is fully tended to and fully immersed in the experience. How does it work? You’re brought into a fully bare, white room that is accented by nature, dressed up by lights, sounds, smells, images, and imagination to enhance your 20-course meal. Complete with beverage pairings, you will have no worries upon stepping into the restaurant. Feel free to bring your own wine, but you’ll need to share the bottle with the entire table!
Address: Undisclosed. Confirmed guests will be notified of the meeting point and be let to Ultraviolet as a group.