The Sukhothai Shanghai

A green oasis in downtown Shanghai

Stepping off the crowded retail and white-collar-office thoroughfare of Shanghai’s Nanjing West Road into the quiet, minimalist lobby of The Sukhothai Shanghai is almost jarring.

Shaped by its design — imagined head-to-toe by acclaimed local duo Neri and Hu — the open-plan entrance leads organically to a bar and restaurant area, devoid of the chandeliers, gold leaf and ostentation that often seems requisite for high-end hotels in China.

Instead, understatement and sustainability are the buzzwords running throughout this contemporary 201-room hotel, where everything from the materials used to build the place to the ingredients used to feed its guests have been considered through an eco-friendly lens.

Another noticeable difference is the property’s more modern attitude toward customer service, with staff encouraged to adopt a first-name basis with guests, a detail that is sure to appeal to younger travelers looking for an alternative to stuffy, formal luxury.

Our Inspector's Highlights

  • The sustainable ethos is embedded in every element of The Sukhothai Shanghai. The LEED-certified property boasts paper-free rooms, recycled bamboo pens and high-tech machinery across its dining venues that dehydrates and infuses parts of ingredients that might normally be discarded, ensuring nothing goes to waste.
  • Elevated gin and tonics are a staple at hotel bars around the world, but this Shanghai property takes the trend to a whole new level. Head to its ground-floor URBAN Lounge to peruse more than 120 gin labels — a list that’s constantly growing — and an herb trolley where you can choose your own botanicals with which to infuse and personalize your own version of the classic cocktail.
  • Though The Sukhothai Shanghai has a vastly different look and feel to the brand’s original resort-style hotel in Bangkok, you’ll still find subtle Thai touches across the property, like the tuktuk parked out front, the elephant-covered chedis in the garden and the natural Thai silk curtains in the Grand Ballroom.
  • The minimalist design of the Shanghai hotel creates a soothing atmosphere throughout, but the meditative vibe hits its peak on the wellness floor. Alongside a gym and indoor heated swimming pool, you’ll find a calming spa and Zen garden for those looking to take a time out from the relentless hustle of the urban jungle outside.
  • The Sukhothai Shanghai showcases hundreds of artworks, each one specially commissioned for the hotel and many playing on the intersection between Thai and Chinese culture. Pay special attention to two interactive digital works by Japanese collective Teamlab: Flowers and People lets passersby make digital representations of petals wither or bloom, while Four Seasons, 1,000 Years, Terraced Rice Fields is created using a live feed from the Japanese village of Tashibunosho, where an agrarian way of life has remained unchanged for thousands of years.

Things to Know

  • Though there are not many specialized facilities or services available for children at the luxury hotel, those traveling with kids should book a StudioRoom, which comes with a sofa, bathtub and more space (559 to 624 square feet) than its counterparts.
  • Take advantage of the hotel’s complimentary experiences, including an art tour of the works scattered throughout the property or guided city tours on Kate Wood bamboo bikes through Shanghai’s Former French Concession area or the famed Bund promenade.
  • Squeeze in a workout at The Sukhothai Shanghai’s 24-hour fitness center, where you’ll find a small, but high-tech array of Life Fitness equipment.
  • Just a short walk from the hotel is one of Shanghai’s best preserved traditional lane-style neighborhoods. Zhang Yuan is a compound of shikumen (literally “stone gate”) alleyways filled with narrow redbrick houses that stand shoulder-to-shoulder. Afford yourself some time to get lost in these historic boulevards.

The Rooms

  • Accommodations feature a minimalist style with clean lines and soothing color palettes of mint green, brown, cream and slate gray. Gray stone bathrooms create a spa-like escape with deep-soaking tubs, separate rain showers and heated toilet seats.
  • With diatom-silica clay walls — which are not only environmentally friendly, but also known for air purification and sound-minimizing qualities — as well as parquet wood floors and a paper-free policy, Sukhothai’s rooms are both eco-conscious and good for the allergy-prone.
  • Alongside the Nespresso machine and de rigueur coffee pods, each room is stocked with Ronnefeldt tea capsules, a minibar and wine fridge. Soft drinks and beer are complimentary.
  • No matter your preference of relaxation method, you are covered with the in-room amenities here: yoga mats and wineglass-holding trays for the bathtub both come standard.
  • In keeping with the natural ethos of the hotel, bathroom products are provided by organic Australian botanical beauty brand Grown Alchemist.

The Restaurants

  • Italian restaurant La Scala is a partner of the acclaimed eatery of the same name at the original Sukhothai Bangkok. Its no-waste code has been faithfully interpreted by chef de cuisine Stefano Sanna — even potato skins are dried, ground and used as textural garnish.
  • Cocktails at floor-to-wall-to-ceiling-tiled The Zuk Bar (the effect is psychedelic, but in a cool, rather than disconcerting way) are sorted by nature-themed categories: Oak, Rock, Flora and Water. On a sunny day, grab a table at the garden terrace.
  • URBAN Café is a haven for high-quality, reasonably priced Southeast Asian cuisine. Sharing menus of three, five and seven courses from Malaysian chef Marcus Ng encourage lively, family-style dining.
  • Stop by the stylish URBAN Lounge on Saturday or Sunday to cap off your week with an indulgent Chocolate Rhapsody afternoon tea.  

24-hour room service
Fitness classes
Indoor pool
Meeting rooms
Getting There
380 Weihai Road, Jing'an District, Shanghai, 200041 China
PVG (45 min)   SHA (26 min)  
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