When you think of Shanghai, chances are tranquillity is not the first thing that jumps to mind. But for guests of Banyan Tree Shanghai on the Bund, the frenetic pace of one of the world’s most crowded cities – there are 24 million people living here – seems a million miles away.
This modern escape boasts 130 luxurious guest rooms, each offering floor-to-ceiling windows and gob-smacking views, and a chaise-longue window seat where you can look out at the famous Pudong skyline and watch as boats pass by on the Huangpu River.
The hotel is a couple of minutes’ drive or an easy walk from the Bund, rather than in the busy central part of this waterfront area of Shanghai. It was this peaceful location that appealed to the Banyan Tree group, which is known for creating gorgeous urban escapes around the world.
ROOM FOR TWO:
The views from every room are incredible, and they’re also some of Shanghai’s biggest hotel rooms. Decorated in muted tones and warm bronze hues, the colour and texture of the walls and floors take their inspiration from nature, and all amenities are second to none. If, like my husband, you’re very particular about your pillow, you’ll love the six different choices that, along with the king-sized bed, ensure you’ll sleep like a baby. He certainly did. A variety of room types is available, but honeymoon couples should enquire about the Oasis Room with Romantic Pool, which features a private dipping pool.Yes, you read that right: a dipping pool in a Shanghai hotel room.
Tops, the al fresco rooftop bar, is one of the city’s coolest spots for a cocktail (try the hotel’s signature cocktail, a Banyantini), with glorious 180-degree views of the historic Bund, across the Huangpu River and over to the skyscrapers of Pudong’s financial district, Lujiazui. The MingYuan restaurant serves up Cantonese cuisine, with Western seafood at Oceans and high-end Japanese sushi and sashimi at Tai Hei.
COUPLES WILL LOVE:
Views from the bedroom and rooftop bar aside – and they really are something – the bathroom in our suite was an absolute stunner.With a large circular soaking bath (also with views) and walk-in rain showers, it was the perfect place to retreat to after a hectic day of sightseeing. There’s even a bath menu for those who want to truly indulge.
Shanghai is a modern city, yet the old-world charm of bygone days when it was one of the most glamorous cities in the world is still much in evidence. We were only in the city for two nights, so to make the most of our time we engaged the services of Bespoke Travel Company. As the name suggests, there are no package tours here. We loved that they tailored a personal itinerary to match the time we had available, and what we knew we wanted to see – and after chatting to us via several emails and a phone call, they also offered a few fantastic suggestions to round out our trip.
Our guide Zoe, arrived promptly at 9am with a private car, taking us straight to the famous part of the Bund with its amazing architectural mix of Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance, Classical and Art Deco, all standing cheek-to-cheek.
We then moved on to The People’s Park – known as the Matchmaking Corner, where parents display unmarried children’s personal information in the hope of finding them the perfect partner. Next stop, the lovely French Concession area, a more relaxed part of the city with beautiful tree-lined streets. We also visited Fuxing Park, the only French park in the city. Full of families playing and elderly pensioners dancing together, there was a real sense of community – I adored this park, where everybody seemed so happy. We finished our tour with a taste of Yunnan cuisine at Lost Heaven Restaurant. It was one of those meals you swear you’ll never forget – book in advance.