While Beijing is still the most popular city in China for visitors to the country, those who have the time and inclination to travel outside the capital will find that it is, in fact, not Beijing but Shanghai that offers tourists the most varied, bewitching and magical taste of this mysterious nation.
What’s more, while the capital offers many historic attractions and modern day wonders, if you’re looking for a little luxury accommodation during your stay there is no better destination in China than Shanghai, the home of countless high-end hotels and luxury boutique accommodations. Here are just a few that may catch your eye.
1. Glass-bottom Swimming Pool @ The Holiday Inn Shanghai Pudong Kangqiao
A room with a view is always high on the shopping list for vacationers, but in the middle of the city visitors rarely consider the possibility of a pool with a view. At Holiday Inn’s Pudong Kangqiao hotel, though, visitors can experience what has been described as the scariest pool on the planet.
Situated high on the 24th floor, the 30-meter pool of the Pudong Kangqiao is at first glance nothing out of the ordinary. When you dive beneath the blue waters, though, you’ll discover the secret. The outer edge of the pool forms an overhang 24 storeys above the bustling streets of Shanghai, with the glass bottom offering a staggering – and perhaps startling – view of this beautiful city from the most unusual angle imaginable.
2. Cupcake Ladies night @ The Marriot Renaissance Shanghai Zhongshan Park
With luxurious rooms, a central location and its connection to transport links its biggest selling points – the Marriot is directly connected to Metro lines 2, 3 and 4, and the hotel is just 18 minutes by rail from Hongqiao Airport – the Renaissance was voted one of the top ten business hotels in China by the 2010 Asia Hotel Forum.
The Marriot is the perfect base from which to do business in Shanghai. While the guest rooms themselves are well appointed, luxurious and surprisingly good value, the hotel also offers ideal meeting places for clients and partners. The Azur and Celadon restaurants offer delicious European and Asian dishes – along with stunning views of the Shanghai skyline – and the pool, sauna, gym and solarium give visitors the chance to stay in shape on their down time.
The Zpark Bar at the Renaissance has recently taken the city – or, at least, that part of it that loves cupcakes – by storm with a new event, Girl Bonding, a free ladies night cupcakes extravaganza that draws in revelers from all over the city. Cupcakes and free sangria are on offer between 8-11 every Saturday night at this classy, high end night spot.
3. Built-in Micro-Brewery @ The Shangri-La Kerry Hotel Pudong
It may surprise you to learn that Shanghai has a long history as the home of some of the best beers in China. Thanks to decades of immigration from the nations of Europe Shanghai became a much more multicultural city than most others in China, and with it came the expertise to brew the tastiest beers in the land.
Pudong’s Kerry Hotel keeps up this fine Shanghai heritage with the first on-site brewery of any Shanghai 5 star hotel. The brewery crafs five signature beers and one cider, each of which draw beer lovers for miles around.
4. Highest Hostel Room in the World @ The Shanghai Park Hyatt
Speaking of alcohol, no visit to a city such as Shanghai would be complete without a trip to a bar with awe-inspiring views of the city. The Park Hyatt offers such a bar, 91 floors above the Shanghai streets in a hotel that became the world’s tallest when it opened in 2008, stealing the title from the Grand Hyatt just across the street.
The 91st floor bar at the Hyatt is one of the world’s best sky bars, offering both a bar and restaurant with three-storey ceiling and enormous windows offering stunning views across all of Shanghai.
5. Le Royal Meridien
As one of the most luxurious hotels in Asia, Le Royal Meridien is a destination only for those with the resources to splash out. Located at the western end of the Nanjing Lu Pedestrian Mall the hotel has the best spot in Shanghai, just steps from the best shops, museums, galleries and attractions of the city.
Inside the hotel itself you’ll find every detail perfect. The stunning modern design of the lobby and public areas has won plaudits from around the world, as have the floor to ceiling rooms that offer breathtaking views from every one of the 761 guestrooms. Four world class restaurants, a heated indoor swimming pool, well-stocked gym, lounge, bar and world class concierge service make it clear the Le Royal Meridien deserves its five star rating.
Perhaps the most interesting draw at Le Royal Meridien right now are the splurging, high end brunches available most days of the week. The hotel’s Naughty Nurse Sunday brunch offers a wide variety of delicious meals and plenty of Moet and Chandon champagne, and to entertain the kids there are Playstations hooked up to bg screens in the salon, along with enough shakes, candy and lollipops to keep them entertained while you enjoy a fantastic brunch.