Shanghai is not a place that could ever be described as sleepy but even by its frenetic standards, October kicks off a particular busy season in the Chinese city.
Shanghai Fashion Week starts on the 11th. Coinciding with that, Prada is staging multiple events across several days including a repeat of its cruise 2018 show in a historic Shanghai mansion. Meanwhile, next month Shanghai will welcome the spectacle that is the Victoria’s Secret show to China for the first time. That flurry of activity is on top of the megamall projects being unveiled in the city, from Plaza 66’s reopening with Alicia Keys to HKRI Taikoo Hui later this year.
Below, a round-up of the best spots to check out during all the goings-on in town.
The PuLi Hotel and Spa
A zen-like fugue descends as one walks into The PuLi’s cavernous lobby-slash-bar, with dark wood, Han dynasty antiques and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the greenery adjacent to the hotel. The highly rated Anantara Spa and swimming pool are added benefits, as is the Jing’an Restaurant, which serves up a famous Sunday brunch — complete with free-flowing Champagne.
1 Changde Lu, Shanghai
Tel: +86 21 3203 9999
The newly opened, ultra-hip W Shanghai-The Bund, with its glamorous pool parties over the summer, has fast become the destination of choice for the city’s young and beautiful — those keen to be seen in swimwear at least. Much like Shanghai itself, it’s bold, colorful and avant-garde in design. The 374 guest rooms and suites are appointed with signature W beds and adorably adorned with pillows in the shape of Shanghai’s famous Xiaolongbao dumpling and chopsticks.
66 Lvshun Lu, Shanghai
Tel: +8621 2286 9999
The Middle House
Although its opening isn’t due until the end of the year, the arrival of a House Collective hotel is one eagerly awaited in a city spoiled with five-star properties. Part of the larger HKRI Taikoo Hui complex, which includes a mall, office tower and serviced apartments, it follows in the footsteps of the acclaimed Upper House in Hong Kong and Opposite House in Beijing. The 111-room property’s elegant interiors were the work of Milan-based designer Piero Lissoni, with architecture by Lissoni Architettura and Wong and Ouyang.
789 Nanjing Xi Lu, Shanghai
Specializing in promoting the best of China’s avant-garde fashion design scene, Dong Liang is the place to discover the country’s young designers. Located in a three-story house in Shanghai’s former French Concession, the boutique carries designers including Ms. Min, Chictopia and Uma Wang.
184 Fumin Lu, Shanghai
Tel: +86 21 3469 6926
Denise Huang started making traditional silk slippers as a way of preserving a part of the Shanghai she grew up with, but gives her pieces a modern twist with bright colors and updated styles. This is a great place to pick up a unique souvenir for someone special. As well as the slipper, Suzhou Cobblers handcrafts wonderful handbags, hats and clothing.
17 Fuzhou Lu, Shanghai
Tel: +86 21 6321 7087
The Chinese offshoot of French luxury house Hermès, Shang Xia is a lifestyle brand with the aim of rediscovering traditions of Chinese craftsmanship that were all but lost after the country’s 20th-century run of wars and revolutions. Products include beautiful eggshell porcelain, antique-style furniture made with prized “zitan” red sandalwood and clothing made from cashmere felt.
233 Huaihai Zhong Lu, Shanghai
Tel: +86 21 8017 9777
Long Museum West Bund
One of the major positive developments in China’s art world in recent years has been a proliferation of private museums where the collections of wealthy citizens have been opened up to the general public. The Long Museum West Bund contains part of billionaire Liu Yiqian and Wang Wei’s impressive collection of Chinese contemporary art. Designed by Liu Yichun of Atelier Deshaus, the structure is described as a “vault-umbrella” style, and the flowing concrete surfaces reflect the traditionally industrial surrounds.
3398 Longteng Avenue, Shanghai
Tel: +86 21 6422 7636
An unmissable and iconic landmark in the city, the temple was originally built in 247 B.C., and has weathered several relocations and even a reconstruction after a 1972 fire. Visitors now can take in its gleaming gold pagoda and the country’s largest pure jade Buddha standing about 12 feet high, situated conveniently on the shopper’s paradise that is Nanjing Road West.
1686 Nanjing Xi Lu, Shanghai
Tel: +86 21 6256 6366
Designed to feel as though you are dining in the home of a Shanghainese madame, Xixi Bistro fuses Chinese and Italian cuisine and somehow makes it work — actually, somehow makes it excellent. Try the “jiaozi” (steamed dumplings) with pumpkin and ragu filling, as well as the fried rice with capers, sun-dried tomatoes and Iberico sausage for a taste sensation so wrong and yet so very right.
No. 16, Lane 181 Taicang Lu, Shanghai
Tel: +86 21 6321 8861
Wujie on the Bund
Vegetarian food often gets a bad rap but not so at Wujie. Started by a Taiwanese businessman, this Bund outpost earned its first Michelin star this year for its artfully presented food, which utilizes traditional Chinese concepts of health and nourishment for guilt-free indulgence.
4/F, Bund 22, 22 Zhongshan Dong Er Lu
Tel: +86 21 6375 2861
By no means your typical restaurant, this Paul Pairet concept is high-tech, immersive and even a tad theatrical. Opened in 2012, the experience here is a journey beginning with a bus ride to a secret location. With each of the 22 courses — set at a single table for 10 people only — Pairet immerses diners in a completely new multi-sensory setting with the help of LED floor strips, table projectors, dry scent diffusers and even an air blown turbine. The goal? To make dining an emotional experience.
Address revealed upon booking
The latest opening from veteran China high-end restaurateur, Michelle Garnaut, Glam is the essence of Shanghai’s swanky riverside boulevard — known universally as The Bund. Expect high-class cocktails, plates designed for sharing along with a cocktail or three, and an expansive view across the river to Pudong’s forest of skyscrapers on the opposite bank of the Huangpu River.
Five on the Bund, 7/F, 20 Guangdong Lu, Shanghai
Tel: +86 21 6350 9988
A Former French Concession speakeasy that requires patrons to figure out secret passageways three times over to fully explore the extent of the bar. It features fantastic cocktails from owner and mixologist Shingo Gokan, who honed his craft at the New York East Village haunt Angel’s Share.
2-3/F, 579 Fuxing Zhong Lu, Shanghai
Tel: +86 21 6416 0133
While the original location of this infamous Paris nightclub, which also once boasted venues in New York and Tokyo, has since shuttered, Shanghai’s Le Baron is still going strong. Ever since its opening in 2014, it’s been drawing in the see-and-be-seen crowd, playing host to numerous fashion parties, including a recent bash with Off-White’s Virgil Abloh.
7/F, 20 Donghu Lu, Shanghai
Tel: +86 21 5424 5181
A Latin-inspired lounge famous for its weekly salsa parties, playing everything from Afro-Latin jazz to disco. This energetic feel-good club also features a cigar lounge and molecular cocktail bar.
Three on the Bund, 2/F, 3 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, Shanghai
Tel: +86 21 5308 5399
Shanghai city authorities recently initiated a cleanup of nightlife venues, a campaign that took after-hours favorites like Shelter, a former bomb shelter turned underground electronic club, at the end of last year. However, much of the same team behind Shelter have gotten behind another venture, called All. Also underground–both in the sense of its physical location and the music that it plays–it promises opportunities to get sweaty while listening to thumping music into the early hours of the morning.
2/F, 17 Xiangyang Bei Lu, Shanghai