What are the best hotels in Shanghai?

Answers from Our Experts (2)

Head to the Bund to find the best hotels in Shanghai. Along the waterfront, you’ll find The Peninsula Shanghai and Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund, the city’s only Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotels.

Top-of-the-line technology is a hallmark at The Peninsula. The hotel equips its rooms with free VOIP international calling, an electronic nail dryer (or check out the Five-Star spa to have someone do your nails for you) built into the wall, panels that control everything from lighting to housekeeping requests and an all-in-one printer/copier/fax machine with your own personal fax number. It’s also home to two of the city’s best fine-dining restaurants, Art Deco-inspired Sir Elly’s, which serves modern French cuisine, and traditional Yi Long Court, which turns out Cantonese dishes.

The Waldorf’s best amenities are in its pristine white marble bathrooms. The electronic Toto toilet opens automatically when you enter the room. Watch the TV embedded in the vanity mirror while you get ready in the morning using Salvatore Ferragamo products. And don’t leave without soaking in the spacious Jacuzzi. When you’re ready for a bath, press a button to cover the porthole window above the tub for privacy. While the Shanghai hotel’s restaurants Pelham’s (French/molecular gastronomy cuisine) and Wei Jing Ge (Shanghainese, Cantonese and Huai Yang fare) impress, you may never make it to dinner when passing the artfully arranged glass jars of candy and desserts on the lobby level of the hotel (try the red velvet cake; it was invented by a Waldorf chef) or the mahogany-filled Long Bar (go for whiskey and oysters).

Three other Five-Star winners by the Bund are The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong, Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai and Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai. Though each has its own take on opulence, they all can agree that a healthy blend of vibrant décor (Mandarin Oriental’s 4,000-piece art collection), culinary excellence (Four Seasons’ Camelia) and world-class pampering (The Ritz-Carlton’s Four-Star spa) is the quickest way to a high-end traveler’s heart.

If you can’t get a room at these spots, opt for one of the many Four-Star hotels: The Langham, Xintiandi, Shanghai; The PuLi Hotel and Spa; JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai at Tomorrow Square; Grand Hyatt Shanghai; The Portman Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai; Park Hyatt Shanghai; InterContinental Shanghai Expo; Kerry Hotel, Pudong, Shanghai; Pudong Shangri-La, Shanghai; Fairmont Peace Hotel; or Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel.

Sophie Friedman
The Peninsula Shanghai

Shanghai has a lot of hotel rooms—50,000-plus, according to Jones Lang LaSalle—and we've inspected quite a few of them for you, hand-picking the best and putting them on our website.

Shanghai's top best hotels, both of which earned Five-Star ratings from us, are The Peninsula and the Waldorf Astoria. On opposite ends of the Bund they sit, offering guests luxurious accommodations paired with phenomenal service. 

A number of Shanghai's best hotels earned our Four-Star rating, making them excellent and, in the case of some, more wallet-friendly options for travelers. The list includes the Bund-side Fairmont Peace Hotel, the Kerry Hotel in Pudong, which packs in families with young children, and the chic, boutique-style PuLi.

Despite being a city where the mindset is all too often "bigger is better," Shanghai has a handful of excellent boutique hotels. Twenty-six-room URBN, located a few blocks north of the PuLi, is heavy on being green; its carbon neutral, was built with recycled and locally sourced materials, and has a lovely, verdant terrace. 

For a boutique hotel experience on the Bund, try Les Suites Orient, just south of the Waldorf. Taiwanese-run Les Suites knows how to treat guests right; look for bath products by Gilchrist & Soames and, a really nice perk, room key cards that double as Shanghai traffic cards, to be used in cabs and on the subway and bus.

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