Shanghai has a vast range of options for temporary accommodation. There’s no shortage of hotels, hotel apartments, guesthouses and motels to choose from if you need somewhere to rest your head while waiting to move into more permanent living quarters.
It’s advisable to spend some time in Shanghai before committing to a lease. Neighbourhoods vary a great deal and where you decide to live will inevitably dictate your lifestyle. Explore a few residential areas before you decide where to settle down.
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.
This is a good option if you plan to take your time finding suitable housing to rent or buy as it’s difficult to negotiate a short-term lease in Shanghai. Lease agents are encouraged by landlords to sign minimum one-year leases. Expat-oriented, short-term apartments are either specialised apartment blocks or form part of a hotel. They normally come fully furnished with kitchens and access to extensive facilities. They are available daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly. The longer the stay in a hotel apartment, the better the rate. For longer-term stays, they’re more comfortable and better value than hotels. Another option is to browse the housing sections of www.smartshanghai.com or www.shanghaiexpat.com to see if anyone is letting their apartment short-term while they’re out of the country.
In recent years, AirBnB allows you the opportunity to rent out apartments for short term leases. Often this may be in renovated properties, and the host will show you the best spots around town. Shanghai has over 1000 listings from duluxe modern apartments in Liujiazui to restored French villas in the Former French Concession and even an old sewing factory!