Every year, the city sets a new record for international and domestic visitors. The hotel industry has been keeping up with, and perhaps even outpacing, boomtown Shanghai’s dramatic growth in travel and tourism.
There are hundreds of hotels in Shanghai and several of the five-star options are city landmarks. All the major global brands are well represented, with many of them already in their second or third incarnation. Most seem to be catering to the business traveller in terms of service and price. Their luxurious hotels offer spacious rooms, broadband Internet access, pools and recreation centres, 24-hour concierge services and club lounges. You can generally trust five-star ratings to match international standards, however, check out your hotel on independent websites such as www.tripadvisor.com or www.expedia.com before forking over hundreds of dollars for an opulent night’s sleep. Staying in one of the central boutique or high-rise hotels can be a great experience and a terrific introduction to the city, as many offer spectacular views and/or central locations that serve as bases to explore the vibrant central neighbourhoods. Shanghai used to lack quality mid-range options, but popular chains such as Holiday Inn and Motel 168 have popped up throughout the city. Check out websites such as Travelocity or Expedia to read recent reviews and get a good deal.
Howard Johnson Plaza
595 Jiujiang Lu
Opened in 2005. As a member of Howard Johnson Hotels & Resorts, Howard Johnson Plaza has a fantastic location near People’s Square and the Bund. Facilities include a Balinese spa and an indoor glass-roofed swimming pool.
Radisson Shanghai New World
88 Nanjing Xi Lu
The Radisson Hotel Shanghai New World is the largest Radisson-branded hotel in China. The hotel is on Nanjing Road, adjacent to People’s Square. This hotel is over the top, with a large indoor pool and a revolving restaurant on the 45th floor. Its prices are lower than the other five-star options, making it good value.
1376 Nanjing Xi Lu
The Portman Ritz-Carlton opened in 1988, making it a member of the older generation of the city’s big brand hotels. It’s still one of the best. Besides the 598 elegant rooms decorated with Italian marble and expensive woods, it offers a nice spa and gym. It forms part of the Shanghai Center, a major shopping and dining hub.
33 Fucheng Lu, Lujiazui
This is one of the largest hotels in Shanghai, with over a thousand rooms. It’s an all-glass architectural feat, and many of the rooms have striking views of the Bund across the river. The hotel also has the two largest ballrooms in the city.
Bund Center, 88 Henan Zhong Lu
Part of the Bund Center office complex, with its iconic lotus-flower roof, this hotel frequently hosts conferences and delegations. The restaurant is not to be missed, especially the Opera Sunday Brunch.
Le Royal Meridien
789 Nanjing Dong Lu
This iconic building looks like a Transformer, and at night the antennae flash robotically. It’s very close to the Bund and guestrooms are stocked with numerous fun gadgets. It also houses 10 restaurants and bars, a gym and an indoor pool.
Grand Hyatt Shanghai
88 Shiji Dadao, Lujiazui
The Hyatt atrium is 33 storeys, a fascinating and dizzying vertical tunnel. The hotel occupies floors 53-87 of the Jinmao Tower, making for breathtaking views of the city. Book in advance, as there’s an exceptionally high occupancy rate.
Crowne Plaza Hotel Shanghai
400 Panyu Lu
The Crowne Plaza Shanghai is well located on the edge of the former French Concession, near a diverse array of shops and restaurants. It’s less flashy than the towering giants in Pudong, but comfortable nonetheless. It has extensive sports facilities and a good bar.
Intercontinental Shanghai Ruijin Hotel
118 Ruijin Er Lu
Once the Morris Estate, home of a 1920s media mogul, this former State Guest House has hosted the likes of Richard Nixon and Zhou Enlai. The five villas that make up the hotel are set in beautiful woodland in the middle of the former French Concession.
5-7 Shaanxi Nan Lu
The joint venture City Hotel almost matches the facilities but definitely lacks the polish of its brand-name competitors. Larger executive rooms, on the 21st through 23rd floors, have double closets, and more modern furniture and fixtures. The comprehensive City Club fitness centre includes a full spa, and there’s an indoor playroom for kids.
Holiday Inn Kangqiao, Pudong
1088 Xiuyan Lu, Kangqiao
Regularly listed as one of the world’s best swimming pools, the cantilever pool at this five star hotel is reason enough to visit, giving you the chance to swim 100m above the ground with nothing below! Strategically located at the center of Pudong New District, it is the first international branded hotel in the Kangqiao area and features multiple dining options, as well as a vibrant sports bar and impressive fitness centre. The hotel is only 25 minutes away from both of the International Airports (Pudong and Hongqiao), Shanghai Railway Station, Lujiazui Finance & Trade Center, People’s Square and Xintiandi at Puxi side.
Motel 168 and Motel 268
Not classic ‘motoring hotels’, but worth consideration for being clean, simple and cheap. Originally, the price was RMB 168 per room, or RMB 268 for rooms with a higher standard. Over the past few years, however, prices and standards have risen. Expect to pay RMB 300-400, still definitely decent value for a mid-range hotel in Shanghai. You can find a Motel 168 or 268 in most parts of Shanghai.