Shanghai is a hypermodern, cutting-edge city of over 24 million that draws visitors who appreciate art, design, food, and style. In the past few decades, the metropolis has reinvented itself, adding numerous architectural stunners to its skyline (including the Shanghai Tower, the second-largest skyscraper in the world), blue-chip art galleries, craft-cocktail bars, Michelin-starred restaurants — and some of the best hotels in the world.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as City or Resort based on their locations and amenities.
The Peninsula Shanghai took top honors this year. Located on the city’s famous Bund (a wide waterfront promenade along the Huangpu River), the hotel lives up to the burnished Peninsula reputation with “unrivaled service,” says one reader. It also takes full advantage of its location. In March, the hotel unveiled the Azimut 47 Flybridge, a yacht that guests can book for scenic private cruises along the Huangpu.
Nearby, Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund is housed in the former Shanghai Club, where British expats would gather to socialize in the 1920s and 30s. “A gorgeous hotel full of history and romance,” said one reader. Today, guests unwind from the frenetic pace of the city by taking a break in the spa, where all eight treatment rooms come with a private steam bath.
In the city’s financial district, the Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai stands out for the contemporary design of its 362 rooms, where subtle Chinese influences include colorful silk floral fabrics and glossy lacquered furniture pieces, while the Ritz-Carlton, Pudong, Shanghai, offers 285 Art Deco–inspired suites in a soaring 58-story tower. And in the Fairmont Peace Hotel the star is the Jazz Bar, where locals and guests stop in for the live jazz band that’s been playing here nightly for decades. Read on to see how each hotel was rated.
In busy, buzzy Shanghai, the Peninsula offers a calm respite from city life, beginning with a private Rolls-Royce or BMW pickup from the airport to the hotel. Once there, guests find oversize rooms (starting at 581 square feet) in soothing shades of cream and white with generous use of dark wood. Two of its restaurants, meanwhile, were awarded Michelin stars: Sir Elly’s for its modern take on European cuisine (and its 400-label wine list), and Yi Long Court, for Cantonese dishes. After dinner, head to the atmospheric, 1920s-inspired Salon de Ning for a nightcap and live music.