When it comes to skylines, Shanghai knows how to impress. From the Oriental Pearl Tower, which looks like a spaceship with its massive domes, to the Shanghai Tower, rising over 2,000 feet above China’s financial capital, this city has some seriously defining buildings.
But while it’s truly mind-boggling to stand underneath these massive structures, they're best observed from across the Huangpu River. And one hotel might just have the most stunning views of them all — bathtub included.
At the Shanghai Edition — part of Ian Schrager’s powerhouse brand of luxury hotels with a laid-back vibe — the sweeping views of the city will pull you in, but the comfort and character of the hotel will make you want to stay forever. And on a recent trip, I got to experience Shanghai’s coolest hotel firsthand.
Tucked away on Nanjing Road, Shanghai’s answer to New York’s Fifth Avenue or Paris’s Champs-Élysée, the signature scent of the hotel created by Le Labo drifts past chic shoppers and tourists. The lobby — accented in soft beige hues and sheer curtains against royal blue velvet couches — sets the tone for the rest of the hotel, which is separated into two towers with 145 guest rooms. Immediately upon arrival the staff is there to assist and guide you, but they don’t breathe down your neck. Part of the Edition’s allure is that it’s the sort of place where jetsetters or trendy locals feel welcome and relevant.
Up the elevator in my corner room I found a space that felt less like a hotel room and more like what I imagine Beyonce’s bedroom in the Hollywood Hills would feel like. A TV on the wall played a continuous display of abstract art that I watched before going to sleep; a bear-like creature walked in place transforming between bubbles, to metal, to a flowing fringe hair that easily could have been born from Cher.
One place all Edition hotels get right is the bathroom. And in Bund-facing rooms (the ones with the incredible city views) you’ll find a soaker tub with what is arguably the best bathroom view on the planet. Pour in the Le Labo bath salts, turn off the lights, and sit back and enjoy the light show from the otherworldly buildings across the river.
But if you do feel brave enough to leave the comforts of your room — trust me, it’s hard — you have to make time to eat at Canton Disco. Here, a sharing menu brings the best of Cantonese food to Shanghai in an atmosphere that feels retro, glamorous, and of another time. Order a cocktail before feasting on kanpachi and Iberico pig char siu. Dim sum your heart out, but don’t put yourself into a food coma — the best view in the building is waiting upstairs.
Roof, on the 29th floor, is where locals and visitors meet on a sweeping rooftop with panoramic views of the aforementioned skyline. Here, bottles of bubbles flow, mixologists create stunning drinks, and the energy of this electric city consumes you. To keep the night flowing, I went downstairs to Electric Circus, a Studio 54-inspired nightclub to dance my heart out to a live DJ with new friends from around the world. What even is jet lag?
While the Shanghai Edition is a place to see and be seen, it’s also a place where one can melt into the comforts of the hotel to recharge and relax despite its location in the heart of Shanghai. The Spa offers six treatment rooms and suites, with a beautiful relaxation area that was completely Instagram-worthy. For me, a facial made perfect sense to wipe away the impurities of a long flight to China and a night full of libations, but the entire spa menu was enticing. Whatever your preference, take time to unwind with a treatment before jumping back into the excitement of Shanghai.
Punch Room, a reservations-only bar hidden within the hotel, is another respite from the crowds, and the perfect place to spend a relaxing evening. With an impressive menu, Punch Room has something for everyone, but order a signature punch bowl, served in a traditional blue and white Chinese bowl, to truly appreciate the spirit of where you are. Dine, after, at Hiya, the Izakaya-style restaurant led by Jason Atherton. Here you’ll find the Edition brand’s signature staircase (there’s one in every hotel) and a crumbled tonkatsu pork loin that your taste buds will be begging for later.
Look, any place as large and sprawling as Shanghai is overwhelming. Cut the clutter and stay at a place you know will treat you the way you deserve to be treated. The Edition’s aesthetic and service is standard, from Times Square to Bodrum, Turkey, and the Shanghai Edition is no different. But just as each property seamlessly translates the Edition's signature style, Shanghai has its own finesse that can’t be found anywhere else. Oh, and did I mention the views?
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