What: No stranger to Shanghai, Four Seasons opened its first hotel in the city on the Puxi side of the Huangpu River in 2002. But when other hotels started popping up in the up-and-coming Pudong area on the eastern side the river, the brand followed suit and debuted Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai in September 2012. While its Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star sister property has a classic Americana vibe, Five-Star Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai is thoroughly 21st century. The glittering glass-and-steel tower fits right in with its skyscraping neighbors Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai World Financial Center and Shanghai Tower (China’s tallest structure). The 55-story hotel has 187 rooms from which you can take in the surrounding cityscape, including the futuristic Oriental Pearl Tower. Four Seasons Hotel Pudong offers access to a bevy of restaurants, but you’d be remiss not to go for dim sum at Shàng-Xí; chefs from Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong’s Five-Star Lung King Heen crafted the expansive menu here. And don’t forget to indulge in a massage or facial (or both) at Flare Spa, the only spa in China with signature Guerlain treatments.
Where: A quick walk from the Dongchang Road metro station on line 2, the Shanghai hotel sits on a stretch that’s bustling during the day and quiet come nightfall. Four Seasons Pudong is located in Lujiazui, the city’s Central Business District, ideal for business travelers with meetings in the neighborhood. Immediately surrounding the hotel are few restaurants and bars, but a 15-minute walk toward the river and you’ll find a duo of shopping malls packed with places to eat and drink. Super Brand Mall is home to salad joint Sproutworks, where visitors needing a break from local cuisine can tuck into a rotating menu of dishes rife with kale, quinoa and other healthy favorites. Across from Super Brand, in IFC mall, is a bevy of upmarket eateries, including Cantonese restaurant Lei Garden, which specializes in dim sum.
When: Shanghai’s summers are scorching and sticky; its winters, though cold and damp, are milder than those in northern Europe and the American East Coast. To avoid triple- and single-digit temperatures, schedule your visit for sometime between September and mid-November or mid-March and mid-June, when the air tends to be cleaner and the weather more temperate. Avoid the first week of October — when China celebrates its national day and millions of tourists flock to Shanghai — and Chinese New Year, when the city is practically shuttered and fireworks are shot off round-the-clock. If you plan to take day trips during your time in Shanghai, we recommend visiting Four Seasons Hotel Pudong’s tranquil sister hotel in Hangzhou — just be sure to book your train tickets in advance if your visit falls over a holiday weekend.
Why: Beyond the impeccable service for which Four Seasons has earned such a stellar reputation, the Pudong hotel is sleek and chic. Its gray marble floors and reception desk gleam. A double-height spiral staircase leading from the lobby to the second floor beckons grand entrances. In the lobby, sink into plush gray and beige armchairs, and flip through the stack of coffee-table books. The rooms’ color palette is the same, with red accent pillows and bedside reading lamps that are equal parts Art Deco and chinoiserie. But it’s the views that really command attention; ogle them through your room’s floor-to-ceiling windows or head to the top-floor infinity pool and Jacuzzi for sweeping vistas. From the 41st floor, gazing down at the rainbow of taxis that skirt along the skyscrapers, you’ll recognize why Shanghai is the city of the future.
Photos Courtesy of Four Seasons