With more than 50,000 rooms, Shanghai offers some of the world’s best accommodations, whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure. The city is filled with tons of big hotels and a few top middle-ground choices, but today we’re recommending Shanghai’s best boutique hotels — intimacy and character neatly wrapped up in 100 rooms or fewer.
One of Shanghai’s earliest boutique hotels, JIA’s 1920s exterior belies its sleek modern rooms. Jia means “home” in Mandarin and, indeed, with just 47 rooms and public areas meant to resemble a private residence, JIA is plenty homey. Though the hotel is just off one of Shanghai’s main thoroughfares, it’s tranquil and silent within.
Take in the neighboring greenery from the hotel’s roof deck, or stroll down the block to Fuxing Park, where locals ballroom dance, practice tai chi and spend the afternoons playing cards and mah jong. Along with 52 well-appointed rooms, Pudi houses a Champagne bar and a cigar room; use them to schmooze your future Chinese partners. The building is a beautifully preserved art deco structure.
On a quiet street just north of Jing’an Temple, URBN sits tucked away, its shady courtyard providing refuge for weary travelers and Shanghai denizens. The emphasis here is on green — not money, but the environment. URBN is China’s first carbon-neutral hotel, and the building itself is composed of wood that’s locally sourced and/or recycled. Add in an in-house water filtration system and environmentally friendly cleaning products, and you can feel good about staying here.
The Waterhouse at South Bund
It’s removed from downtown, it’s far from the metro, and there’s not too much in the immediate area, but that all adds to the draw of this 19-room hotel. The former 1930s military building was lovingly restored, emerging from three years of renovations, making it a bastion of industrial chic. In-house restaurant Table No. 1 is one of the few hotel establishments in Shanghai that regularly packs in people who actually live here, a testament to its food quality and service.
Photos Courtesy of The Waterhouse at South Bund, JIA Shanghai and URBN Hotels