What are the best boutique hotels in Shanghai?

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Sophie Friedman
(c) URBN

Shanghai has a slew of big hotels but also a handful of smaller, more intimate affairs. These are the best boutique hotels in Shanghai.

JIA Shanghai
Though it's just off Nanjing Xi Lu, one of Shanghai's main thoroughfares, this 47-room hotel is tranquil and quiet. One of Shanghai’s earliest boutique hotels, JIA’s 1920s exterior belies its sleek modern rooms. Jia means “home” in Mandarin and, indeed, it feels more like an upscale private residence than a hotel.

The Waterhouse
It’s removed from downtown, it’s far from the metro, and there’s not too much in the immediate area, but that all adds to the draw of this 19-room hotel. The former 1930s military building was lovingly restored by local firm Neri & Hu, emerging from three years of renovations, making it a bastion of industrial chic. In-house restaurant Table No. 1 is one of the few hotel restaurants in Shanghai that regularly packs in people who actually live here, a testament to its food quality and service.

On a quiet street just north of Jing’an Temple, URBN sits tucked away, its shady courtyard providing refuge for weary travelers and Shanghai denizens. The emphasis here is on green — not money, but the environment. URBN is China’s only carbon-neutral hotel, and the building itself is composed entirely of reclaimed, locally sourced wood. Add in an in-house water filtration system and environmentally friendly cleaning products, and you can feel good about staying here.

Not to be confused with the PuLi, in Jing'an, this former French Concession hotel is surrounded by greenery. Take in the trees from hotel’s roof deck, or stroll down the block to Fuxing Park, where locals ballroom dance, practice tai chi and spend the afternoons playing cards and mah jong. Along with 52 well-appointed rooms, Pudi houses a Champagne bar and a cigar room; use them to schmooze your future Chinese partners. The building is a beautifully preserved Art Deco structure.

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