From its storied location at the top of the Bund to its beyond-luxurious in-room amenities, the Peninsula Shanghai easily takes top honors and also sets a new standard for Shanghai's luxury hotels. The "urban resort" PuLi Hotel and Spa is a close runner-up, successfully creating a haven of peace and tranquillity in the midst of a busy urban jungle.
This is an impossibly difficult category with fierce competition, but our vote goes to the St. Regis Shanghai, which has refined service to a whole new level with its customized "Lifestyle Butler Service": No request seems too frivolous or difficult for the hotel's 24-hour butlers, not even escorting guests on city tours. A close second is the consistently friendly and efficient service at the Pudong Shangri-La. In Puxi, the PuLi Hotel and Spa's staff is wonderfully accommodating and impressively thorough in getting right all the details.
Best Hotel Perks
The Peninsula Shanghai lets all guests call home anywhere in the world for free (using a VOIP system) -- need we say more? Oh, and there's also the walk-in closets and dressing room with weather panel and nail dryer, the three-in-one printer/fax/copier, the multimedia reader, the free Wi-Fi, the Nespresso machine, and of course, the all-important mood lighting.
Best City Views
Le Royal Meridien, the tallest hotel in Puxi, also has the most stunning 360-degree views of the whole city. The Park Hyatt in Pudong is taller (it's the tallest hotel in the world), but you need the help of a clear day to fully enjoy the view.
Best View of the Bund
The nearby Grand Hyatt and Park Hyatt are higher, but the Pudong Shangri-La is closer and at just the right elevation for a spectacular view of Shanghai's European architecture across the Huangpu River. The view is even better at night when this riverfront "colonial scroll" of banks and trading houses is lit up.
Best View of the Bund & Pudong
Hyatt on the Bund provides unique views of both the Bund and Pudong's skyscrapers; one of our favorite things to do is to sit and watch the Huangpu river traffic from the hotel's VUE bar.
Best Whiff of Old Shanghai
The legendary Peace Hotel has the advantage of renown, but since it was not open for review at press time, the French Concession Mansion Hotel with its romantic period furnishings best takes us back in time to the '30s and '40s when life was a cabaret, even -- or maybe especially -- in Shanghai.
Ruijin Hotel, located on the former Morriss Estate in the French Concession, has one of the loveliest colonial settings with four original villas (and several faux additions) amid sprawling manicured lawns that are lovely to stroll.
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Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.