It’s not called the Pearl of the Orient for nothing. Home to one of the world’s most famous skylines, Shanghai is a metropolis of modern gastronomy, fine art and culture. Discover what to see and where to be seen with the Calibre city guide.
Call into Bar Lotus for your morning caffeine fix. The minimal concrete exterior is a far cry from what’s inside this contemporary café. Expect a floor to ceiling window, quirky yet classic interiors and speciality coffee. At night, sliding mirrored walls unveil a cocktail bar boasting emerald green walls, rose gold ceilings and a whole lot of style. As the sun sets, step inside the doors of Kartel Wine Bar, grab a glass of pinot and make your way to the rooftop terrace to enjoy incredible views of Shanghai’s old French Concession Quarter. Book ahead to secure your table and be sure to order some French delicacies off the menu.
Located in downtown Shanghai, you’ll find a tea bar, shop, dining area and lounge room all housed under Genshang, a lifestyle brand. Relax and sip on traditional Chinese tea from the custom designed furniture overlooking the street below. It’s quite hidden, so once you enter the Madang Road commercial complex, head to the first floor. For dinner, don’t miss out on 1515 West Chophouse & Bar, perched on top of the Shangri-La Jing An. This steakhouse serves up some of the finest meat in an equally compelling setting, designed by New York studio AvroKO. We’re talking hand painted cow skulls on plates, a glass bakery, cheese room and barrel-vaulted wood corridor. If you’re after a quick fix of dim sum (and who wouldn’t) get yourself to Crystal Jade. This Shanghai institution offers up some of the best Cantonese dumplings and Hunanese noodles at the weekend. Did we mention it has a Michelin star?
M50 is one of the most innovative places to see art in the city and it’s free. This former textile district now is now a thriving centre for contemporary Chinese art. But we couldn’t go to Shanghai without mentioning The Bund. Get away from the crowds and stroll over to the Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) for an array of temporary art exhibitions from Chinese and international artists. Before you leave, get snapped against the backdrop of skyscrapers rising out of the Huangpu River. For a glimpse into China’s technological advancements, see the world’s longest 3D printed concrete bridge in Shanghai's Baoshan District. Inspired by China’s oldest standing bridge, Anji, it stands at 26 metres long. It was designed by the team from Tsinghua University School of Architecture in Beijing and built in just 450 hours. If you want to challenge your vertigo, visit the top of the world’s second tallest building, Shanghai Tower. On a clear day you can see for miles over Shanghai, taking in the Pudong from the world’s highest viewing platform. Sinan Books: Shanghai Sanctum is no ordinary bookstore. Set over numerous floors, it comprises a music room, study rooms and an art area as well as hosting exhibitions and small concerts. Stop by the café on the second floor for a relaxing espresso in the intimate living room setting.
Decked out with Bose sound systems and Nespresso coffee machines in the rooms, the PuLi Hotel and Spa is a magnet for the style conscious traveller. Positioned close to the famed shopping stretch West Nanjing Road, it houses a tea themed spa and infinity pool perfect for combatting the jetlag. For an east meets west experience, wake up in the Capella Shanghai Hotel. This 5* hotel is transformed from the few remaining shikumen townhouses. The water tower outside has become a landmark design feature against this low-rise building, while the marble bathrooms are stocked up with luxurious Acqua di Parma products.
WHAT TO PACK FOR SHANGHAI
The city is packed with stylish folk so don’t stand out for the wrong reasons. Try pairing slim fitting pants with a polo shirt and comfortable sneakers to take on the endless exploring of small streets. Cotton and linen will keep you cooler, but ensure you bulk up on your layers if you’re jetting off in winter.
Yours in Style,