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Content accurate at time of publication
01 Jan 2012
The essential quick guide for discerning travellers
BY AMY FABRIS-SHI
To fully appreciate the city’s magnetism and size, head to its sky-high cocktail lounges. Sitting atop Hotel Indigo Shanghai on the Bund, Char’s 30th-floor roof terrace is a hipster haunt for cocktails, with wraparound skyline vistas of Pudong. Across Huangpu River, Flair (above), on the 58th floor of The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai serves Asian-inspired tapas and tipples accompanied by stunning after-dark views. For panoramas from Shanghai World Financial Center, the city’s tallest tower, take the ear-popping express elevator to its Skywalk observatory on the 100th floor.
Relive Shanghai’s 1930s Paris of the Orient heyday at recently revived heritage hotspots. Opened in 1929, Fairmont Peace Hotel’s (above) bold Art Deco facade with its green “pyramid” is a beloved Shanghai icon, while its sepia-toned lobby and gallery museum are a delightful step back in time. The Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund occupies the hallowed white marble halls of the 1911 Shanghai Club, once an exclusive gentlemen’s club. A stiff drink at its legendary Long Bar is a Shanghai rite of passage.
Clustered next to the Bund, local designers’ boutiques offer fashionable pieces infused with Shanghai chic. Suzhou Cobblers (right) features handcrafted and embroidered silk slippers in vibrant gem tones, while Blue Shanghai White (17 Fuzhou Lu, Room 103, Tel: 86 21 6323 0856) sells contemporary porcelain fired in the kilns of porcelain capital Jingdezhen in Jiangxi. Turning heads in haute fashion circles are young designers like Uma Wang and her gothic-inspired fashion and hand-stitched knitwear, and Tali Wu’s Flying Scissors which specialises in punk-glam bags.
For upscale Shanghainese cuisine in a 1930s villa setting, Fu 1088 (375 Zhenning Lu, Tel: 86 21 5239 7878) dishes up local favourites like red-braised pork belly and drunken chicken in butler-serviced private rooms. For international flavours, locals head to Peruvian chef Eduardo Vargas’ Chicha Lounge at new dining enclave Sinan Mansions on Fuxing Lu for piquant ceviche (marinated raw fish) and cocktails like Pisco Sour. Mod-European fare is on the menu at Table No. 1 by Jason Atherton. Try the braised beef cheeks with snails in bone marrow or the beef sirloin with potatoes (right).
Chinese spa therapy is the perfect antidote to Shanghai’s frenetic energy. Local chain Green Massage (Suite 202, West Retail Plaza, Shanghai Centre, 1376 Nanjing West Road, Tel: 86 21 6289 7776) offers well-priced Chinese acupressure massages and foot reflexology. Anantara Spa in The Puli Hotel and Spa building in Jingan district boasts a treatment menu inspired by the healing powers of Chinese tea. Choose from treatments ranging from green tea wraps to white tea scrubs, and excellent massages.
PHOTOS CHRISTOPHER CYPERT / TABLE NO. 1 BY JASON ATHERTON, SHANGHAI / COURTESY SUZHOU COBBLERS