The Top Five Chinese Travel Destinations # 5
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Tags: Bund China Pundong Shanghai
Hong Kong and Beijing have been two of the top “must see” destinations in China for western travellers for many years, but you may be surprised to learn the top five from the perspective of the newly affluent Chinese tourist. Rupert Hoogewerf, CEO of the Hurun Report, conducted a series of surveys with some of China’s wealthy and upwardly mobile travellers, and the results are in. Starting off with #5, we will work our way to the top spot in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
Ok, so no surprise here. We see Shanghai as the new Hong Kong, if that’s possible. Located in the Yangtze River Delta, in the eastern part of China, Shanghai sits at the mouth of the Yangtze River. The municipality borders Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces to the west, and is bordered on the east by the East China Sea. As a tourist destination, Shanghai has it all, the historic landmarks of the Bund, Yuyuan Garden, The French Concession and the Bund, with world class dining and luxury 5 star hotels. Don’t forget the shopping. After all, Shanghai has been called the “Paris of the Orient”.
Places to Stay - New hotels are opening up monthly as the big luxury groups vie for a prominent position along the Bund and in Pudong. Here are some of the latest and greatest, in no particular order.
The Waldorf Astoria Shanghai - Incorporating the original Shanghai Club with a new tower, this hotel has a prime location along the Bund. This neo-classical architectural gem, built in 1911, has been painstakingly restored using archival photographs and records whilst equipping it with contemporary luxuries for modern-day travel experiences.
Park Hyatt Shanghai - A new offering in Pudong, in the Shanghai World Financial Center. This is a great location for shopping, and don’t forget 100 Century Avenue a Shanghai Restaurant offering the ultimate dining and wining experience. Combining views overlooking the city from the 91st floor of one of the world’s tallest buildings, it boasts one of the most dynamic show kitchens in Shanghai, and an extensive wine list of over 500 labels.
Fairmont Peace Hotel - Fairmont re-imagines a classic. The Peace Hotel is a landmark on the Bund offering fantastic views of Pudong. With its origins dating back more than eight decades, this landmark Shanghai Hotel served as a glamorous playground for the elite, where every night was an extravagant gala event, hosting veritable Parisian fashion shows.
The Peninsula Shanghai - All the traditional Peninsula features are present in this new entry along the Bund, including a wonderful view of the Huangpu River. The architects, builders and designers collaborated to create an awe-inspiring space that pays tribute to the Shanghai of the 1920s and 1930s. You could call it art deco redux.
Places to Eat – There are simply too many excellent choices, so we have picked a couple of restaurants that are representative of the diversity Shanghai offers, and then added a famous Tea-House for good measure.
M on the Bund - World class dining on the Bund. Located at the pinnacle of the historic Nissin Shipping Building built in 1921, M overlooks Shanghai’s most famous sight: the Bund. Here, diners sample a creative menu in a warm, sophisticated space, where references to Shanghai’s glamorous past are updated and given a contemporary spin. The Roof Terrace and stylish Crystal Room are also favourite spots to savour M’s delightful menu.
Jade on 36 - French dining in Pudong. Chef Franck-Elie Laloum’s restaurant is located on the 36th floor of the Pudong Shangri-La Hotel. Expect French Cuisine with exceptional city views. The menu offers straightforward classic French offerings, but with the “De Rigueur” twist. After dinner, enjoy a cocktail in the bar and take in the stunning views of Shanghai while listening to live jazz.
Fu 1088- Traditional Chinese/Shanghainese cuisine dining in your own private room. Tucked away behind an iron gate on a busy one-way street, this gem of a restaurant in a 1920′s three-story mansion offers some of the best Shanghainese cuisine in town. Patrons dine in their own private dining room, furnished with early-20th-century furniture, cherry wood chairs, and chandeliers.
Huxinting Tea House- You will not be able to eat here, but no trip to Shanghai would be complete without a visit to this famous Tea House. Considered to be the oldest surviving Tea House in China, Huxinting Teahouse is located in the middle of an artificial lake in Old Shanghai. The tea served here is made from pure mineral water, steeped with delicate tea leaves produced in different famous tea-growing areas of China.
Places to shop – Shanghai has about six major shopping areas, as well as a number of interesting street scenes such as Nanjing Road. Here are four that we found interesting. They have good pricing on silk, jade and some electronics.
IFC Mall - Located in the Shanghai International Finance Centre in Pudong. This brand-new, glittering, six-story shopping complex is chock full of luxury stores (25 to be precise) fronted by the likes of Louis Vuitton and Armani. Apple’s flagship Shanghai store is here for those looking for the latest toys. They offer porter, concierge and limo services so you don’t even have to carry your purchases back to the hotel.
Shanghai Tang - One of our personal favourites. Hong Kong designer David Tang opened his Shanghai branch in 2003. They also have smaller boutiques in some of the upscale hotels such as the Shangri-La Pudong and the Peninsula. The main store, Xintiandi Plaza, specializes in top quality Chinese shirts, elegant scarves, hand bags and signature Ginger scented rooms sprays.
Three on the Bund- This is an innovative and sophisticated complex of upscale retail shops, art galleries, fine dining and entertainment with designer labels galore. How about these names: Bottega Veneta, Vivienne Tam, Yves Saint Laurent and a Georgio Armani Flagship store. While there, why not take in the Shanghai Gallery of Art and stop by the House of Wine.
Nanjing Road- China’s premier shopping street, Nanjing Road starts at the Bund in the east and ends in the west at the junction of Jing’an Temple and Yan’an West Street has over 600 businesses and offers everything from open-air bars and street musicians to up scale stores such as Tiffany and Dunhill. Nanjing Road is a must-see metropolitan destination attracting thousands of fashion-seekers from all over the world.
So, with Shanghai out of the picture. What’s next? Beijing, or perhaps Hong Kong? How about Qingdao?
Stay tuned for our look at Destination #4- Qingdao