Where to Stay

Lots of the nice character places are in the French Concession. Though we didn't check it out ourselves, I've heard that a hotel called Number Nine is the place to stay if you want a boutique style experience rather than a big modern hotel. They keep the contact details very low key, but you can find details in the Time Out guide.

We stayed at The Old House Inn down a little alley in a converted old lane house. There are some rooms which look lovely with four posters - ours was more basic. Its a simple place, but really reasonable and a good location for the evenings. It has a FANTASTIC stylish little restaurant attached for breakfast or indeed other meals during the day called Future Perfect

If you want full on wow-factor, stay at the Grand Hyatt which is in Pudong just across the water. Its the tallest hotel in the world and has the most staggering atrium which has been photographed endlessly. The windows from the rooms are floor to ceiling and often look out over the clouds, with astonishing views.

Where to Eat

Shintori is great for dinner. Its Japanese which sounds a weird recommendation for China, but the place is very modern, (think concrete warehouse with chefs on a performance stage) its incredibly stylish and the food is stunningly presented.
French Concession

South Beauty is another great recommendation for dinner - go to the one in the French Concession. Known for more spicy cuisine, some of it is true performance food with sizzling dishes and impressive presentation.
French Concession though several branches through the city

We also had a nice meal at the Whampoa Club at Three on the Bund. Great views at night over the river, delicious Wasabi prawns, fairly formal and mostly expats and tourists but impressive interior, good service and high quality food
The Bund

If you aren't too bothered about the food being Asian, there is a restaurant called Jean Georges in the same building as Whampoa Club where we stopped in for staggeringly good desserts. Eel and pony-skin sofas, dark lighting, interior wow-factor in spades
The Bund

For the nuttiest Heston Blumenthal type meal, there's Jade on 36 at the Shangri La in Pudong across the river. Its mad, expensive and we did it for a final blowout (though its not particularly Chinese) and it was one of our funniest experiences with some preposterous combinations on the set menu.

For lunch, I would recommend dumplings at Nan Xiang in the Yu Gardens. Its a hideously touristy area, but the dumpling house is legendary and the food is a real Shanghai institution
Yu Gardens

We also loved lunch at Crystal Jade which is in Xintiandi - the Covent Gardeny bit. Huge menu, its a Singaporean chain but don't let that put you off. Dim sum temptations sit side by side with frogs and turtles on the menu, but if you order well you're stomach will thank you for the rest of the day

Where to Drink

If you are eating in a restaurant on The Bund (or even if not) you should definitely go to the Glamour Bar for drinks. One of my favourite venues of all time, its very pink, very cool, Noveau Vague lounge music, fabulous drinks, beautiful space, stunning lighting, sensational views, I could wax lyrical about it endlessly
The Bund

Also on The Bund we had drinks first at the New Heights bar upstairs from Whampoa Club for the view. There's an open rooftop looking out over Pudong and it'll take your breath away
The Bund

If you're eating at Shintori, head next door to a bar called People 7, its owned by the same people, is an exceptionally modern concrete and bamboo structure with a hidden door (details in the Time Out guide if you have it). Be sure to have the dry-ice test tube drink to share.
French Concession

Yungfu Elite is a bizarre kind of members club, but was sadly empty when we were there. It ought to be fabulous and maybe is in summer when the garden is full of the louche and restless.
French Concession

Things to do

If you get a chance on the way to the airport, get a cab to the Maglev train and finish your journey aboard. Its probably cheaper to get a cab straight to the airport as the Maglev station is the middle of nowhere but it's the fastest train in the world and a most awesome experience.

If you want the funniest afternoon of your life and are up for a random experience, go to Karaoke at Paryworld in Fuxing Park. Its a venue that looks like more like a hotel than a singing venue. Its all private rooms, stupidly cheap, hilariously funny and a true Chinese experience.

If you're after a guidebook I would go armed with the Time Out Guide and most definitely the Luxe Guide which is always up to date, always fabulous and full of what's hot right this minute

No comments: